Manage episode 295020293 series 2077470
On January 15, 1988 in a semi-residential pocket in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, 25 year-old Catherine Braley – just recently relocated to Southern California from Iowa – was walking home from her job at a local specialty retail outlet when she decided to drop in to a local bar called The Hunter. There she encountered three L.A. County Sheriff’s detectives – off-duty and out of their jurisdiction (this was LAPD territory) after attending a memorial service for a fallen colleague nearby. After several hours of what all witnesses agreed was heavy drinking, Catherine and the three detectives departed the bar at around 11 pm. Employees at the bar who peered through the windows at the foursome saw Catherine sitting in puddle in the parking lot, laughing. Soon thereafter, the witnesses saw two of the detectives leave, leaving Catherine alone with one man – Detective Robert Mallen of the LA County Sheriff’s Department. That was the last time anyone saw Catherine Braley alive. Her battered body was found the next morning in the parking lot of an apartment complex just blocks from The Hunter. Her head had apparently been crushed with a hammer and/or a cement block found next to the body. Detective Mallen, who had left town with his wife for a camping trip in Arizona that very same morning Catherine’s body was found, was tracked down by LAPD investigators at the campground – and Mallen’s story was yes, he had met Catherine at The Hunter and yes. he had left with her in his car, where they had consensual sex, and that mid-way through a second round of intercourse, she broke it off, got out of the car and said she would walk home. Despite this rather incredulous tale, and problems with the timeline provided, case went cold – quickly – and remains unsolved to this day. A lawsuit brought by Catherine’s family resulted in a hung jury. And there appears to be no interest in the law enforcement community to attempt to solve the case. Worst of all is the fact that the LAPD detective most qualified to investigate Catherine’s murder – the one brave cop with the guts to have solved a 20 year-old murder committed by a fellow officer (and thereby violating the silent “blue code” that holds that cops don’t rat on cops) was handed Catherine’s case and had it taken away from him just as he was starting to investigate. Join Melissa as she asks the tough questions – could it be that the LAPD is preventing the investigation of Catherine Braley’s murder to save the skin of a law enforcement colleague? Is the “blue wall” stifling justice?