What Happened to Angela Brosso & Melanie Bernas? 2024 Update & Background

Angela Brosso: A Life Cut Short

Angela Brosso was a vibrant young woman born in 1970. At the time of her death in 1992, she was a 22-year-old Phoenix resident known for her zest for life and promising future. Angela had recently moved to Phoenix from California to pursue her career and was working as a computer graphics artist. Described by friends and family as kind-hearted and ambitious, Angela had a love for adventure and the outdoors, often taking evening bike rides along the Arizona Canal.

On November 8, 1992, Angela embarked on one of her routine bike rides to celebrate her upcoming 22nd birthday. Tragically, she never returned home. The next day, her decapitated body was found near the canal, sending shockwaves through the community. Eleven days later, her head was discovered in the canal, leading investigators to believe the killer kept it before disposing of it. The brutal nature of her murder left her family and friends devastated and sparked a widespread investigation.

Melanie Bernas: A Promising Young Life

Melanie Bernas was born in 1976 and was a high school junior at the time of her death in 1993. Known for her academic excellence and active involvement in school activities, Melanie had dreams of pursuing higher education and contributing positively to society. She was an active member of her community and loved spending time outdoors, much like Angela Brosso.

On the evening of September 21, 1993, Melanie went for a bike ride along the Arizona Canal, a familiar and seemingly safe route. When she failed to return home, her mother reported her missing. The next morning, Melanie’s body was found floating in the canal, with signs of sexual assault and stabbing. Her murder, occurring just ten months after Angela Brosso’s, shared striking similarities, leading investigators to link the two cases through identical DNA evidence found on both victims.

The Investigation and Breakthrough

The murders of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas remained unsolved for over two decades, despite extensive investigations. The identical DNA evidence found on both victims provided a crucial link, but no matches in existing databases left investigators stymied. The cases became known as the “Canal Murders,” haunting the Phoenix community and law enforcement alike.

In late 2014, a breakthrough came through advancements in forensic technology. Forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick used public genealogy databases to identify potential suspects through familial DNA matches. This innovative approach led investigators to Bryan Patrick Miller, a man with a juvenile record for a violent stabbing. After obtaining Miller’s DNA through a sting operation, it matched the evidence from the crime scenes, leading to his arrest in January 2015.

The Arrest and Trial of Bryan Patrick Miller

Bryan Patrick Miller, who had adopted the persona of the “Zombie Hunter,” was arrested and charged with the murders of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas in January 2015. His trial began in October 2022, nearly eight years after his arrest. Miller’s defense team argued that he was not guilty by reason of insanity, citing severe mental health issues stemming from childhood abuse. Despite these claims, the overwhelming DNA evidence and Miller’s violent history led to his conviction.

In June 2023, Judge Suzanne Cohen found Miller guilty of both murders and sentenced him to death. The conviction provided some measure of closure to the families of Angela and Melanie, though the pain of their loss remains. Miller’s case is automatically appealed under Arizona law, but he currently resides on death row at the Eyman Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona.

Legacy and Impact

The brutal murders of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas left an indelible mark on their families, friends, and the Phoenix community. Their cases highlighted the importance of advancements in forensic science and the persistence of law enforcement in solving cold cases. The conviction of Bryan Patrick Miller brought justice for Angela and Melanie, serving as a reminder of the resilience and dedication required to bring closure to such tragic events.

As the families of Angela and Melanie continue to grieve, their lives and legacies endure. The resolution of the Canal Murders underscores the critical role of modern technology in criminal investigations and the unwavering commitment of those seeking justice for victims.


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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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