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Police: Arrested man lived off victims

August 12, 2008 12:52:12 PM PDT
Riverside County authorities believe they've solved a 2-and-a-half-month-old mystery. An elderly man vanished and a suspect was photographed at ATMs using his credit cards.Investigators believe the elderly man is dead. A suspect in the case is being held in Murrieta.

The kidnapping, identity-theft and now murder suspect is behind bars in Murrieta. The suspect's name is Thomas Jeffrey Brooks, and not only will he be charged with the murder of missing man Edward Andrews, but police believe there might be other victims, other murder victims, out there too.

Two and a half months after Hemet resident Edward Andrews disappeared, police finally think they know what might have happened. They think Thomas Jeffrey Brooks befriended him, stole his identity, and used his ATM card to steal more than $130,000 in cash and merchandise. Andrews has not been found, but after arresting the suspect this weekend at a San Diego apartment, police are now charging Brooks with Andrews' murder.

They also say they found computers allegedly used to make fake IDs and credit cards using a number of other identities, people police think also might be ID-theft and/or murder victims.

"I hate him," said Nancy Graham, Andrews' neighbor. "I'd like to see him burn."

Nancy Graham was one of the victim's neighbors in a Hemet mobile-home park. She might also be one of the last people to see him alive. Back on May 30, 2008, Graham saw Andrews drop the suspect off at his house.

"I saw the white car drop Jeffrey off at Ed's house about 7:30 in the morning," said Graham. "Ed doesn't wake up until 10 or 11. So when I came home, I called him and I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, yes, didn't say anything, but right then, Jeffrey knew that I had seen him go in the house. So that's why I got the letter three days later."

She's talking about a letter that police say the suspect wrote, impersonating the victim to throw detectives off the chase, but Graham said she didn't buy it.

"It scared me, because it was printed, and my name was wrong on the envelope and in the letter," said Graham.

Eyewitness News also spoke with Edward Andrews' daughter Monday. She did not want to talk on camera.

Her husband, John Runions, did talk about the suspect. "Just glad that he's been captured, and hope he gets what's coming to him, and he stays there for a long time," said Runions.

If you have any information that might help detectives, you're asked to call the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept., Hemet Station, at (951) 791-3717.

Brooks is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. Even though the authorities say they haven't found a body, Brooks will still be charged with murder.

 

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