Unsolved Hannibal Homicide: Bridgett Brawley

Bridgett Brawley

KHQA has spent the past eight years investigating cold cases throughout the Tri-States.

We're now working to examine an unsolved Hannibal homicide that happened 26 years ago.

"I want my mom to get the justice that she deserves."

Two days after Kara Brawley turned 1, her mother, Bridgett, was found dead in a house fire on South Main Street in Hannibal.

The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office classified the fire as arson. Hannibal Police classified Bridgett Brawley Starner’s death as a homicide. No one was ever convicted of the crimes.

“It’s never really closed."

Lt. John Zerbonia says time can be a detriment.

“The longer it remains unsolved, the harder it is to solve.”

Kathy Needham worked in law enforcement for 17 years. The retired investigator read the entire case file, cover to cover.

“I really think there were no more than two people involved because whenever you have any more than two people involved in any crime, usually, somebody says something to somebody and word gets out. It gets spread. You would get leaks, and you could solve your case,” said Needham.

These two sisters still have not given up hope in finding answers.

“I believe that even though we didn’t get the justice that we feel like we deserve, they didn’t get punished.”

But Lt. Zerbonia wants families to know that his department never gives up on open cases.

“Any time there is a case that goes unsolved, the police department does whatever they can to solve those cases. We’re not just police officers, we have families. We’re human beings just as everyone else, and we understand what they’re going through.”

Many of the persons of interest listed in the case file are deceased, but Bridgett’s three children aren’t giving up.

“I believe my mom is talking to me, and I believe she wants the justice, too."

If you have any information that could help the Hannibal Police Department solve this crime, you’re asked to submit your crime tip to the department either through telephone or online. If you'd rather not leave your name, your tip will remain anonymous.

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