Arrest of husband only deepens the mystery
When David Brossard was charged Sept. 10 with killing his wife and dumping her body in Geneva Lake more than a decade ago, the mystery surrounding the case only deepened.
The story has made headlines in local newspapers ever since Dawn Brossard failed to arrive at the Burlington bank where she worked in 1997. The latest chapter now is playing out in Walworth County Circuit Court, where Judge James Carlson ordered David Brossard held on $500,000 bond.
David Brossard is the last person known to have seen his wife alive, according to the criminal complaint filed by Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss.
Dawn and David Brossard were seen talking to each other shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, 1997, in the parking lot of State Financial Bank in Burlington, where Dawn worked. David said he last saw Dawn walking toward her car before he drove home; but Dawn's car was in the parking lot the next morning, and she never arrived for work.
The search for Dawn widened quickly, and early on, authorities had suspicions that her body might be found in a lake.
Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities searched Powers Lake, on the Walworth County and Kenosha County border, but came up with nothing. With few new leads, the case eventually was put on the back burner, until Dawn's body was found July 11, 2003 off Conference Point, near Williams Bay.
What had been a missing person case quickly became a homicide investigation.
Although news reports regularly have identified the men who found Dawn's body as recreational divers, the two hardly were novices. One of the divers, Brad Friend, was an off-duty Racine County Sheriff's deputy. His partner that day, Jon Albrecht, also was in law enforcement and had significant dive training. Albrecht now is a Walworth County Sheriff's Department deputy.
Given that authorities had suspicions that Dawn might be in a lake somewhere, was it simply coincidence that her body was found by two divers who also were in law enforcement?
Walworth County Sheriff David Graves says yes, that the discovery was pure luck. The area is popular with divers because it is one of the deepest parts of the lake. But chances are Friend knew right away what he was looking at when he came across Dawn's body 117 feet below the surface.
Friend reported his discovery to Walworth County authorities, who, according to the criminal complaint, asked Albrecht and him to retrieve the body because of the duo's diving experience.
Dawn's body was bound with chains, and a later search found two cement blocks with chains attached. The chains and cement block appear to be one of the central keys to the prosecution's case.
David had been the head mechanic at a marine business once owned by his brother. When deputies searched the facility in 2005, they observed pontoon boats set on cement blocks similar to the ones found near Dawn's body. They also found a chain similar to the ones found with Dawn's body, according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators also found a hex bolt stamped with three lines and the letters "JH" on the head. The bolts attached to Dawn's body had the same markings.
To some, the arrest of David Brossard solves the case. But this isn't the type of open-and-shut case that prosecutors love to bring before a jury.
David's attorney, Charles Blumenfield, called the case against his client weak and circumstantial. There is no physical evidence, Blumenfield said, and nothing to tie his client to the crime.
David Brossard is expected back in court Sept. 24 for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send Brossard to trial.
Although David Brossard's arrest was just another surprise development in this 11-year-old case, the latest chapter has yet to be written.