Authorities with Utah’s Third District Court have charged Brandon Scott Zipperle, 28, of Pleasant Grove with four counts including criminal homicide/aggravated murder, two counts of obstructing justice and one count of the purchase, transfer or possession of a firearm by a restricted person.
Zipperle is charged with killing Brooklyn Tyree, 23, who is his ex-girlfriend and the mother of their seven-month-old son, Braxton. Officials have also arrested Elizabeth Ludwig, 28, Zipperle’s fiancé who allegedly aided Zipperle in covering up Tyree’s murder.
Authorities discovered Tyree’s body on May 6 near the Five Mile Pass Recreational Area between Utah County and Tooele County.
Her body was reportedly discovered by a father and his son who spotted a “red clump” on the road. Upon closer inspection, officials say the body was wrapped inside a sleeping bag where Tyree appeared to have been shot in the head.
The Office of the Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Tyree and “determined the manner of death to be a homicide and the cause of death was due to a gunshot from an indeterminable range.”
Authorities say Tyree was supposed to meet up with friends in Tooele earlier in the week before she disappeared.
Location tracking data through Zipperle and Tyree’s mobile phones revealed both of them were in the Five Mile Pass area on May 3. During police questioning, Zipperle admitted to shooting Tyree, hiding her body and disposing of her personal belongings.
While investigating, authorities discovered Zipperle had a fiancé, Ludwig. While searching Zipperle’s home, police found a shoe belonging to Ludwig which had treadmarks that were similar to a footprint found at the crime scene.
When interviewing Ludwig, she admitted to assisting Zipperle with hiding Tyree’s body and disposing of her belongings. Upon investigating, authorities discovered Zipperle had multiple run-ins with the law before this incident including aggravated assault and attempted theft.
Since Tyree was found, the victim’s family has accused the Salt Lake City Police Department of mishandling the case, saying police did not take Tyree’s missing person report seriously.
Deanna Tyree, the victim’s sister, tells ABC4’s Marcos Ortiz that police wasted valuable time which she believes may have cost her sister’s life.
“We feel like it,” said Tyree. “We really feel like she may have been alive today, at least have a better chance.”
The victim’s sister said Tyree feared for herself and her baby’s life whenever Zipperle was around.
“Anytime they were together during their relationship, he was very abusive to her, very controlling and manipulative,” says Tyree. “[He was] trying his best to separate her from her family.”
The Salt Lake City Police has released a statement on the case saying:
“The Salt Lake City Police Department takes all community complaints seriously. This is a tragic case and our condolences go out to the family and friends of Brooklyn Tyree.
To ensure our investigation into the missing person’s case was professional, respectful, thorough, and in line with our community’s expectations, we will comprehensively review the steps taken by our department. We welcome and will fully cooperate with the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board with any requests they have pursuant to the Mayor’s direction for this independent body to review these allegations.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is fully cooperating with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office on their suspicious death investigation.
This remains an ongoing investigation on multiple fronts. The Salt Lake City Police Department knows our community wants more answers about the handling of this case. Those answers will come through the appropriate investigative mechanisms in place. However, we must respect and preserve the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation. As such, the Salt Lake City Police Department cannot release any additional information.“