Detective Dan gets called to an apartment complex to investigate a hit and run. But he quickly discovers there’s much more to the case than just property damage, when a young girl in the house discloses that she was touched inappropriately during an alcohol-fueled party that night. Detective Dan’s brother, Detective Dave, is called in to investigate the crime.
The Detectives: Detective Dave recently retired from law enforcement in January 2022. He began his career in 2007 and served as a patrol officer until 2012. Dave spent the next six years as a detective where he primarily investigated sexual assaults and child abuse. Dave was promoted to Sergeant in 2018 and was reassigned to patrol, where he served for the remainder of his career. During his time in law enforcement he held special assignments to the Crisis and Hostage Negotiation Team, Child Fatality Review, the county’s deadly force investigation team, and served on the advisory boards of multiple children’s and victim’s advocacy groups.
Detective Dan was formerly a K9 handler and Violent Crimes detective at the same Small Town police department as his brother. Dan regards his years as a K9 handler to be the most rewarding of his career. He is now retired.Read Transcript
Dave: [00:00:05] He’s been in this family’s life for years. He’s a patriarchal figure in these children’s lives, and he’s been a family friend. So, she’s never had any reason to worry about her children’s safety around him. She doesn’t have any real concerns with just falling asleep and leaving her kids awake to play videogames while he is in the house.[Small Town Dicks intro]
Yeardley: [00:00:29] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:00:31] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:00:31] And I’m Dave.
Yeardley: [00:00:33] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:00:35] Dave and I are identical twins, and we’re retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Dave: [00:00:40] Together, we’ve investigated thousands of cases. From petty theft to sex crimes, from child abuse, to murder.
Dan: [00:00:47] Every case on our podcast is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they broke the case.
Dave: [00:00:54] Names, places, and certain details, including relationships, have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dan: [00:01:01] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved, out of respect for what they’ve been through.
In Unison: [00:01:12] Thank you.[Small Town Dicks theme playing]
Yeardley: [00:01:25] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. And it is very, very good. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:34] Good morning.
Yeardley: [00:01:35] Good morning. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:37] Great to be here.
Yeardley: [00:01:38] Great to have you. And Small Town Fam, it gets even better because this case comes to us from our favorite detectives, D&D. So, gentlemen, take it away.
Dave: [00:01:51] This case occurred within the first year or two of my promotion to detective and my specific case load was child abuse and sexual assault. That was 90 plus percent of what landed on my desk. Dan was still on patrol at the time. Dan is actually the officer that gets called out in a patrol capacity out to an apartment complex in the east side of our town, middle of the night. And he gets called out to a hit and run, some driving complaint with a dispute attached to it. When he gets there, he finds out this is bigger than that.
Dan: [00:02:29] At the time, I was working graveyard as a patrol officer, and dispatch was having a little trouble with the caller, and her name is Diane. She was very emotional, but some basic details that came out of the initial 911 call where that there was a dispute at Diane’s house. The male who was involved in that dispute, a guy named Bradley, had left in a hurry, got in his car, and backed out of the driveway and committed a hit and run. Had actually run into part of the building when he was leaving in such haste.
[00:03:08] When I arrived, what I found out from Diane was that she had some friends over, including Bradley.
Yeardley: [00:03:16] And how old is Bradley, roughly?
Dave: [00:03:18] Bradley’s late 20s. And then we have Lauren, who’s maybe first, second grade. Her brother is a couple years older than her, but certainly Will is also in elementary school. Bradley’s girlfriend’s late 20s. And then, her son– Mandy brought her son to this party. He’s infant, toddler aged.
Yeardley: [00:03:40] And Diane is in her 20s as well, a young mom?
Dave: [00:03:44] Yeah. Will and Lauren’s mom’s probably early 30s.
Yeardley: [00:03:47] Okay, got it.
Dave: [00:03:49] So, there’s four total adults. You have Diane, her friend, he’s not a romantic interest, he is just hanging out. You have Bradley and his girlfriend, Mandy. And then, you have the three kids, Lauren, Will, and Bradley, and Mandy’s infant toddler son. The adults are getting more and more intoxicated as the night goes on. So, that prompts Mandy to put her son down to bed up in Lauren and Will’s room. Lauren and Will are just playing videogames in Lauren and Will’s room. And at some point, Mandy has drunk enough and she needs to recover, so she goes up to Lauren and Will’s room and gets in bed, next to her child.
Yeardley: [00:04:33] Are Lauren and Will in their own room, so Mandy has just passed out on one of their beds.
Dan: [00:04:38] On one of their beds.
Yeardley: [00:04:39] Okay, and they’re still in there?
Dan: [00:04:41] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:04:42] Got it.
Dave: [00:04:42] Three other adults are downstairs still drinking. What we gather from interviews with Will and Lauren is that Bradley at some point breaks away from Diane and the other adult male, who are hanging out downstairs and he says he’s going to go upstairs and check on Mandy and company. And Bradley grabs a beer on his way upstairs. About that time, Diana’s thinking, “I should probably go to bed too.”
[00:05:11] Bradley’s been in this family’s life for years. He’s not an uncle, but he’s a patriarchal figure in these children’s lives, and he’s been a family friend. So, she’s never had any reason to worry about her children’s safety around Bradley or anybody else. Diane doesn’t have any real concerns with just falling asleep and leaving your kids awake to play videogames while Bradley is in the house. Bradley sees that Mandy is asleep. He sees that Diane is now asleep. He waits a little bit, keeps drinking his beer. He’s watching Will and Lauren play videogames. Lauren at some point says, “Okay, I’m going to go to bed,” and she goes over to mom’s room and sleeps at the foot of the bed. Will is still playing video games. His door’s open. There’s a landing outside his door that leads to the other bedroom and the bathroom. Bradley peeks into Diane’s room, sees Lauren on the foot of the bed, and he’s doing the, “Pssst. Hey, come out here.”
[00:06:15] Will sees Bradley kind of beckoning Lauren to come out of Diane’s room and join him, just outside his room on this landing. And Bradley coaxes her out of the room, not forcefully, but like, “Hey, just come with me.” That’s his moment of opportunity, and that’s the location where he’s going to sexually offend. Will is still playing his videogames but is kind of seeing what’s going on out of the corner of his eye. What’s going on out in the landing? He’s not thinking bad things. He’s playing his game. So, eventually, Will hears Lauren, she starts crying. Credit to Lauren and her mother, and however way that Diane communicated this to her daughter and her son about, “If you’re ever uncomfortable,” Lauren was empowered with mom’s direction. “If you ever don’t like something, raise hell and start screaming.” And that’s what Lauren did.
Dan: [00:07:17] And Diane wakes up to the sound of Lauren crying. Bradley is already on his way down the stairs, when Lauren turns to mom and says, “Mommy, he touched my privates.”
Dave: [00:07:53] When Lauren started crying, Bradley, “Oh shit. I’ve got to gather up my hammered girlfriend and her little toddler boy, and we have to get out of this apartment right now because the shit is about to hit the fan.”
Dan: [00:08:11] Diane races down the stairs, Bradley’s got his girlfriend, Mandy, in tow, and her young son. And Diane says, “Bradley, did you touch my daughter?” Bradley replies, “I didn’t touch her. Ask Will.” Will is now present while this dispute happens. He’s now downstairs and Will tells Diane, “I did see Bradley put his denim jacket over Lauren and they laid down together.” Diane asks Lauren again, “Did he really touch your privates?”, referring to Bradley. Lauren is really emotional at this point. Lauren says, “What is going on? What’s happening here?” Diane then turns to the other adult friend who’s at the house and asks, “Hey, don’t let Bradley leave.” And that friend says, “I don’t want to be involved in this,” and at that point, leaves. He just didn’t want the drama.
[00:09:15] Bradley gets everyone in the car of his party, Mandy and her son. He, in his haste, puts the car in reverse, and he hits another building across the way from Diane’s apartment.
Dave: [00:09:32] You can picture this scene of suspect with girlfriend and little baby in tow, scrambling to get out of this apartment, get into the car, get everyone situated, throw it in reverse. You’ve got angry Diane screaming, and Bradley isn’t driving well because he’s got some shit on his mind.
Dan: [00:09:53] And he’s intoxicated.
Dave: [00:09:55] Right. We have this hit and run, but the chaos of the situation isn’t overstated here. It’s a chaotic scene in the middle of an apartment complex in the middle of the night.
Dan: [00:10:06] And you have to understand too, I’m trying to get these details. Diane is beside herself. I’m sure the world’s going a million miles a minute. And this is why dispatch had a tough time on the original 911 call because Diane is understandably upset. While I’m talking with Diane at the apartment, her phone rings a couple times, and it’s Bradley. She doesn’t answer the phone, and he does not leave a message. I’m asking her questions like, “Where does Bradley live? Where does Mandy live? Do they live together?” I’ve also got other officers doing area check to see if they can locate Bradley driving.
Yeardley: [00:10:47] And do Bradley and Mandy live together?
Dan: [00:10:49] It’s unclear. We know they’ve been dating for a while, but we don’t know if Bradley actually lives with Mandy.
Yeardley: [00:10:56] Diane didn’t say he’s at his apartment and this is the address?
Dave: [00:10:59] That’s the issue, is Diane knows this guy. But there’s no set residence where Bradley has rested his head for the last four years. It’s not the situation.
Yeardley: [00:11:11] Okay.
Dan: [00:11:12] As Diane grows more and more upset while she’s trying to give me details, Lauren is becoming more upset too, because, A, she just had something traumatic happened to her. And now, her mom, her protector, is going through the roof. And at some point, Will, little young man, turns to mother and his sister and says, “You guys have to calm down a little bit,” which was kind of a jaw dropper for me. He’s under 10 years old, and he’s like the man of the house. I was so impressed with this young man that night. Will just had composure, which is great, because I know what’s on the horizon for Lauren, and it’s a trip to the hospital.
[00:11:58] Normally, we’d have a parent drive their child down to the hospital to get a sexual assault exam done, but Diane’s been drinking. I’m not going to call an ambulance in this situation, I don’t think it’s appropriate to call an ambulance, nobody’s in immediate danger. So, I drive Diane and Lauren and Will to the hospital. My sergeant says, “Hey, make sure you gather evidence before you take them down there.” So, I got photos of the apartment, the areas where everyone is describing where the incident took place. I gathered some other evidence. I take Will, Diane, and Lauren down to the hospital and get them checked into the emergency room and let the charge nurse know what’s going on and what we need. The nurse came back out after her examination and said, “I’ve got a little more detail from Lauren.”
[00:12:57] We’ve talked about forensic interviews of children. I’m not trained in that. So, I’m not going to try to get a bunch of details out of Lauren. I’m going to be supportive. If she makes a statement, I’m going to record it. But I’m not going to ask a bunch of follow-up questions. I’ll let the nurse do that and I’ll let my brother do that once he gets involved, and the forensic interviewer at the child advocacy center. You’ve got to know your role. And at this point, my investigation is kind of over with.
[00:13:27] So, I leave the hospital, I write a report, and I forward it back to the detectives, and it just so happened to be assigned to my brother.
Yeardley: [00:13:35] Cool.
Dave: [00:13:36] So, this case came in on an early Sunday morning, and it wasn’t a typical Sergeant Dave saying, “What are you doing at 2:00 in the morning?”[laughter]
Dave: [00:13:47] I didn’t get called out on this one. And it’s because of the determination that Dan and the sergeant made that night, which was, “We don’t know where suspect is. We know that he doesn’t live here. So, we’re don’t have to worry about Lauren and Will.” There’s no way to do a safety plan with this suspect because nobody knows where to find him. So, by the time it lands on my desk, everything’s calmed down and I start trying to gameplan this. Who’s Bradley? Where do I find him? This is one of those where I would have immediately tried to get as much information on Bradley as possible and gone into some of our law enforcement databases to determine a history of addresses to start looking for Bradley. I don’t have that.
Yeardley: [00:14:31] And is that because Bradley hasn’t had any contact with police, so he’s not in your system?
Dave: [00:14:36] Bradley does have contact with the police. But in our system, Bradley has four different akas, ‘also known as’ aliases. And it’s a mix of his name with made up names.
Yeardley: [00:14:51] And what would the purpose of that be?
Dave: [00:14:53] Well, you don’t want to be identified by the police or you’re running from citations, so you do slight variation on your name. And all of a sudden–
Yeardley: [00:15:04] You’re not with the DMV records, you’re sort of in the wind.
Dave: [00:15:08] Right. Hard to track down. Bradley’s used a few different names with law enforcement. I’ve got to get Lauren forensically interviewed at our advocacy center. The crime occurs, and I couldn’t get Lauren in for a forensic interview for at least a week after that. This gives you an idea of the scope of the problem in my county. That’s because all the other slots are filled with other children who have either witnessed domestic abuse or are victims themselves, and it’s nonstop. Our interviewers are doing several interviews a day, and kids coming through our advocacy center are exposed to all kinds of stuff, so much so that there’s times where it takes two or three weeks to get an appointment. At our advocacy center, if it comes down to it, they would come in in the middle of the night, they come in on a weekend. So, can’t say enough about our facility in my county, and the people associated with it.
[00:16:11] We get Lauren interviewed. When you interview a child, you let them know we’re going to speak about things that actually happened, real things. I don’t want to hear about a spaceship picking you and your family up and you guys went to Disneyland and got back three hours later. [Yeardley laughs] Maybe it happened.
Dan: [00:16:25] That would be cool.
Dave: [00:16:27] Right. We stress we’re going to talk about things that really happened. This is a room where we talk about the truth and we talk about facts. Lauren describes what happened that night, and it’s a lot like Dan says, but she’s got a little bit more detail, I think, because it’s not so acute. She’s had a week to kind of gather herself. I remember the beginning of this interview, you do a lot of rapport building between child and interviewer. A forensic interviewer will ask questions to get an understanding of your cognitive, verbal development and your ability to provide an open narrative. And in this one, Lauren talked about going camping and that she was swimming and she got underwater and she caught a fish. Okay, that’s not noteworthy, whatever. A few minutes later, when we get into why is Lauren here at the advocacy center today, Lauren says, “My mom’s friend, Bradley, he touched me inappropriately in my private areas.” And then, she stops herself and says, “Wait, not all of that happened.”
Yeardley: [00:17:38] Oh, no.
Dave: [00:17:39] Nicole, the interviewer, myself as well, when I hear this, I’m like, “Oh, shit. We’re in trouble.”
Dave: [00:18:03] Nicole’s done thousands of these.
Yeardley: [00:18:04] And Nicole is the forensic interviewer.
Dave: [00:18:06] Right. I’ve talked about Nicole quite a bit in previous episodes. I’m starting to hit the panic button like, “Oh, shit. Lauren just said that she just made something up.” And Lauren corrects herself and says, “I didn’t actually catch a fish when I was swimming.” It’s so disconnected from what she had said minutes earlier. But when Nicole said, “You’re saying that didn’t happen?” And she’s like, “Oh, the part where I caught the fish didn’t happen.” The context to that disclosure, and then the recantation about the fish is what’s compelling to me, that this girl has her own internal monitor about being truthful. And she felt like that needed to be brought forward. But I marked that down because it was noteworthy to me that she self-corrected, and was very specific about what she was not being truthful about, which is the fish. I was impressed with Lauren and Will, and their mother very early on. I was just really impressed with his family.
[00:19:11] During the interview, the biggest part of Lauren’s disclosure is she tells us what clothing she had on at the time, which was later collected by our sexual assault nurse examiner. Based on what Lauren is saying, there’s going to be DNA probably on the waistband of her underwear, potential DNA on swabs and potential DNA on clothing items. And I know that the turnaround time is going to be within a few days, right? [Yeardley laughs] No. We know that DNA takes months, so I’m not going to have that for months. But Lauren has given a disclosure which gives me probable cause to believe that Bradley did it. So, I grab my partner and we start hitting the pavement trying to figure out where Bradley lives.
[00:20:00] Speaking with Diane, she does not know where Bradley lives but she knows that Bradley and Mandy are temp staff at a dairy company. We had the description of Mandy’s car from the night of the hit and run. I don’t have the plate, but I know where the damage is likely to be on this car, and we go to this dairy company and drive around the block, and I see there’s my suspect vehicle right there. “Please let there be damage on this quarter panel of this back bumper.” And sure enough, it’s there. And the paint transfer from the building to the bumper is there. I’m like, “Jackpot.”
Yeardley: [00:20:39] This is my car.
Dave: [00:20:40] They’ve got to be in the building somewhere. I go in, and I speak to the floor manager. It’s a very sterile setting. So, I don’t go to the floor ever. I’m just in an upstairs office and they say, “Hey, we need the floor manager because there’s a detective here.” I don’t know what the relationships are at these places. So, the floor manager was standing right next to my suspect and says, “Oh, hey, the police are here. I need to go talk to him.” It’s always like, “Don’t tell him it’s the police. Just say, ‘Hey, come to the office.'” So, floor manager comes to me and says, “Hey, you’re looking for Bradley, right?” I said, “Yeah. And if Mandy’s here, I’d like to speak to her too. But first I need to speak to Bradley.” My thought is if I speak to Mandy first, she’s immediately going to go to Bradley and be like, “Hey, I’m getting called in the office speak to a detective.”
Yeardley: [00:21:29] “You better go on a lunch break.”
Dave: [00:21:30] Right. Bye-bye. In this case, I want to speak to Bradley first. And the manager goes, “Bradley’s scheduled to work today.” He was supposed to be here for his next shift, which was a couple of days after our crime. And he never showed up, he hasn’t been back and they let the temp agency know he’s fired, tell him he doesn’t need to show back up. And I’m like, “That’s interesting timing.” I decide to leave.
Yeardley: [00:22:02] And not talk to Mandy.
Dave: [00:22:04] I don’t want to talk to Mandy and tell the manager, “Hey, basically, I don’t want to speak to her. I don’t want her to know I was even here. Can you do that for me?” He’s like, “Fuck, yeah. This guy ditched us with no call.” And I said, “Do they have a locker by chance?” And the guy says, “Actually, he did have a locker and he never returned to take the rest of his personal belongings.” I said, “I don’t know what your policy is. I could write a search warrant for this locker.” And he says, “Oh, our policy is that the lockers are our property. They know that we can search that because we’ve had employees stealing tools and product.” So, they have this open policy where their employees know at any point, we can search your locker without your consent. In this case, I’ve got Bradley who has intentionally vacated this job, and he’s now absented himself from the job and his locker. That’s abandoned property to me.
[00:23:05] We open it up and there’s like a shirt. There’s toothpaste, there’s a little shower kit, something to get cleaned up after work. There’s a plastic grocery bag and inside is a consumed Styrofoam cup of noodles with a fork inside and a Diet Coke or something.
Yeardley: [00:23:26] DNA.
Dave: [00:23:27] DNA on that fork, 100%. I grabbed the noodles, one bag, fork, another bag with gloves. [Yeardley chuckles] I’ve got that. And the manager tells me where Bradley and Mandy have their paychecks sent. I go to that neighborhood where Bradley and Mandy live and start knocking on the door and I get nothing. Went back multiple times, no answer. In the days where I’m trying to get a hold of Bradley, I learned from Diane that she had received a call, in which Bradley left a voicemail and said, “Ah, I forgot to tell you the reason Lauren was so upset that night is because I spanked her. She was being too rough with my girlfriend’s son, and I spanked her. Two swats on the bottom, didn’t hurt her, but that’s when she started crying.”
Yeardley: [00:24:23] Meanwhile, that little toddler baby was fast asleep.
Dave: [00:24:27] Correct. So, I wait and wait and wait. Finally, 10 days later, the car’s there. Knock on the door. Bradley answers the door, and I recognize him immediately from the varying faces he has with the AKAs.
Yeardley: [00:24:42] Right with his aliases.
Dave: [00:24:44] Right. I’m like, “There’s my guy.” And I say, “Any idea why I’d want to speak to you?” And Bradley has no idea why the police would want to speak to him. And I said, “Well, I’m investigating a hit and run.”
Yeardley: [00:24:57] Oh, sneaky.
Dave: [00:24:58] When I had seen the car are at the work site, I had taken pictures of the exterior of the vehicle, especially the damage, anticipating someone in these circumstances might not be fully honest. [Yeardley laughs] And Dan had done a great job at the scene, because all the measurements and photos that he took of the damage to the building corroborates the measurements that I take with the damage to the vehicle. And I said, “I see the car here.” And he’s like, “I wasn’t involved in any hit and run.” He won’t even talk about the little misdemeanor hit and run that he was involved in. He’s saying he wasn’t even there. How much honesty am I going to get?
[00:25:40] Eventually, Bradley admits that he was at the apartment that night, but there was no hit and run. So, the story is growing, now I can at least place him at the crime scene the night of the reported crime. Bradley still has no idea why a detective would want to talk to him about any criminal behavior. I asked Bradley, “Was there any argument? Was there a blowup that happened at the house?” “No.” I said, “Well, have you called Diane since the last time you saw her?” And he’s like, “No.” I know that two of those calls came in while my brother was standing right next to Diane.
Yeardley: [00:26:17] Multiple lies.
Dave: [00:26:18] Simple stuff. He could have said, “Yeah, I called just to let her know we got home that night.” I asked Bradley about his relationship with Lauren. “Get along well?” “Yeah, get along great. I’ve been in her life for years and things are good.” “Okay. Diane tells me that she specifically confronted you that night and said, ‘Did you touch my daughter?'” And he’s like, “I don’t recall any conversation like that.” And he says, “I did tell her that night that I had spanked Lauren.” I’m like now we can’t keep our facts straight because it took a phone call two weeks after this happened for you to bring up the spanking part. I asked Bradley, “Other than spanking her, did you touch Lauren at all that night?” And he’s like, “I might have hugged her.” And I said, “Well, we see some clothing the night of this hit and run that I’m investigating. Any reason why your DNA should be on her undergarments?” “No.” “Okay.”
[00:27:26] Basically, saying it should be over the pajama pants on the outside, but shouldn’t be anywhere near her underwear. I asked Bradley if he was even driving that night, and he says, “No. Mandy drove home that night.” And I pointed out, “Mandy’s rumored to be heavily intoxicated to the point that she was passed out next to her infant son while all this chaos is going on. And you had to rouse her to get her awake and sprint downstairs.” And Bradley says, “Ah– [exhales] All right. I did jump in the driver’s seat, and I drove away but I stopped a block away and I let Mandy drive the rest of the way.”
Yeardley: [00:28:08] There’s so much wrong with that statement. First of all, it’s a lie. Second of all, it’s a terrible idea if she’s that intoxicated with a child in the car.
Dave: [00:28:16] Right. So, I pointed out the absurdity of his claims and he said, “Okay, I was scared.” His license was suspended because he had a previous driving under the influence conviction. So, he’s not supposed to be driving and he’s worried about he’s going to get in trouble if he admits to driving. I let him know, “This is bigger than you damaging your bumper and the side of a building.”
Dave: [00:28:55] Bradley eventually says, “Okay, yeah, I drove all the way home.” “Okay. Tell me about the touching.” “No touching. I spanked her and I hugged her. But, no.” While we’re talking, Mandy comes walking up. And I have the other detective hang out with Bradley, and I go speak to Mandy. It’s clear that Mandy and Bradley have talked about the subject at hand and have concocted a story that I’m guessing they had rehearsed because a lot of the answers were verbatim, the same. “Was there some sort of argument at Diane’s apartment?” “No.” I ask, “How was the overall tone that night?” She’s like, “Oh, jovial. I was never not by Bradley’s side that night. I was with him the entire night.” I point out again, “Well, I’m told that you’re passed out on a seven-year-old’s bed. Is that not true?” She goes, “That’s true. But Bradley was right next to me the whole time we were laying in bed with my son, and the kids were playing videogames, and Diane was in her bedroom. And he never left my sight.” And I said, “Well, again, you’re passed out. Is it possible that Bradley would have had occasion to sneak away without you realizing that he had stepped away?” And she’s like, “Well, I guess it’s possible, but again, I was next to him all night.”
Yeardley: [00:30:32] Unbelievable.
Dave: [00:30:34] Eventually, I get to the point where I asked, “Was Bradley even driving?” And Mandy says, “No, I drove,” and I pointed out to her, “You’re rumored to have been hammered, and barely able to make it down the stairs. And now, you drove all the way home, which was probably 12 miles.” Eventually, Mandy says, “Okay, yeah, Bradley woke me up. I don’t know what happened. I know that there was a lot of yelling, and we ran down to the car. And on the way home, Bradley told me, ‘Hey, I spanked Lauren, and she got upset. And that’s why you woke up to chaos.’ Bradley drove all the way home, we got home. And that was it.”
At the end of that conversation, I arrest Bradley for driving under the influence. He was admittedly drunk that night. I have him getting in a minor crash and then leaving. So, I’ve hit and run.
Yeardley: [00:31:32] You can do that? You can arrest somebody way after the fact for driving under the influence?
Dave: [00:31:40] You can, you’re not going to have the blood alcohol content reading, like a breath test or a blood draw. However, you can base it on circumstantial evidence, like his demeanor, his motor skills, witness statements. It lends itself to probable cause. In this case, Bradley admits that he’s got a suspended license, and Bradley admits that he was drinking. Bradley’s been arrested. I use that time to gather as much as I can about this case, and I present it to our district attorney’s office, and Eric gets the case, which I’m happy about. I’ve worked with Eric on a few cases. He’s been on this podcast. Eric is a bulldog, fun to work with. He trusts my judgment. He trusts that when I bring him a case, that it’s something that he can prove in court.I don’t bring in cases when I can’t do that.
[00:32:35] We take this case to grand jury. Lauren gives the same disclosure that she gave during the forensic interview. Plus, the grand jury is able to watch Lauren’s interview to get the idea of what is her body language look like when she was asked this particular question, what’s her reaction. Juries watch that and they go, “She’s in the moment right now. She’s telling us what happened.” The grand jury comes back and they indict Bradley for sexually abusing Lauren. Everything that I allege, the grand jury indicts Bradley on.
[00:33:08] Between the time that Bradley has been arrested for the misdemeanor hit and run, he’s been released. And so, we had to track him down again. Now I’ve got a warrant in hand, I found him in his residence. Let him know, “You’re under arrest.” He’s like, “Okay.” I wait several months and we get the DNA back.
Yeardley: [00:33:28] Do they hold him in jail?
Dave: [00:33:29] He was held in jail because of the severity of the charges. Bradley’s skin cells are on Lauren’s underwear. And it’s not just inside the waistband, it’s deeper inside the garment. So, now I’m like, “Okay, this matches up with what Lauren has been saying. And bye-bye, Bradley.” That case did not go to trial. Bradley eventually pled guilty, and those charges are like 12 to 14 years.
Yeardley: [00:34:01] When he pleads guilty, does he admit that he did it? Or, does he plead guilty because he doesn’t want to go to trial and maybe get a worse sentence?
Dave: [00:34:09] I think it’s a combination of both. When we have a case like this where the prosecutor says, “Here’s the deal that I’m offering,” unless the prosecution is handed some evidence that would shake the foundation of the case, the offer’s never going to get better. In this case, I think Bradley realizes his exposure to this is going to be decades of prison time, or I can just take what they’re offering and maybe serve a third or half of what I could serve If I’m found guilty at trial. And once the DNA came back–
Yeardley: [00:34:44] He was done.
Dave: [00:34:46] He saw the writing on the wall, Bradley took his guilty plea in. He’s in the penalty box for a while. What’s great about this case is Will, little rock star. I had fairly infrequent and rare interaction with Will, because just in my case was Lauren obviously. But every time I would see Will, he’d like knuckle bump me.
Yeardley: [00:35:11] Fist bump you?
Dave: [00:35:12] Fist bump. One time, I was in the grocery store, this is after the case had already resolved, and I’m just at checkout buying groceries. And I hear, “What’s up Dave?” Just like that.
Yeardley: [00:35:24] [laughs]
Dave: [00:35:25] And it’s this little kid’s voice. And I turn around and I’m like, “Sup, Will?” [Yeardley laughs] He’s like, “Things are great, man.” Just so relaxed. Diane, I remember was there and so was Lauren, Lauren remembered me, she was smiling. And I just remember being like, “This family’s going to be okay.”
Yeardley: [00:35:45] They’re going to be all right.
Dave: [00:35:46] Yeah. I told Dan about this interaction at the grocery store. I was like, “Hey, guess who I saw at the grocery store?” [Yeardley laughs] “I don’t know. Who?” I’m like, “Yeah, just checking out and I hear, ‘What’s up, Dave?'”[laughter]
Dave: [00:36:01] And when I said that Dan was like, “Will.”
Yeardley: [00:36:05] You knew.
Dan: [00:36:07] He’s the first person that came to mind just because my initial impression of him was so profound. Like he’s on another level.
Yeardley: [00:36:16] Right. Dave, what was it like for you when this report that Dan had taken initially lands on your desk? Did that happen often that you would get a report forwarded back to you and detectives from your brother?
Dave: [00:36:30] It did not happen very often. It’s kind of a crapshoot. I’m happy that Dan was the initial officer on the scene that night.
Yeardley: [00:36:37] That’s so great. I love that Will and Lauren and Diane, it seems like they’re going to be all right.
Dave: [00:36:46] Yeah. Diane’s strong. Lauren won’t put up with shit from anybody. And Will, Will’s just funny.
Yeardley: [00:36:54] [laughs] I do love a story with a happy ending. Thank you so much for bringing us that great case.
Dave: [00:37:01] My pleasure.
Dan: [00:37:02] You’re welcome.[music]
Yeardley: [00:37:07] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin, with additional editing assistance from Jacqui Fulton. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [00:37:39] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
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Yeardley: [00:38:23] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [00:38:29] -in search of the finest,-
Dave: [00:38:31] -rare, true crime cases told-
Dan: [00:38:33] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [00:38:36] So, thanks for listening small town fam.
Yeardley: [00:38:39] Nobody’s better than you.