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Homicide detectives re-open 42-year-old case

Betty Sue Brazil's death in 1966 not a suicide, according to new evidence

Posted: March 20, 2009 7:35 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2009 4:43 p.m.
The unsolved crimes unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau has reopened an investigation into the death of a former Newhall resident 42 years ago.

On Sept. 2, 1966, Betty Sue Brazil was found deceased inside her vehicle in Lakewood. Brazil had suffered a single gunshot wound to her head. At the time, her death was ruled a suicide.

Homicide detectives and the L.A. County Coroner's office recently conducted a "thorough and exhaustive investigation," according to a Sheriff's Department news release, and determined Brazil's death was not a suicide.

In 2006, the Brazil family contacted the Sheriff's Department with new information regrading Brazil's death, and the department assigned a homicide detective to look further into the case.

Investigators interviewed a witness who held information for more than 40 years, according to the release. Based on the new information, detectives reopened the case.

The original investigator, Charles Vaughn, who retired several years ago, is providing information to current investigators.

The Coroner weighed the new evidence and agreed the cause of death should no longer be classified a suicide, according to the release.

Sheriff's officials ask anyone with information about Brazil's death to call Homicide Lt. Paul Becker at (323) 890-5500.


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