The former boyfriend of a Utah woman who was found shot to death Friday has confessed to killing her, according to police, and the suspect’s current girlfriend reportedly told investigators that she helped him hide the body.
The body of Brooklyn Tyree, 23, was found in a sleeping bag in the Five Mile Pass Recreation Area in Tooele County. On Monday, a medical examiner identified her remains and determined that Tyree had been fatally shot, according to a probable cause statement.
Brandon Zipperle, the 28-year-old father of Tyree’s 7-month-old son, was soon identified as a suspect.
On Thursday, Zipperle was charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder in connection with Tyree’s death, as well as two counts of obstructing justice and one count of possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court on Monday.
According to the probable cause statement, the Salt Lake City Police Department obtained video that showed Zipperle picking up Tyree and their baby from Tyree’s apartment on Tuesday, May 3. The clothing Tyree was wearing in the footage matched what she was wearing when her body was found, according to the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office.
“Locational data” from phones belonging to both Zipperle and his current girlfriend also showed that they were “in the area of Five Mile Pass” — where the victim’s body was found — on May 3.
‘An outgoing ray of sunshine’
Zipperle was taken into custody on Tuesday when he checked in with Adult Probation and Parole in Provo, then was taken to Tooele. When interviewed by investigators, he confessed to shooting Tyree, hiding her body, pawning the gun he used to kill her, and disposing of her personal belongings.
His current girlfriend admitted to police that she helped Zipperle hide Tyree’s body, pawn the gun and dispose of Tyree’s belongings, according to the probable cause statement.
The baby was in the custody of Zipperle and his girlfriend, according to police. The child has since been placed in the custody of Tyree’s family members.
Zipperle was booked into the Tooele County jail and is being held without bail. His current girlfriend was booked into jail for investigation of obstruction of justice.
According to a GoFundMe page created to “help raise money to get justice for Brooklyn,” Tyree was “an outgoing ray of sunshine.”
“No matter how much it seemed like she was struggling, she was the type of person to give you the clothes off her back,” the page states. “She was very passionate about so many things, whether it be sharing the love she had for her son or the work she was doing. ... She made everyone feel accepted and loved.”
Concerns raised about Tyree’s initial missing person case
Former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson — who identified himself as “a friend and personal advocate” for Tyree’s family — had a letter delivered to Mayor Erin Mendenhall and SLCPD Chief Mike Brown on Monday, demanding the firing of Brown and several officers.
Anderson demanded their firing because, when Tyree’s family reported her missing last week, he alleged the officers were “incredibly rude, indifferent, and dismissive” and refused to investigate, according to the letter.
In a statement, Mendenhall said: “Any accusations of misconduct leveled at our police department must be taken seriously, and I’ve directed that our independent Police Civilian Review Board review these allegations immediately, including any associated body-worn camera footage. The facts matter.”
According to Salt Lake City police, body camera footage from the case is not being released at this time because of the “active investigation,” and “no further information can be released.”
In a separate statement, SLCPD said it welcomed the independent investigation and will “fully cooperate” with the civilian review board to “ensure our investigation into the missing person’s case was professional, respectful, thorough, and in line with our community’s expectations.”
SLCPD also released a timeline indicating that when Tyree was reported missing at 5:11 p.m. last Thursday, “there was no information indicating a crime had been committed or that there was an immediate danger” to the 23-year-old or her child, so the call “was assigned as a Priority 3,” or a lower-priority call. A missing, at-risk person is assigned as a “Priority 1,” police said.
According to the timeline, Salt Lake City police contacted the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 8:30 p.m. that night. Sheriff’s deputies reported they had no information about Tyree and advised that there was not enough information to do an “attempt to locate.” Salt Lake City police reported that they contacted five hospitals, including one in Tooele, to see if Tyree had been admitted.
After meeting with family members at Tyree’s apartment that Thursday, SLCPD’s timeline indicates that there was no information that “met the department’s criteria for a missing persons entry in the National Crime Information Center.”
After meeting with Tyree’s relatives again on Friday, SLCPD contacted the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office again that day, and continued its investigation on Sunday and Monday, according to the timeline.
Tyree was listed as missing Monday on the NCIC after SLCPD obtained further information, police said — the same day the remains found Friday were identified as Tyree. At that time, her disappearance was considered “suspicious.”