When Rosella Atkinson went missing in 1987, the police wanted to bring her home safely. The finding of her remains, however, flipped the case on its head and prompted a full-fledged homicide investigation.
‘Homicide City: Winter’s Bones‘ on Investigation Discovery takes us through the horrific murder and traces how the criminal was brought to justice. Let’s look at the case details and see where Rosella’s killer is right now.
What Caused Rosella Atkinson’s Death?
Rosella Atkinson, an 18-year-old mother of one, was a proud citizen of Nicetown, Pennsylvania. Rosella was adored by her community and very close to her loved ones. She was described as someone who would light up any room with her smile.
She even loved being a mother, and her infant daughter was her pride and joy. When such a promising young life was snuffed down in a rage-fueled act, it was startling and heartbreaking.
On October 12, 1987, Rosella Hall put her young daughter to bed and went out to a nearby tavern. Her family had no idea that would be the last time they saw her because the young mother vanished shortly after. She never returned home, and her worried relatives called the police to report her missing.
Initially, the case was treated like any other missing person report, and investigators searched every possible route for Rosella. Despite the fact that police and search groups explored the region, there was no sign of the missing woman.
Even yet, until human remains were discovered at the edge of Central High School’s playing fields, investigators did not believe it was a homicide. The woman died of strangulation, according to an autopsy, although her identity was unknown for a few more years.
Frank Bender, a forensic sculptor, reproduced the victim’s face, which Rosella’s family members recognised in 1990. As a result, the authorities were ultimately able to identify the remains and launch a homicide inquiry using her dental records.
Who Was the killer of Rosella Atkinson?
Following the identification of the remains, the police conducted hundreds of interviews in the hopes of finding a lead. Most of Rosella’s acquaintances, on the other hand, said she was a pleasant person who didn’t retain grudges that would lead to murder.
Besides, Rosella maintained a tranquil life focused primarily on her family. The crime scene did not provide authorities with many clues because the body was located months after her murder.
Officers refused to give up and began canvassing the local communities in the hopes of finding a lead. They wished that someone, somewhere, had knowledge about the homicide, and they even made the details public so that anyone with information could call in tips. However, the majority of the tips received resulted in dead ends, and the police were no closer to apprehending the murderer.
The case’s progress came to a halt after years of no new leads. It had been labelled a cold case for years before a peculiar and surprising sequence of events helped detectives bring the victim’s family closure.
A man named Brian Hall stepped into a police station in September 2005 and confessed to the murder of Rosella. He stated that the shame of his crime had been weighing on him for years and that turning himself in was the only way to clear his name.
When questioned, Brian stated that he met Rosella at the bar on October 12, 1987, before the two of them moved over to the playing field and engaged in sexual intercourse, as depicted on the show.
When Brian awoke, however, he noticed that he was missing money and suspected Rosella of stealing. Brian, enraged, wrapped his hands around Rosella’s neck and strangled her to death, despite Rosella’s protests. He then hid the body nearby and fled, claiming that his conscience forced him to confess.
What Has Happened to Brian Hall and Where Is He Now?
Brian pleaded guilty to murder after being arrested and charged, but asked the jury to determine the exact degree. Brian Hall was found guilty of third-degree murder in 2007 and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
There appears to be no information regarding his current whereabouts in the state’s prison records as well. As a result, it’s possible that he was granted parole. If that is the case, there is a good chance he is still living in Pennsylvania.