Man Admits He Killed Girlfriend Missing For 7 Years, Leads Cops To Remains In Lake
“The person who was supposed to look out for her hurt her,” says the sister of 19-year-old victim Danice Day, a mother of two.
Friends and family of a 19-year-old woman who vanished without a trace in 2002 had to wait seven years before her killer admitted he was guilty of murder and finally brought to justice.
Danice Lea Day was last seen alive on the afternoon of Jan. 9, 2002, when she was leaving her waitressing job at Dos Rios restaurant in Monte Vista, Colorado.
Day returned to her home, where she lived with her boyfriend, Victor Braun, their daughter, Kaylie, and her son from a previous relationship, Joshua.
According to reports, Day allegedly told Braun, then 26, she was planning to go out with a male friend that evening and the two got into an argument.
Day disappeared, leaving behind her personal possessions, including a wallet, keys and phone, and her family reported her missing three days later.
Before the teenager vanished, family said, she had turned her life around after a troubled past, and she was planning to leave Braun and move out of the home they shared.
Authorities got a break in the case when Braun was arrested in 2009 and faced charges related to burglary, drugs and motor vehicle theft.
While incarcerated at the Rio Grande jail, he agreed to a plea deal that allowed him to admit guilt to reckless manslaughter in connection to Day’s death in exchange for telling investigators the location of his girlfriend’s body.
That June, the dive team found charred bones in a welded-shut oil barrel at the bottom of Lyman Lake in Arizona — around 400 miles from where Day was last seen. DNA analysis confirmed the remains belonged to Day.
Forensic pathologist Leon Kelly testified in court that the nearly 1000 bone fragments and femur found in the barrel revealed “the extent to which the perpetrator went to disfigure the body.”
At sentencing, defense attorney David Jones asked for a mid-range sentence, citing Braun’s alleged crack addiction and other extenuating circumstances.
The judge, however, sentenced Braun to the maximum punishment allowed by law for the manslaughter charge — 12 years behind bars, a $1,000 fine, and three years of mandatory parole, the Monte Vista Journal reported.
The judge called Braun’s deal a “bargaining chip” prosecutors offered only as the result of the “years of non-closure” for Day’s family.
In a victim impact statement, Jacqui Flint noted her younger sister was “my best friend, a big part of my life.”
“I tried to watch out for her, but I couldn’t. The person who was supposed to look out for her hurt her,” Flint told the court. “I can’t comprehend how you could hurt someone like that… Her kids don’t have a mom. They’ve lost their mom and a lot of their father… It’s incomprehensible. It’s just not fair.”
“Think of her legacy through her children,” the judge reminded Day’s loved ones. “When they smile, you will see her smile; when they hug you, she will be hugging you.”
You can watch this episode of “Disappeared” titled “Daddy’s Girl” on discovery+.
The official Disappeared podcast from ID, dives into stories of missing people and the chilling details of their disappearances. On every episode, you’ll hear direct audio from episodes of the hit TV series Disappeared — and now, you can uncover the mystery while you’re on the go.