(WWJ) – One of Monroe County’s most notorious crimes, the Chelsea Bruck murder will be highlighted in Friday night’s edition of “Dateline NBC: Missing in America” — an episode titled, “The Halloween Party.”
The 22-year-old disappeared from a massive Halloween bash early in the morning of Oct. 26, 2014, in rural Frenchtown Township, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit.
Network correspondent Keith Morrison, who interviewed some of the people involved, told WWJ Newsradio 950 it was a fascinating case to follow.
“The number of possible suspects was, you know, daunting for the investigators. The amount of work they had to do,” he said. “The remarkable and, you know, winning the lottery sort of unlikely finding of certain clues along the way just made it a very interesting story…The finding of Chelsea’s shoes, the finding of her costume, their ability of finally getting a DNA sample from the inside of her costume.”
Bruck’s Poison Ivy character Halloween costume was found at an industrial site, around six months after she went missing. Her remains were discovered a few weeks later — on April 24, 2015 — in a wooded lot on Briar Hill Road in Ash Township, about 12 miles away from the site of the party.
Following a massive search and an intensive investigation, 28-year-old Daniel Clay confessed to a role in Bruck’s death, but claimed she died accidentally during rough sex. Police said DNA taken from him while he was in jail in an unrelated theft case matched DNA found on Bruck’s costume.
An interesting aspect of the case, Morrison points out it was a change in Michigan law regarding DNA collection from felony suspects that helped detectives to close the case.
“That little gap had allowed the person, who was the prime suspect and the person eventually convicted in this case, to have avoided detection for quite some time,” Morrison said. “But when the change was made and the match came along it was a matter of very quick work to wrap it up.”
Clay was convicted of first degree murder earlier this year and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The two-hour program is scheduled to air October 27 at 9 p.m.on WDIV Channel 4.