Search continues for volunteer firefighter who vanished 12 years ago

Image 1 of 3

A private investigator and a team of about 40 volunteers searched Wednesday for the remains of Malabar volunteer firefighter Brandy Hall who vanished 12 years ago.

“Every second. [I] pray every second. Like where is Brandy.”  Said Debbie Rogge, Hall’s mother.
Brandy Hall, 32, disappeared in 2006 after she left her job at the fire station. The next day a fisherman found her bunker gear in a pond about four and a half miles from the station. Police also recovered the mother of two’s truck from the pond and found blood inside. Detectives are investigating Hall’s case as a homicide.

Police said Hall, who was married, was having an affair with former Palm Bay Fire Captain Randall Richmond who was also married at the time. Detectives said Richmond told them Hall told him by phone she was planning to leave town.

“She just needs to be found. I want her to be found,” Rogge said.

On Wednesday, private investigator Nicolas Sandberg teamed up with about 40 people including a well-known forensic anthropologist, volunteers, members of Hall’s family and cadaver dogs to search the woods and wetlands near the 6000-block of Babcock Street in Palm Bay.

Sandberg said while some of the areas have been searched before volunteers also searched new areas and used a grave-finding site machine. They selected the search area based on areas where cadaver dogs previously alerted.

“You can actually smell rancid death on some of the areas that you dug down that were close to the area where the cadaver dogs hit,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg said he started investigating Hall’s case after hearing about her story in a podcast. Sandberg said Good Samaritan Gail Sheldon took an interest in the case too and helped pay for Wednesday’s search. Sandberg said Sheldon wants to help the family find closure.

Shelby Helfer did not know Hall or her family but volunteered on Wednesday because she also wanted to help the family find closure. “I actually listened to the podcast and after listening to all of that about a day or so later I [saw] the volunteer thing looking for volunteers with side-by-sides.”

Sandberg said a smaller team will continue the search on Thursday. Rogge said she will keep searching for her daughter until she is found. “I want to find out who did this to her and justice will be done.”