Investigators with the Osage Beach Department of Public safety were honored Monday by the family of Brandi Mathews and Missouri Missing for outstanding work and dedication.
During the ceremony, Deanna Roberts, Mathews’ mother, read the plaque presented to the department and expressed her gratitude for the efforts of everyone involved in the investigation of her daughter’s disappearance and murder.
“Your performance is inspiring to families of the missing and murdered and your dedication has not gone unnoticed,” she read from the plaque.
Honored were Chief David Severson, Det. Sgt. Terry Deffenbaugh, Det. Tracy Robinett and Det. Kevin Friend.
“Everything that you did means the world to me and to Brandi,” Roberts said. “Each of you went above and beyond in working Brandi’s case and for that we will be forever thankful for each and every one of you.”
Missouri Missing has worked with Brandi’s family since her disappearance. The non-profit organization works with families across the state and while following Brandi’s case, the board was excited to see the work and dedication by the detectives with the Osage Beach Police Department.
“It’s not this way with very many cases that involve missing adults,” said Ra’Vae Edwards, executive director. “A lot of times families struggle to get any assistance from law enforcement and watching how your department handled Brandi’s case was more than inspiring for each of us and for families of the missing.”
In September 2006, Roberts lost contact with her daughter. For more than 18 months she attempted to file a missing person report with law enforcement agencies in the lake area.
Roberts said she was told by the Lincoln County (Arkansas) Sheriff’s Department, the Eldon Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department that they could not file the report because it was not their jurisdiction.
In March 2008, detectives with the Osage Beach Dept. of Public Safety filed the missing person report and opened an investigation.
In January 2009, Mathews’ remains were discovered in a creek just north of Eldon. The case was then under the jurisdiction of the Miller County Sheriff’s Department although the Osage Beach detectives were allowed to continue working the case.
Nearly two years to the day, Mathew’s former boyfriend, Kelly Simino, was charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
“It shouldn’t be this way. When a person goes missing and their family wants to file a missing person report, law enforcement is supposed to be the person they turn to,” said Peggy Florence, co-founder of Missouri Missing. “In so many of these cases, this is how it happens and valuable time is lost in finding our loved ones.”
Severson said the reason most people work in law enforcement is to uphold peace and protect those who need protection.
“That is how it is supposed to be,” he said.
Simino is scheduled to appear in court on April 11 for a preliminary hearing in Miller County.