Husband named key suspect in murder of Stephanie Roller Bruner
summit daily news
Dale Bruner is the key suspect in the investigation into the murder of his wife, Stephanie Roller Bruner, a Silverthorne mother of three killed near her home in late November, according to a statement released by Silverthorne police Wednesday.
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert filed a motion Wednesday to call a grand jury to investigate the case.
“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.
Stephanie Roller Bruner’s three young children are not currently living with Dale Bruner, a Silverthorne photographer.
Bruner’s attorney Robert Bernhardt said Bruner gave the children up to Social Services voluntarily for 30 days while the investigation was pending. He said Bruner has had “extensive contact” with the children and expects to be reunited with them by Friday.
When asked if Bruner would testify in his own defense, Bernhardt said he had advised Bruner to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent and that he did not expect that advice to change.
The petition for a grand jury was made to Judge Thomas Moorhead just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The judge will likely take a few weeks to decide whether to call a grand jury, Hurlbert said.
If a 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.
Police up until now have been quiet on the details of the investigation, and apparently frustrated by a lack of evidence with which to make an arrest.
Bruner declined to talk to the Summit Daily and asked that questions be directed to his attorney.
“Frankly I’m not at all surprised,” Bernhardt said of Wednesday’s announcement that Bruner is a key suspect. “The Silverthorne Police Department … confronted Dale and identified him as a suspect in the first few hours that this investigation had been going on without any knowledge or understanding of what had happened.”
Bernhardt, a private defense attorney in Golden, said he did not know what evidence the police had that led them to suspect Bruner.
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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