FERRIER FILES: Woman asks for help and disappears: The cold case of Sheila Bradford
Kristie Bradford lives in a secret location. Nothing she owns or pays for is in her name. And she always carries a gun.T o understand why you must go to the most popular restaurant in Benton County.
This is the Country and Western in Camden. 26 years ago, the TBI and the local sheriff were sitting at this table with Sheila Bradford and her 15-year-old daughter Kristie.
Sheila Bradford said she had information about a brutal double murder. She had broken up with her boyfriend J.C Bruce. A convicted felon. A man who kidnapped a 15-year-old girl on an impulse raped her, strangled her and threw her off a bridge.
Sheila wanted protection in exchange for information.
“She said can you help me can you protect me and they said you don't know enough for us to protect you, and the explosion happened and my mom threw me to the floor. She said he knows we are here we must leave,” said Kristie Bradford.
The explosion was in a building out back. It was engulfed in flames.
That was September 21st, 1992, Sheila Bradford hid that night...The next day she went back to her home on Little Jim road. She wanted up to pick up some clothes before going back into hiding. She was drying some socks, it was 10:30 when she stopped answering the phone.
“She just disappeared off the face of the earth, yes, I mean there was no trace nothing, her car was sitting in the driveway just she was missing, her clothes were still in the dryer, She didn’t even have shoes.
The next day Kristie called the police and said my mother is missing we are sure she was taken because of the meeting at country western.
But for some reason, law enforcement decided there was no foul play...In fact they told Kristie she couldn't even file a missing person's report. There was no search there was no crime scene.
Certainly, if a reasonable person could connect her disappearance with the meeting with law enforcement . Why couldn't law enforcement.
“Who just goes missing off the face of the earth without a trace, how does that happen, and for no one to do anything,” said Bradofrd.
By the way remember that murder she had information about. It was a brutal double murder of Danny Vine and Della Thornton.
Brothers Gary Bruce Robert Bruce and Jerry Bruce were all convicted of the murder..
Sheila's boyfriend J.C Bruce was the only brother not charged in the murders, this was the case Sheila had information about.. D.A Matt Stowe has re-opened the case.
“Today in part. Because of the Shelia Bradford case. We do things differently the way we meet with witnesses. Folks didn’t realize how sophisticated crime can be in a rural area,” said D.A Stowe
“This crime family had people scared to death but most of them are in prison or are otherwise out of business to describe it as a result people may feel comfortable now where they wouldn't feel comfortable before.It is time for someone to come forward,” said Stowe.
Kristie Bradford ended up working in law enforcement, she is a dispatcher the Carroll county sheriff department, she loves getting people help. Even though no one helped her.
"I want answers, I want justice . Me and my brothers were young we couldn't stand up for her we couldn't do anything where was anybody 26 years ago. Anybody?"
Bradford says the TBI has never contacted her, never updated her. J.C Bruce still lives in the area.