​Trucker Named As 1990 Murder Suspect In Wisconsin

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April 9, 2014

A trucker has been named as the 1990 murder suspect of Berit Beck in Wisconsin. Dennis J. Brantner, 60, was named in search warrants related to the 18-year-old slaying.

Investigators said newly analyzed evidence suggests the Kenosha man was in Beck’s van.

Trucker Named Dennis J. Brantner

The primary suspect in the case is 60-year-old Dennis J. Brantner and investigators have filed warrants related to the collection of evidence.

The new evidence, which includes an analysis of photographs of Brantner’s hands, is the best to emerge from the 23-year-old case, Fink said.

Fink said that Brantner was an over-the-road trucker who lived in the Brandon area at the time of the murder. While there have been other people of interest in the case, this is the first time Brantner’s name surfaced. He is not in custody.

1990 Murder Suspect In Forensic Evidence

Wisconsin police obtained photographs of the 1990 murder suspect’s hands to help state crime lab analysts process the evidence. Investigators said there is forensic evidence that puts the trucker inside the gray GMC van that Beck was driving when she vanished.

“It’s the strongest physical evidence we have to date,” Fond du Lac Sheriff Mick Fink said at a news conference that raised more questions than it answered. “We have someone here that we’re very interested in and we need the public’s help.”

Fink then hinted that there were more than two suspects named.

“We’re gonna go forward and I hope there’s going to be a charge. I hope he’s going to be arrested,” Fink added. Further muddying the water, Fink later said without elaboration: “He’s not the only the suspect at this point.”

18-year-old Beck of Sturtevant disappeared in Fond du Lac in July 1990. Beck left her home headed for Appleton on July 17th for a computer training class. She never made it there. Beck’s van was found in a Fond du Lac parking lot two days later.

Approximately five-and-a-half weeks later, her body was found in rural Fond du Lac County.