Content warning: the following article contains mention of crimes that some readers might find shocking.
On July 17, 2014, police chased a wanted man named Brady Oestrike through the streets of Wyoming, Michigan, in a heated car chase. At the end of the line, Oestrike crashed his vehicle off the side of the road and claimed his own life rather than face the police.
When police checked Oestrike’s vehicle, the discovery they made shocked the town of Wyoming and cemented the crime as one of the most chilling incidents in Michigan’s history.
Brady Oestrike had a fascination with power. His friends and family members mentioned this when interviewed after the 31-year-old’s death. Months before the crimes that would lead to the end of Oestrike’s life, he met a woman on Craigslist and kept her chained up in his basement. The arrangement was initially meant to be consensual, with the woman agreeing to what she thought was some form of roleplaying.
When it became clear that she was trapped, however, she began to fear for her life. She would later report to police that the man was vicious toward her, often abusing her and leaving her chained up when he went to work. When she finally managed to break free, she told police about the incident, saying that Oestrike had beaten her. She declined to press charges, however, leaving police unable to pursue the matter any further.
Oestrike would later encounter Brooke Slocum, an 18-year-old woman, on Craigslist, and arrange to meet her and a boyfriend in a nearby park. The purpose for their meeting was to be for an illicit transaction, so Slocum wanted her boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer, 25, to accompany her. Slocum was several months pregnant when she met Oestrike.
Upon meeting the two in the woods near Gezon Park on July 12, 2014, Oestrike committed a brutal and cold-blooded act of violence: he slew Oppenneer and dumped the remains in the woods. He then took Slocum captive and chained her up in his basement much as he’d done once before.
While investigating the disappearance of Slocum and Oppenneer, Wyoming police were able to zero in on Oestrike through his Craigslist correspondence with the couple. When they surrounded his home, Oestrike panicked and fled in his vehicle. After crashing and claiming his own life with a pistol he was carrying with him, Oestrike left behind one last horrible discovery for the police.
Upon searching the trunk of his vehicle, police found a suitcase. Within, they discovered the remains of Brooke Slocum, who Oestrike murdered upon discovering that police were closing in on him. “I think it was pure evil from start to finish,” Police Chief James Carmody would later remark of the case.