Chelsea Bruck murder case: Detectives discuss Halloween costume evidence, discovery of body
Daniel Clay charged in connection to Chelsea Bruck's 2014 murder
MONROE COUNTY, Mich. – The Chelsea Bruck murder trial continued Wednesday as detectives took the stand describing the investigation and evidence collected.
Daniel Clay, 27 of Newport, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Bruck’s death. According to authorities, Clay was linked to the death with DNA evidence obtained by Michigan State Police.
A jury was seated Monday for the man accused of killing 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck in 2014. Her disappearance from a Halloween party in Frenchtown Township prompted searches across several counties. Her remains were found a year later in Ash Township.
Fifteen witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing in November. The prosecution first called Michael Williams to the stand. He threw the Halloween party where Bruck was last seen. More than 600 people were in attendance at William’s annual event.
Detectives take the stand
Michigan State Police Detective Michael Peterson was the first to take the stand Wednesday.
Peterson was called to the scene of where Bruck’s Halloween costume was found in April 2015.
He collected several pieces of her costume and entered them as evidence.
Detective Jeff Pauli of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was also present that day and testified about the evidence collected.
Pauli discussed the careful nature in which evidence was collected and the condition of the costume.
He said the costume had a discoloration on it, which detectives believed was blood. He also said the crotch and straps of the costume had been torn.
Property owner testifies about discovery of body
John Henry Marcon owns the property in Carleton where Bruck’s body was found. He discovered the body while developing the land.
Pictures of her body and the scene where she was found were shown to the jury.
Marcon was on the phone with his wife when he noticed the body and called 911.
Bruck was last seen Oct. 25, 2014 wearing a "Poison Ivy" costume consisting of black pants and a green leafed covered top. The family of the 22-year-old pleaded for help finding her. Flyers were put up by the community and a ground search intensified.
Her Halloween costume was found six months later at an industrial site. Her body was found in a wooded area near train tracks April 24, 2015.
Dental records were used to confirm the remains belonged to Bruck, and investigators said evidence at the scene indicated a homicide. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office later ruled her death a homicide, saying she died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Clay arrested in July 2016
After an exhaustive investigation over nearly two years, 27-year-old Daniel Clay was taken into custody July 22, 2016.
According to a criminal background check, Clay has misdemeanor convictions for possessing controlled substances, breaking and entering, assault, and assaulting/resisting a police officer. He was also arrested in May in the theft of tattoo equipment.
DNA collected from Clay in prior arrests by Michigan State Police allegedly matched DNA found on Bruck’s Halloween costume.
Clay’s home was placed under surveillance and he was taken into custody where he was initially interviewed.
“During the interview, detectives obtained details that only the killer would have known as this information had never been disseminated to the public,” Monroe County Sheriff Dale Malone said.
At his arraignment in July, Clay told the judge he didn’t want a bond.
“I don’t want a bond. I’m not even going to ask for one,” Clay told the judge.
Clay asked for a court-appointed attorney, and the judge granted the request for a competency exam. He was found competent to stand trial in August.
Timeline of events
Oct. 26, 2014: Chelsea Bruck vanishes from Halloween party in Monroe County
Bruck went missing on a Saturday night during a party on Post Road in Frenchtown Township. She was last seen wearing a Poison Ivy costume consisting of black pants and a leaf-covered top.
Oct. 29, 2014: Bruck's family, friends continue search
Nov. 2, 2014: Chelsea Bruck case: Police search for guards
Police searched for the security guards who were hired for the party.
Nov. 12, 2014: Reward now $5,000 in Chelsea Bruck case
Nov. 17, 2014: Chelsea Bruck's family appeals for help
March 19, 2015: Authorities search Michigan game area for missing Chelsea Bruck
Dozens of law enforcement officers searched Pointe Mouillee Game Area in southeastern Michigan amid an effort to find Bruck.
April 5, 2015: New clue in missing Chelsea Bruck case
Police said they found what they believed to be a portion of Bruck's costume in the area of Peters Road and Vreeland in Flat Rock.
April 6, 2015: Helicopter, K9 search for Chelsea Bruck in Flat Rock
April 24, 2015: Construction workers find body in rural Monroe County
Construction workers found the body around 2 p.m. Friday in a wooded area near train tracks in the village of Carleton. Officers from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab and Monroe County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene.
The construction crew was doing excavation work on a piece of property where a man is planning to build a house. The crew discovered the body while checking on a piece of equipment, police said.
April 25, 2015: Remains found in Monroe County identified as Chelsea Bruck
Dental records were used to confirm the remains belonged to Bruck, and investigators Saturday said evidence at the scene indicated a homicide.
June 9, 2016: Witness comes forward after pictures released in connection to Chelsea Bruck case
After the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released photos of a person who was at the party and may have had information, the witness made contact with authorities.
July 22, 2016: Monroe County Sheriff: 27-year-old Newport man in custody in Chelsea Bruck case
After an exhaustive investigation over nearly two years, a 27-year-old Newport man was taken into custody.
July 25, 2016: Suspect in Chelsea Bruck slaying: 'I don't want a bond'
At Daniel Clay's arraignment, he told the judge he didn't want a bond.
Nov. 2, 2016: 15 witnesses testify in Chelsea Bruck murder case
Fifteen witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing for Daniel Clay.
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