Grand jury to examine Roller Bruner homicide |

Grand jury to examine Roller Bruner homicide

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Stephanie Roller Bruner

A grand jury will be called to investigate the murder of Stephanie Roller Bruner, a Silverthorne mother of three killed near her home in late November.

Chief Judge Thomas Moorhead signed a motion filed by 5th Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert Jan. 5 to convene a grand jury on the case, in which Silverthorne police say Roller Bruner’s husband, Dale Bruner, is the key suspect.

Court officials would not release any other details on the grand jury petition or the file, citing rules requiring secrecy. It is unclear at this point when the jury will begin meeting.

Once the grand jury is convened, between 12 and 23 jurors will hear testimony, review evidence and ultimately, have the power to indict a suspect – or determine there is not enough evidence to do so.

“A great deal of investigative work has been done to date, leading us to move forward with the grand jury route,” Silverthorne Police Chief Mark Hanschmidt said in the statement following the initial motion in January.

The grand jury will meet regularly for up to 18 months while investigating the case.

“The grand jury is an investigative body,” Hurlbert told the SDN in January. “At the end of it all, the grand jury gets to decide whether they’re charging (someone) with a crime.”

If the grand jury does bring charges against Bruner or any other suspect, Hurlbert will prosecute the case in a trial.

Hurlbert said in his time as DA the district has only called a grand jury once before. The process is normally reserved for cases of great public interest, he said.

Dale Bruner reported Roller Bruner, 41, missing from their Silverthorne home Nov. 23, saying she went out for a walk the night before and never came home. Her body was discovered in the Blue River Nov. 26. Preliminary autopsy results showed that blunt force trauma and drowning were contributing factors in Roller Bruner’s death.

Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson confirmed that the preliminary autopsy revealed another “significant finding” that has not been made public.

Results of a more extensive autopsy by a state forensic pathologist are expected soon, Richardson said.

Court records show Dale Bruner and Stephanie Roller Bruner were facing marital problems in the weeks leading up to her death.

Roller Bruner was issued a temporary restraining order against her husband in October. The restraining order was revoked a few weeks later at the request of both Stephanie Roller Bruner and Dale Bruner.

Roller Bruner filed for divorce on Nov. 1.

The couple had been married for 11 years.

Roller Bruner lost her job with the county in a wave of layoffs on Oct. 13. Reports suggest she found another job in the weeks before her death.

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