Arrest made in Arizona in 1992 murder of West Shore woman
Phoenix, AZ (KNXV) — Phoenix police say they have made an arrest in two 20-year-old cold case homicides.
Authorities say 42-year-old Bryan Patrick Miller has been arrested in connection with the deaths of 17-year-old Melanie Bernas and 22-year-old Angela Brasso.
Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner said new DNA evidence collected by undercover officers linked Miller to the crimes committed in the early 1990s.
On Sunday, November 8, 1992, Angela Brasso left home to ride her bike and her decapitated body was later found in the field just east of her apartment complex near 23rd Avenue and Cactus Road.
Brasso was from Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County and moved to Arizona soon after graduating from high school.
On September 22, 1993, Melanie Bernas was also riding her bike when her murdered body was found near the Black Canyon Freeway and Thunderbird Road.
Police say both murders were linked to one suspect.
On Tuesday night, police arrested Miller at a rental home near 9th Street and Mountain View Road in Phoenix.
Air15 video showed investigators in the backyard of his home pouring through a shed and other items on his property.
Police say Miller lives at the home with his teenage daughter. Authorities are calling it a hoarding home due to the large amount of stuff inside. Officers say they expect to be on scene for days going through everything.
Authorities say after the murders were committed, Miller moved to Washington State, but later moved back to the Valley.
Authorities say Miller is being held on two counts of first degree murder in the girls’ deaths. Police say they are also looking into possible sexual abuse and kidnapping charges as well.
Police say Miller has not admitted any involvement in either case.
Miller’s name was on police radar, along with hundreds of other leads, since 1994. He was never connected to the murders at that time in the investigation. Sgt. Crump, a spokesman for the department, explained that detectives in cold cases constantly look through and revisit case files over the years looking for patterns or profiles.
Crump tells ABC15, Miller’s conviction as a juvenile for stabbing a woman at Paradise Valley Mall in 1989 was partially the reason why undercover detectives sought out a DNA sample.
As police continued to search the home, a retired detective who was close to the case came to the scene. Detective Leo Speliopoulos was the police spokesperson at the time when the girls’ bodies were discovered.
“There was a huge response and a lot of a work to be done,” he said. “Over the years you are beginning to wonder if there is ever going to be an arrest. I wanted to come out and see it on my own and take it all in.”