Real Name: Brook Elizabeth Baker
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Vincennes, Indiana
Date: September 7, 1997
Details: Nineteen-year-old Brook Baker was a journalism major and sophomore at Vincennes University in Indiana who was found on her bed brutally raped and stabbed in her off-campus apartment on September 7, 1997, with water oddly running from the bathtub faucet. As investigators began looking into the case, they discovered three possible theories as to who would kill her.
The first theory involved her involvement in journalism at Vincennes In spring 1997, she was investigating an alleged date rape that occurred at a local fraternity. However, its members disliked her investigation and threatened her verbally and with emails. She was unfazed, but her mother, Janet Baker, was concerned about her safety. A few weeks before she was killed, she was at a friend's house when a truck full of frat brothers arrived and threatened her. In order to feel safer, she moved to a new apartment off-campus in which the landlord was a campus police officer.
The second theory was that the landlord was responsible. Brook told her friends and family that he would come into the apartment unannounced at various times. One night, while she was sleeping, he shone a light inside. On another night, he came in while she was taking a shower. Investigators believed that he may have let himself in on the night of the murder, they had a confrontation, and she was killed as a result.
A third possible theory involving Brook's death was that a person posing as a potential roommate killed her. Just days before she was killed, she had placed an ad in the campus newspaper for a roommate for her apartment. Investigators believe that her killer may have read it, went there, claiming to be answering it, then came in and killed her. This is supported by the fact that there was no evidence of forced entry in the apartment.
Meanwhile, investigators began looking into the physical evidence they had in the case, and tested DNA samples found on Brook with more than fifty suspects, but none of them matched. More recently, investigators have been looking to question her cousin about the case. She had been staying with her, but moved to California one week before her murder. She has reportedly been unwilling to answer any questions from investigators. It is unknown what information she may have on the case. Brook's parents, along with other family and friends, are hoping for answers in this case.
Suspects: Investigators suspected the frat brothers where an alleged date rape occurred that Brook was investigating were involved in her murder. Another possible suspect was her bizarre landlord. They also looked into the possibility that her killer posed as a potential roommate, answering her newspaper ad.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the April 2, 1999 episode. It was also profiled on Motives & Murders: Cracking the Case and Six Degrees of Murder.
Results: Solved. On July 5, 1999, investigators searched the apartment of missing Vincennes college student Erika Norman, and were shocked to discover a nearly identical crime scene to Brook's, including water running from the bathtub faucet. However, her body was not found in her apartment. A man named Brian Jones was soon brought in for questioning after investigators learned that she was last seen alive with him. After interviewing him, investigators learned that he was a roommate of a man who was dating Brook before her murder. He gave the police a DNA sample and it was found to have conclusively matched that found on her body. He was then arrested and charged with her murder.
When Erika's body was found two weeks later, he pleaded guilty to her murder, and in exchange the death penalty could not be used at Brook's trial. On December 14, 2000, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Brook and Erika's murders. Sadly, Brook's mother, Janet Baker, passed away in 2004.
- `If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere'
- Student's Murder A Year Ago Raises Campus Safety Concerns
- Indiana man pleads guilty in strangling of student
- Vincennes man sentenced to life in jail
- Brook Baker on Find a Grave