ROSE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – One year after Alexandra Brueger was shot and killed on her afternoon run, her case remains unsolved.
Her parents, Nikki and Franz Brueger, want people to come forward and share anything they might remember from that day, July 30 2016. Brueger, 31, was jogging in the area of 11240 Fish Lake Road in Rose Township. She was shot four times in the back with a shotgun around 2 p.m.
"It's so inconceivable. It's so inconceivable to us what happened to her," Nikki Brueger said.
Brueger was a registered nurse at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, and while nursing was her profession, writing was her passion. She had nearly finished obtaining her master's degree in fine arts and writing when she was killed. The Bruegers say their daughter was kind, considerate and thoughtful. Her mother misses her quick wit.
"She wanted to be married. She wanted children. She was going to get her doctorate's [degree] in poetry. One of her professors said she would have been a published author," Nikki Brueger said.
The Bruegers said their daughter Ally's whole life was taken from her while the person who shot her still walks free.
Ally Brueger ran 10 miles every day. Her parents say she was doing what she wanted to do, that she did it be physically fit and for her emotional and spiritual self. Nikki Brueger said she always told her daughter to be careful before she left for a run because she worried about her getting hit by a car. Her parents never imagined her getting shot.
"She was doing what she wanted to do, not bothering anybody, not bothering anybody. And even if someone had driven too close to her and she threw them a dirty look or said something -- and she wasn't that confrontational, not when she ran, that didn't justify what happened to her, killing her. Nothing justifies that," Nikki Brueger said. "She was running away. She was up on someone's property. She was running away and she was shot in the back and only a puny repulsive coward would do this."
The Michigan State Police said detectives are actively investigating Ally Brueger's homicide and are asking for the public's assistance to help solve it.
"The Michigan State Police have received over 200 tips in this investigation, but have not received the one that will solve this case,” Lt. Michael Shaw said. "So far, tips from citizens have led detectives across the country looking for information and possible suspects. Detectives are still working on every tip that comes in to us through our tip line, the family of Ally, Crime Stoppers and the public, and are continuing to work on this investigation daily. This has not become a cold case, and detectives will continue to investigate every lead that comes in to us."
Nikki and Franz Brueger don't believe their daughter's attacker was someone she knew. Each of them has a different theory of what could have happened to Ally.
"The person who did this, they crossed paths, and something was said. That person got upset, went home and got a shotgun and came back because who would ride around with a shotgun? Yes there's people that do, but, like, it doesn't make any sense. So again, to me, it could be someone in the neighborhood or close by," Franz said.
Nikki Brueger believes someone tried to kidnap Ally.
"Because she was so small, she looked really young. She was 31 but she looked like she was 17. When she ran, she looked like a kid and I think someone tried to abduct her by gunpoint," Nikki Brueger said. "I know for a fact she would never have gotten in anyone's car ever because these are things we talked about."
Nikki Brueger said her daughter had to be running away or running for help because she was up on someone's property and she never ran on people's property.
The Bruegers want the public to share what they know and what they might have seen on July 30, 2016. They want people to come forward even if they think the information is insignificant, because it might not be to investigators.
"We're looking for help. I mean, it's been a year now, and it's, you know, you're afraid of what happened if this is forever an unsolved case, you know. You go to your grave without knowing anything, you know. That's the hardest part," Franz Brueger said.
People can call in tips to 800-SPEAKUP (800-773-2587), which is the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline. The Crime Stoppers reward for information that leads to an arrest is $8,500.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering an additional $5,000 reward. The public can also call in tips to the Michigan State Police tip line at 855-MICH-TIP (855-642-4847)
The Bruegers chose the VFW Post 5587 to speak with Local 4, drawing strength from the veterans who have stood by them through this. The post even donated $1,000 to the reward to find Brueger's killer.
"They volunteered to stand behind us today as support," Nikki Brueger said.
"As a Vietnam veteran, those are my brothers," Franz Brueger said. "There is a brotherhood that only somebody that was in the war could understand. They are so supportive."
Nikki Brueger brought a onesie and baby socks she purchased while on a shopping trip with Ally. She found it a couple of weeks ago and it is another sad reminder of their loss and the future their daughter will not have.
The Bruegers are also upset that Ally was unable to donate her organs. They said she was an organ donor and, for them, it would be a way in which she was still living, helping someone else.
Nikki Brueger encourages everyone to hang a pair of running shoes in front of their home. Pairs of running shoes now hang in their yard and can be spotted on roadsides in the Holly community.
"I'm doing this to promote awareness of the violence and sexual harassment perpetrated on women and girls that run and walk," Nikki Brueger said.
They hope other people will also hang running shoes to promote awareness of violence against women.