After a massive four-day search, the body of missing mother Stephanie Roller was recovered in November 2010 from the icy Blue River in Silverthorne, Colo.
Stephanie and Dale meet
Stephanie Roller and husband Dale Bruner met at a ski resort in Oregon. They started dating and eventually moved to Silverthorne, Colo., a town near the popular ski resort of Breckenridge.
An idyllic life
Stephanie Roller and husband Dale Bruner had three children together. Stephanie worked for the county reviewing home building plans and Dale built a business as a photographer.
Stephanie Roller goes missing
Stephanie's husband, Dale Bruner, says that the night before his wife went missing, they had had an argument and she needed to clear her head. He says she left the house between 10 and 10:30 p.m.
Dale Bruner reported Stephanie missing around 8:45 a.m., after he sent the kids to school -- 10 hours after he said she left the house.
The search for Stephanie
Beloved by many in Silverthorne, Stephanie Roller's disappearance had friends and family worried. Frantic and panicked, they started making calls and searched local hotels.
Searching for Stephanie
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.
No sign of Stephanie Roller
After three days of searching, there was still no sign of Stephanie Roller. During her disappearance, temperatures dropped to one degree with a wind chill of minus 20 and heavy snowfall.
Stephanie Roller's body located
The day after Thanksgiving, four days into the search, Stephanie Roller's bruised and lifeless body was found frozen in the Blue River, a few hundred yards from her house.
"A brutal murder"
Prosecutor 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 of- hypothermia."
A rocky marriage
The other man
Bruner's behavior questioned
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."
Ron Holthaus questioned
Dale Bruner named a suspect
Dale Bruner told police inconsistent stories about the night Stephanie vanished that raised red flags for Silverthorne Police and the CBI.
Eight months after Stephanie"s death, law enforcement
had enough circumstantial evidence to arrest Bruner for his wife's murder.
Bruner's day in court
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.
Stephanie speaks out
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.
Video: Hear Stephanie's statement
Restraining order filed
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.
Video: Hear Stephanie's statement
Bruner's ex-girlfriend testifies
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.
Dale Bruner found guilty
After a week and a half of testimony, the case was handed over to the jury. The deliberation lasted four hours before the verdict was decided.
Dale Bruner was found guilty of all six counts, one count of second-degree murder, two counts of assault and three counts of tampering with evidence.
Dale Bruner sentenced
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.
Remembering Stephanie Roller
After Dale's arrest, the couple's three children, went to live with Stephanie's family.