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. She was ambitious and hoped to one day become a top-flight journalist. Tragically, on September 7, 1997, she was found dead in her bed in her off-campus apartment. She had been brutally raped and stabbed to death. Although there were no signs of forced entry, there was evidence of a violent struggle between her and her assailant. Oddly, the water was still 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 participation in journalism at Vincennes. At Vincennes, she became very active with the school paper. In spring 1997, she was investigating an alleged date rape that occurred at a local fraternity. She interviewed several women who had run-ins with the fraternity members. However, the members disliked her investigation into the case. They threatened her verbally and with emails.
Brook was unfazed, but her mother Janet Baker was concerned about her safety. She responded that she was writing the story to keep others from becoming victims. 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. She told multiple people that she was uncomfortable about the situation. 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 the ad and went there, claiming to be a potential roommate. They believe that she then let him in and he killed her. This theory 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. They 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 Brook, but moved to California one week before the murder. She has reportedly been unwilling to answer any questions from investigators. It is not known 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. However, none of the theories could be confirmed.
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 semen found on her body and DNA under her fingernails. 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. At trial, it also came out that on the day after the murder, Jones had been seen with scratches on his face. Also, shortly before the murder, he rented a movie about stabbing a girl to death and washing the knife in a sink. 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.
- Brook Baker on Unsolved Archive
- `If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere'
- Student's Murder A Year Ago Raises Campus Safety Concerns
- Unsolved... (Kokomo Tribune)
- A life forever changed by rumors
- Indiana man pleads guilty in strangling of student
- Vincennes man sentenced to life in jail
- Jones v. State (2002)
- Two Indiana Murder Cases Get National Attention
- Brook Baker on Find a Grave