COLD CASE: Who killed Brenda Gaddis?

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Nearly three decades ago, detectives had few details in the murder investigation of a Dayton mother; but with new technology and evidence that’s recently surfaced, investigators are a step closer to finding her killer. 

Brenda Gaddis, 33, went missing November 1990.

“We didn’t see her anymore after Thanksgiving that year,” says her daughter, Yalonda Gaddis.

“She had been at a boyfriend’s house earlier in the morning helping him cook and was at her family’s house during that day,” says Dayton Police Detective Patty Tackett as she creates a timeline.

Yalonda was only 9 at the time.

“They had put out a missing persons report. Of course, I didn’t know that,” recalls Yalonda.

Weeks later, December 12, 1990, Brenda was found dumped in a ditch off of Guthrie Road. Scrappers looking for cans made the discovery.

“She did have blunt trauma to her, and it did appear that she definitely put up a fight, put up a struggle during her encounter with whoever did this to her,” describes Det. Tackett.

Now in her 30s, Yalonda still longs for answers.

“I’m like man, if my mom was here, you know, what would we be doing? Where would we be going?” questions Yalonda. “That never goes away. It never goes away.”Over the years, detectives continued to work the case. In 2006, 2 NEWS did a follow up with Brenda’s family after the Cold Case Squad re-opened the investigation.

“Always remember her being so pretty. You know, my sister reminds me of her because she’s so pretty,” recalled Brenda’s daughter, Tamara Gaddis, in 2006.

“It’s just been an emotional roller coaster um you know. She has three children that she didn’t see graduate from high school and go on to college,” described Brenda’s brother, Ray Gaddis, back then.

Recently, Yalonda called the police to take yet another look at the case.

“She was nine years old when her mom was taken from her. And I have children, and I think of my kids when they were nine,” says Dayton Police Major Brian Johns. “I just can’t imagine how her life was impacted by this loss.”

“There is some additional evidence that we have received in regards to this case,” admits Det. Tackett.

Dayton Police remain tight-lipped about what that evidence is but say it’s progress.

“Brenda was murdered. She was murdered in a very violent way, and that person shouldn’t just be walking around with no consequences in regards to that,” states detective Tackett.

Like police, Yalonda hopes this break could up the “hit” they’ve been looking for.

“I know that somebody knows something,” says Yalonda. “You’re probably afraid. I’m afraid. I’m afraid for you.”

Dayton Police are one step closer to solving the case, but they’re still looking for any tips. If you have any information that could help them and bring Brenda’s family some answers, call Crime Stoppers at 937-222-7867.

In this Web Extra, hear from Yalonda herself as she remembers her mother’s murder…

In this Web Extra, hear from the head of the  Dayton Police Department Cold Case Unit, Detective Patty Tackett…

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