Bryan Patrick Miller, a 42-year-old “zombie hunter” and compulsive hoarder in Phoenix, Arizona, is in police custody today, busted in connection with two horrific murders of young women that terrified the Phoenix area 20 years ago.
In November of 1992, 22-year-old Angela Brosso was riding her bicycle along the Arizona Canal at 23rd Avenue and Cactus Street in Phoenix when she was last seen. Her badly mutilated, headless body was found the next day dumped in a nearby park.
About 10 months later, 17-year-old Melanie Bernas also disappeared while riding her bike along the canal. Her mutilated body was discovered floating in the canal several days later. Police we able to use forensic evidence to connect the two crimes, which they then concluded were committed by a single killer.
But they were not able to pin down a suspect, and DNA evidence was not yet available to police. That changed in 1999. The cold case was reopened in 2011 and just last week, undercover cops somehow —exactly how, police are not yet saying — obtained a DNA sample from Miller.
“Once we got that DNA sample from the suspect, that sample was analyzed by our crime lab and within literally hours we had a hit from those two murders, scientifically linking him by DNA, linking him to those two murders over 20 years ago,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Trent Crump explained.
But investigators are still working on the case and expect to take days to go through evidence at Miller’s home in Phoenix, where he lived with a teenage daughter, because the murder suspect appears to be a hoarder; the house is packed with vast quantities of various junk, only some of which may be relevant to the case.
Miller may have been obsessed with horror and fantasy, and reportedly often attended fan conventions in his vehicle, a decommissioned police car.
“He dressed in this zombie hunter kind of cyber punk outfits that was frightening, too,” said Eric Braverman, who became acquainted with Miller at one such convention.
Miller now faces two counts of first-degree murder, as well as two possible counts of kidnapping and a potential sexual assault charge as well. A judge refused to grant the suspect bail, calling him a “danger to other persons or the community.”
Bryan Patrick Miller, who moved to Washington State sometime after the second murder but later relocated back to Phoenix, denied to police that he had anything to do with the murders but “could not explain” how DNA recovered from the bodies of the two young women matched his own.