Angela Brosso went for a bike ride along the Arizona Canal in Phoenix, Arizona one evening in 1991. She never returned home. Her body was found a few days later in a nearby vacant lot.
A few months later, in early 1992, Melanie Bernas went for a bike ride along the same canal. She never returned either. Her body was found floating in the canal a few days later.
Over the years, numerous suspects were investigated for these murders without success. Although DNA evidence was collected from the crime scenes, there was no CODIS hit.
The Phoenix Canal Murders remained unsolved until 2014, when Identifinders International was asked by the Phoenix Police Department to compare the Y-DNA collected from the crimes to genetic genealogy Y-STR profiles posted on public websites. Using proprietary software to interrogate numerous online databases, a Y-DNA match was found to a small group of men with the surname Miller, narrowing down the list of suspects from about 2000 to just five, one of whom was a close match to the psychological profile developed by the FBI.
PPD moved quickly to obtain this man’s DNA profile. Using a ruse, undercover officers invited him to lunch and secured a DNA sample from his water glass. On January 13, 2015 his DNA was found to be a CODIS match to the DNA profile developed from the victims in the original investigation and he was soon arrested.
The police continue to investigate possible links between Brian Patrick Miller and other victims of as yet unsolved homicides. Two surviving victims have stepped forward and also identified him as their assailant. After many delays, including the defendant’s rejected attempt to throw out the DNA evidence, his trial is expected to begin in September, 2021.