Unsolved 1982 Murder Of Local Teenager Still Haunts Former Investigator

Beth Bramlett (Courtesy photo)
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AXTELL (August 9, 2012)--Thirty years ago Friday Beth Bramlett, a 17-year-old Axtell High School student, was found shot to death in her hometown and to this day no one has been charged with her murder.

McLennan County sheriff's Capt. Kenneth Vanek said it's been years since any new evidence has surfaced, but the case remains open and he says he is hopeful someday her killer will be brought to justice.

A fisherman found Bramlett's body at mid-afternoon on Tuesday Aug. 10, 1982, lying next to abandoned railroad tracks in Axtell that since have been pulled up and scrapped, Vanek said.

Experts at the time estimated Bramlett had been dead for about two days.

She had been shot three times with a .22-caliber firearm, at least once in the head.

Bramlett’s mother Gail last saw her daughter at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday Aug. 8, 1982, Vanek said.

After she learned deputies had found a body on Aug. 10, she reported Beth missing the next day, Vanek said.

Vanek said two men were arrested at the time but after investigation charges were dismissed against both.

A retired sheriff's office investigator who worked on the murder said it’s a case that still haunts him.

The detective, who agreed to speak with News 10 on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday he knows who killed Bramlett, he just can't prove it.

"We (detectives) went back to the place where her body was found sometime later because I knew the bullet that killed her passed through her head," he said.

"It took us a little while to dig and screen the dirt around where her head laid, but I found one of the .22-caliber bullets that killed her right there in the dirt."

Vanek said evidence in the case still exists but he wouldn't go into details about what that evidence might be.