Brandi Mathews death investigation ends

Deana Roberts and mother at Mathew's memorial garden.

She worked as an erotic dancer when she disappeared in 2006. Three years later, hikers found the skeletal remains of Brandi Mathews under a bridge in rural Miller County.

Now, the sheriff's department says it's solved the case but won't say who they think the killer is, leaving Mathews' mother waiting for answers.

Deana Roberts often visits the place in Eldon where her daughter's remains were found in January. But this visit is different because she may soon have justice.

I know it's not gonna bring Brandi back," said Roberts, "but it will keep whoever off the streets from doing this to someone else's daughter.

"We have a thorough investigation, says Sheriff Bill Abbott. He says investigators have turned their evidence over to the Miller County prosecutor. While the prosecutor decides to if charges can be filed, Sheriff Abbot stays tight lipped on who he thinks did it.

However, the sheriff told KRCG News back in January that a break in the case could come soon. At the time he said the only "person of interest" was Mathews' former boyfriend Kelly Simino, 41, who coincidentally was arrested on an unrelated probation and parole warrant the same day the body of his ex-girlfriend was found.

That coincidence does not surprise those who knew Brandi well.

Tony Bradford told KRCG News back in January he believes he knows who killed then 22-year-old Mathews.

I'll go on camera and say this," said Bradford back in January. "There's absolutely no doubt on my mind that he [Simino] killed her."

Bradford owns "Flirt," an Osage Beach strip club. He says he knew Mathews well, from the year-and-a-half she spent dancing there under the name "Faith." It's a job she took to support her 18-month-old son.

Friends, and even Deana, says Brandi and Simino's relationship was abusive. Back in January, KRCG News uncovered a restraining order that Mathews filed against Simino just one month before she went missing. In it, she said she was afraid he would kill her.

We asked Brandi's mother if she thinks Kelly is responsible for the death of her daughter. I don't know, she says.


The ground is different at the scene where Brandi was found and so is the reality of Deana Roberts. She is now on the board of Missouri Missing to help other people who might find themselves in a situation similar to Brandi's.

Its really changed my life," said Roberts. "Because I have met so many people and there are so many young girls that need help that has nobody to go to."

Her counterparts at Missouri Missing say Roberts persistence kept law enforcement working the case.

"Its imperative the family cares, says Ra'vae Edwards, of Missouri Missing. Because if they don't care, then why would the law enforcement officers care?"

The Osage Beach Police Department is the authority that first took notice.

"She just came to us and told the story, says Osage Beach Police Det. Tracy Robinett. We just figured something needed to be done. At the time we didn't know it would involve such a big case.

Three years later, Deana's hope to have justice served, seems within reach. It's just a way to hold on to a piece of her.

As she waits for the prosecutor, Deana spends her days caring for Brandi's son and the memorial she created for her daughter.

Miller County Prosecutor Matt Howard tells KRCG News his office has received the law enforcement reports for review. But, he says, due to the volume of material and evidence in those reports - along with the number of serious cases his office has pending - he has asked for assistance from the attorney general's office.

The attorney general's office says they will help review the investigation and prosecute any charges in connection with the death of Brandi Mathews.

As for Kelly Simino, Howard did not rule him out as a suspect. Simino is currently at the Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center.