Brooke Slocum, an 18-year-old pregnant woman, and her 25-year-old boyfriend, Charlie Oppenneer, were brutally murdered in Michigan after they allegedly arranged to meet a stranger for paid sex on Craigslist.
Police investigating the murders in Wyoming, Mich., a suburb of Grand Rapids, said the teenager's body was found strangled in the trunk of the suspect's car on Thursday, July 17. She was eight months pregnant.
Oppenneer's decapitated body had been discovered a day earlier in the park where the victims had reportedly arranged to meet the suspect, 31-year-old Brady Oestrike. Police are unclear about the trauma injury that killed Oppenneer because they have been unable to locate his head which was removed by the suspect.
The suspect, Brady Oestrike, met the couple through an ad Slocum posted on Craigslist offering to have paid sex in the presence of her boyfriend, according to emails obtained by the police. Oestrike fatally shot himself after a police chase.
Oestrike allegedly held Slocum captive for five days at his home in Wyoming. She had been reported missing on July 12. After Oppenneer's body was found in the park, police were sent to Oestrike's house. While fleeing from the police, Oestrike crashed his car and then fatally shot himself. It was then that Slocum's body was found in the trunk of his car.
Police officers recovered at least 400 items from Oestrike's home, including firearms, ammunition, knives, and electronic monitoring devices, as well as items belonging to the two victims, in what was described as a "hellish environment."
Oestrike had a criminal history that included two domestic assault complaints filed by his ex-girlfriend in May and June. She was found to be alive and well.
The police, assisted by the FBI, are now investigating if there are other possible victims of Oestrike.
Slocum's family expressed their grief over the death of the teenager and her unborn daughter, Audi, and spoke about her "mistakes" in the online world.
"First and foremost we want to express our extreme love for Brooke... and Audi (Slocum's unborn daughter), the truly innocent creation that was already so loved," said Rod Knepper, Slocum's great-uncle, at the family's press conference. "We have no doubt that they are now dancing with Jesus."
He also spoke about Slocum's "previous mistakes within the world that is online, including those that led to her involvement (with Charles Oppenneer) in this situation."
"But God gave each of us free will, and that is something that no one can control," said Knepper. "The secret part of Brooke's life that none of us knew about is a testament to that."
The family said they wanted others to be aware of the dangers that could affect children on the internet. They also blamed Michigan's "disturbing and unfathomable laws" that determine 17 as the age of adulthood, saying this prevented them from keeping Slocum at home.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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