Wife of Apopka truck driver found dead says husband was 'ambushed'

Elias Bratcher was murdered eight days ago. On Monday, his wife pleaded to the public for help as deputies looked for his killer.

Deborah Bratcher says it was around 3 a.m. on Sunday, March 24, when her husband's phone rang. She said it was someone pretending to be an officer.

"Someone called. They said it's the police and your trailer doors open. I answered the phone because he was asleep. He didn't wanna go, then he said let me go."

Deborah's husband, Elias, parked his semi truck around the corner from their Apopka home on Marden Road. He drove over to check on it. But when he failed to return, Deborah went looking for him and made the horrific discovery. 

"I saw the bullet holes in the window. I say, 'Oh God, I hope he's not here.' I got out of the car. I open the driver's window. Oh God. They shot him in the head and I don't know where else they shot him at."

You can see the bullet holes in the driver's side window of the green Kia. Deputies say this was not a random act.

"He was ambushed," she said. "He didn't even get out of the car. From the time he pulled up, they started shooting. It wasn't a robbery, this was personal. Someone wanted him dead. 
I dialed 911." 

Deborah says she believes it was someone he knew.

"He didn't have no enemies. He was a great person," she said.

Elias's brothers and two sons spent the weekend passing out Crimeline flyers. Deborah says she's grateful to them, but was too distraught to participate.

"When I saw this flyer, I just broke down because he didn't deserve this," she said. 

After 13 years of marriage, she's not sure how she'll live without her husband. 

"That's the saddest part. I've been wanting to call him, but I can't. It's so hurtful. So sad. So senseless, but they're gonna catch who did it."

Call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS with any information.