Indiana · Serial Killers

Teen shoots parents, tries to strangle sister, is later suspected to be a serial killer

January 3, 1971
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Carl Brandt (13) shoots his father and eight-months-pregnant mother as she bathes, and attempts to strangle his sister

The Brandt family had recently returned from a family trip, during which time Carl’s father Herbert shot and killed the family’s sick dog. It is unclear if this act was the catalyst for Carl’s rampage, but it is widely speculated to at least have been a factor.

As Ilse Brandt bathed and Herbert Brandt shaved, Carl shot both. He attempted to shoot his sister Angela (15) but had run out of ammunition. He instead tried to strangle her. Afterward, Carl went to a neighbor’s to say “I just killed my mother and father.” Police were summoned and found Ilse’s body in the bathtub. Herbert weakly called for help in an adjacent room. Though seriously wounded, Herbert survived. Due to his age, Carl was found not criminally responsible for the attack, though the grand jury recommended psychiatric treatment for the teen.

Decades later on September 15, 2004, in Florida, the bodies of Carl, his wife Teresa, and her adult niece Michelle Jones were found. Both had been stabbed repeatedly. Jones had been decapitated and mutilated in a “surgical nature,” with her heart removed. Carl had apparently hanged himself following the murder-suicide, though no suicide note was left.

Strangely, Jones’ decapitation and removal of her heart was similar to other unsolved murders in areas near where Brandt had lived at the time. In 1978, the severed head of 12-year-old Carol Lynn Sullivan was found stuffed in a paint can; the rest of her body was never found. In 1989, Sherry Perisho’s body was found, her throat slashed almost to the point of decapitation and her heart removed. And in 1995, Darlene Toler’s headless, heartless body was found. While Brandt has not officially been linked to the murders, it is speculated he is responsible. Additionally, authorities in both Germany and Holland have reportedly made inquiries about the details of the cases, though specifics about said inquiries have not been made available.

Sources:
Deadly Obsession. CBS News. September 21, 2011. Accessed: January 3, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/deadly-obsession/
Taylor, Gary. “Killings spark more inquires.” The Orlando Sentinel. October 8, 2004
Perez, Robert and Harris, Melissa. “Man May have been serial killer.” South Florida Sun Sentinel. October 3, 2004
“Hospitalizing Of Accused Slayer Urged.” The Indianapolis Star. May 14, 1971
“Boy, 13, Held In Murder Of Mother; Father Wounded.” Palladium-Item [Richmond, Indiana]. January 4, 1971

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