Wendi Brant’s Murder: How Did Wendi Brant Die? Who Killed Wendi Brant? – On August 10, 1998, a horrific assault killed Wendi Brant. She was at her horse ranch when she engaged in a struggle with her assailant but lost the battle and was forced to face death.
Because the killer has been at large for more than 22 years, Brant’s case is undoubtedly one of the tensest ones in the United States.
However, as seen in Investigation Discovery episode ‘On The Case With Paula Zahn: A Mystery in Indio‘ (season 19, episode 7), there are sad occasions when the evidence just does not add up, at least not right away. We have all the information you need for further information on the horrifying homicide of Wendi Brant in 1998, which painted a hopeful, comparable picture.
Wendi Brant’s Cause of Death
Wendi was in the prime of her life (at age 45) when everything went wrong, according to everyone who had ever met her. She was described as warm, kind, caring, and giving. After 15 years of marriage, the truth is that she was doing pretty well despite being in the final stages of divorce since she had not only gone back to school but also found success as a rancher and investor. The police were called after the aspiring speech pathologist failed to show up for her internship or return calls on August 10, 1998, because it was apparent she was accountable.
When authorities arrived at Wendi’s modest horse ranch off Los Palos Road in Indio, California, it honestly seemed peaceful from the outside, but the inside told a very different story. The furniture was in disorder, there were indications of a protracted battle, and a bloody trail leading from her hallway into the locked bathroom off her bedroom suggested she had been carried away. Wendi was discovered there, partially naked in the tub; although she had suffered a blow to the head, her cause of death was determined to be ligature strangulation with a slender item.
Who Killed Wendi Brant’s and Why?
According to the Investigation Discovery episode, one of the first things police could deduce from the horrifying crime scene was that Wendi was intentionally targeted and probably knew her killer. That’s because nothing valuable appeared to have been stolen, nothing appeared to have been broken into her home, and her highly protective and ferocious dogs were safely locked up in another room without incident. Their ability to restrict the murder timeframe to some time between 9 p.m. on August 9 and 2:30 a.m. on August 10, thanks to her landline data, prompted them to explore further into her private life.
Later, it was revealed that Wendi and her ex-husband William “Bill” Hillman, were still going through a very contentious divorce, particularly regarding her financial and real estate assets. She was first determined not to battle him, even though their prosperous status was primarily due to simply her; however, she quickly changed her mind and even hired an attorney. The timing of her death seemed odd, given that the 45-year-old thought he was trying to keep everything for himself rather than allowing it to be shared fairly and equitably.
Even though Bill still had the keys to Wendi’s house, could have taken care of her dogs, and did end up with all of their assets, he cooperated with the authorities. To prove that his shoe size matched the size of the bloody footprint left at the site, he not only offered statements but also freely gave his prints and DNA samples. There wasn’t enough evidence to arrest or indict him, though, because the study of the bloody palmprint ostensibly led somewhere, and it was discovered he went out to eat with companions on a tragic night.
In “On the Case with Paula Zahn,” a detective did assert that Bill still might have killed Wendi because his dinner didn’t last the whole five and a half hours, but they also had to look into other possibilities. Due to the odd, cryptic remarks he had made about their link, one of Wendi’s professors—the first to phone 911 in concern about her absence—was subsequently investigated—but to no avail. The search for the person Wendi had gone out to dinner with the night before—likely the last person to see her alive—became a dead end, and the investigation was abandoned.
Wendi’s case was reopened in 2008 with a new investigator in charge, some ten years after it was first closed. This allowed new technology and fresh eyes to examine the material. In fact, a large amount of DNA, a material resembling human fluids, potential contact prints, and other tiny fragments were all fortunately safeguarded after being discovered at the crime scene in 1998. Therefore, while the physical evidence was being submitted for forensic analysis, the authorities started their investigation from scratch. This only increased the number of suspects on their list and Bill and the professor.
According to the episode, a potential suspect was suspected of a murder that was an exact match for Wendi’s, but they were never named or charged in relation to either case owing to a lack of evidence. Then there’s the reality that technical analysis has continued to link a few people for various reasons, including the alleged involvement of Bill. He passed away in 2014 but had previously cooperated with the authorities once again.
Wendi’s murder thus remains unsolved despite the Indio Police Department’s ongoing investigation and search for information or leads. Since it has been almost 25 years since she passed away, if you have any information, please phone 760-541-4533 to report it.