Fearing Stephanie Roller may have been hurt or worse, friends,
family, and law enforcement gathered together to begin a search for Stephanie.
Dale Bruner did not join in the search. He says police told him to stay home.
Mark Hurlbert said, "This was a very brutal, brutal murder." "She was hit over the head, which caused
her skull to break … She was strangled so hard that a bone in her neck broke.
And then while still alive thrown into the Blue River and left to drown and die
The Silverthorne community gathered for a memorial a week after Stephanie’s body was pulled from the Blue River. During the memorial, CBI Agent Greg Sadar said that Dale Bruner was acting strange.
Sadar said, "He would look around the room, comfortable and calm. Then when somebody would walk up to him he would break down crying. No tears. And then when that person filed away, he'd snap back into just a normal demeanor again."
Dale Bruner -- released on bond -- remained adamant that he was innocent. So adamant he rejected a deal of 24 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Bruner chose to take his chances in court and in July 2012, went on trial for the murder of his wife, Stephanie Roller.
During Dale Bruner’s trial it was revealed that Stephanie had filed a restraining order against Dale citing harsh treatment of their son just six weeks before her murder. Audio recordings of the hearing were played in court. The room fell silent as Stephanie spoke from the grave.
Though Stephanie filed a restraining order against Dale six weeks
before her death, she rescinded the restraining order and let him come home a week later. Experts say this pattern is not uncommon in domestic violence relationships.
During the trial, the judge allowed testimony from Dale’s ex-girlfriend, Jodi Eberhart, who said she also experienced Dale's fury. She testified that, when they were dating in the early 90s, he attacked her and put his hands around her throat and threatened to kill her during an argument.
Two months after being found guilty for the murder of Stephanie Roller, Dale Bruner was back in court to receive his sentence. During the hearing, family and friends gave their personal impact statements to the court. The judge sentenced Dale Bruner to 112 years in prison—the maximum.
The Summit County Advocates for Victims of Assault dedicated a room in a local safe house—for victims of domestic violence seeking shelter—to the memory of Stephanie Roller. Summit County Advocates now holds an annual dance and fundraiser each fall in Stephanie's memory.