Brandi Mathews: A story of domestic violence, drugs, murder
The Victim (Above): Brandi June Mathews disappeared in September 2006. Her remains were found in a creek just north of Eldon, Mo., in January 2009.
Accused of Murder: Kelly R. Simino, 43, of Eldon, Mo., was charged the week of Jan. 3, 2011, with second-degree murder.

An Eldon man is in custody and murder charges filed in the 2006 disappearance and death of Brandi June Mathews. The details about what transpired before Matthews' disappearance, her death, and the investigation are, at times, disturbing.

Investigators announced Friday that Kelly R. Simino, 43, is being held on a $500,000 bond on one count of second-degree murder. The announcement of Simino’s arrest came nearly two years to the day after Mathews’ remains were found in a creek just north of Eldon in January 2009.

Mathews’ family called the news bittersweet.

“We are all happy to know that he is off the streets and cannot harm anyone else,” Deanna Roberts, Mathews’ mother said Friday.

“When we were told of his arrest and the charges, it was like going through all of this all over again,” Roberts said. “We miss Brandi so much. It’s really been like a roller coaster. I’ve been crying part of the day and relieved the other part of the day.”

Roberts said she realizes the fight for justice for her daughter is far from the end.

“We know it’s not near over at this point,” she said. “We are only half-way there but we will never, ever give up. Brandi deserves justice and we will see this all the way to the end.”

According to the probable cause statement obtained from the Miller County Courthouse, Mathews reported at least six domestic assaults involving Simino from January through August of 2006 across several law enforcement jurisdictions. During that time period, she was given an ex parte order of protection and assisted investigators from several local law enforcement agencies in collecting information against Simino for drug-related crimes. Brandi requested the order of protection in August 2006 in Pettis County, only one month before she was last seen alive.

The probable cause statement — released Jan. 7, 2011, after murder charges were filed against Simino — outlines information obtained from a minimum of three separate witnesses.

Investigators interviewed a witness in December of 2008 that stated Simino made an unsolicited visit to his/her residence in either September or October of 2006 during which he appeared to be “very emotional.” The witness alleges that Simino stated, “He killed Brandi Mathews by choking her or breaking her neck.”

The probable cause statement cites another witness who told investigators that sometime during the summer of 2008, Simino told the witness, “He accidently broke Brandi Mathews’ neck killing her.”

Two additional witnesses were interviewed by investigators, according to the probable cause statement.

One witness reported that Simino stated, “If he could kill ‘that bitch’ and get away with it she would have done been dead.” This statement is alleged to have been made after Simino was served with an ex parte order after Matthews worked with local law enforcement to have him arrested on drug charges in 2006.

Perhaps the most condemning information, an eyewitness reported witnessing an assault in autumn of 2006 that occurred on Salem Road in Miller County, Mo., near the Salem Bridge, just a short distance upstream from where Brandi’s remains were located.

The witness told investigators he noticed a male and a female fighting. The male appeared to be choking the female. The witness also stated the woman broke out of the male’s grasp and ran to the side of a black car. The witness told investigators he recognized Mathews to be the female after seeing her photograph in the news in summer 2008. The witness later identified the male as Simino through a photo lineup.

According to the probable cause statement, the earlier last known sighting of Mathews had been approximately Sept. 22 or 23, 2006, at a residence on Scrivner Road, near Eldon, where Matthews was known at one time to have lived with Simino.

Roberts said she last spoke with her daughter in September 2006 and after a few days with no contact she became worried that something had happened to her.

Despite numerous attempts to file a missing person report with police to search for her daughter, Roberts was sent away from multiple law enforcement agencies for more than 18 months.

“They (law enforcement) kept telling me that Brandi was an adult and that she had the right to run away. But, I knew in my heart that Brandi did not run away, she would never have done that to her family or her son,” Roberts said.

Finally, in spring of 2008, detectives Tracy Robinett found Roberts sobbing near wits end in the lobby of the Osage Beach Department of Public Safety.

“They (Osage Beach investigators) were the angels I had been asking God to send me,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for their compassion, I don’t know where this case would be today.”

Roberts laid out all the information she had to prove her daughter did not run away and insisted Mathews had been a victim of foul play.

“I called every person I could that I knew Brandi and Kelly associated with,” Roberts said. “It was like running into one road block after another and none of her friends could say they had talked to her or seen her after September of 2006.”

In March 2008, Roberts was successful in getting an official missing person report with the City of Osage Beach.

Detectives Tracy Robinett and Sgt. Terry Deffenbaugh released Mathews’ photo and details of her disappearance to local media in June 2008.

Simino had been placed on probation in January 2008 after he pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. On Feb. 19, 2009, Miller County Circuit Court Judge Stan Moore revoked the felony probation and Simino returned to prison. At that time the Miller County assistant prosecutor described Simino as a danger to society.

Simino was scheduled for release the week of Jan. 3, 2011, when the Miller County Prosecutor Matt Howard filed second-degree murder charges.

Simino is scheduled to appear in Miller County Associate Circuit Court on Jan. 10 for arraignment.

Four Years of Brandi Mathews investigation coverage by LakeExpo.com

Osage Beach Police call on public for information about missing woman

MISSING WOMAN: Mother says Brandi Mathews helped law enforcement in attempt to escape abusive boyfriend

Eldon remains identified as Brandi Mathews

Heartbroken mother copes with closure

Prosecutor calls dead woman’s ex-boyfriend a danger to society

Reach this reporter at ravaeedwards@yahoo.com