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Crossing Paths with Evil: The Murder of Adrienne Salinas

Updated on March 2, 2018
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Kym L. Pasqualini is a freelance writer and founder of Nation's Missing Children Organization and National Center for Missing Adults.

Adrienne Salinas was a beautiful 19-year old Gateway College student who vanished in the early morning hours of June 15, 2013. Her father reported her missing on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013.

Adrienne Salinas’s father Rick sitting at Jaycee Park showing picture of his murdered daughter.
Adrienne Salinas’s father Rick sitting at Jaycee Park showing picture of his murdered daughter.

After a July heavy rainstorm, Salinas’s skeletal remains were found in a dry wash in Apache Junction, Ariz., on August 6, 2013.

Tempe Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have worked the case but nearly 5 years later, the case remains unsolved and the “unknown gaps” in time, hold the answer.

In a News 12 report, “Most Wanted: Adrienne Salinas’ killer; 19-year old brutally murdered in 2013” the FBI said, “We need someone to fill in that story, to fill in those gaps, somebody out there knows.”

According to Tempe Police, Salinas and roommates threw a party at their apartment on Hardy Drive and 5th Street in Tempe.

Adrienne Salinas vanished June 15, 2013 and found murdered two months later.
Adrienne Salinas vanished June 15, 2013 and found murdered two months later.

After getting into an argument, Salinas and her boyfriend left the party early for some personal space. Both planned on going to his home in Scottsdale. However, Salinas’s boyfriend went home alone. Not much later, Salinas decided she would drive herself to her boyfriend’s home, packed a bag and left her apartment but crashed her car along the Rio Salado Parkway and Ash Avenue curve not far from her home. She had flattened both tires on the driver’s side, so she drove the car to Brown Street, parked, and walked approximately one block to her apartment.

Police confirmed Salinas had ditched her vehicle, walked back home, changed her clothing, then called a cab to pick her up at an AM/PM convenience store about a quarter-mile away from her apartment.

According to friends, she packed a bag but left her purse and keys at her apartment.

When the taxi arrived at the convenience store at 4:53 a.m., the taxi driver called Salinas and she indicated she was on her way. Walking along the quarter-mile stretch to the convenience store, she vanished.

At 5:07 a.m., 14 minutes after the initial call from the cab driver, her phone shut off.

Jaycee Park in Tempe, near where surveillance cameras caught a woman resembling Adrienne Salinas walking the night she vanished.
Jaycee Park in Tempe, near where surveillance cameras caught a woman resembling Adrienne Salinas walking the night she vanished.

Police state Salinas disappeared while walking on Hardy Drive between 5th Street and University Drive, in Tempe.

A surveillance camera caught a woman resembling Salinas walking near the corner of Hardy and University Drive through an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts parking lot at 4:52 a.m., followed by a dark four-door vehicle driving through the same parking lot approximately two minutes later. The vehicle remains unidentified.

Cell phone records show Salinas’s boyfriend had 11 missed calls from Salinas at 4:15 a.m. and a voicemail stating she was on her way to his home. The boyfriend has been very cooperative and was cleared through cell phone records, also passing several lie detectors tests.

The taxi driver was also cleared and has never been a suspect.

A Victim of Opportunity?

Walking alone during a hot June night in 2013, possibly there was someone else nearby, someone evil.

Police searched Tempe Town Lake with sonar in the attempt to locate Adrienne Salinas.
Police searched Tempe Town Lake with sonar in the attempt to locate Adrienne Salinas.

“When you have a case like this there will be nights and nights and nights that you don’t sleep. You only think about the case. What we have done, what we could do, and what should we have done,” Detective Alan Akey, told News 15 in an exclusive interview, “Adrienne Salinas found dead 4 years ago, case remains unsolved.”

“Was it a crime of opportunity or was it something a little more where somebody who had a little more interest in her, was paying a little more attention to her and took that opportunity?” asked Detective Akey.

According to published freelance journalist Keen Azariah, she may have crossed paths with “ultimate evil” that fateful night.

After the Storm

In July 2013, hard rainfall turned normally bone-dry Arizona canals, washes and riverbeds into raging rivers of mud.

On August 9, 2013, Apache Junction resident Dan Kelly decided to check his property after the flooding. His land borders Lost Dutchman Boulevard and Weekes Wash. It was here that he found the decomposing remains of Salinas, in a desert wash, approximately 30-miles away from where she had vanished in Tempe.

Police believe Salinas’s body was dumped elsewhere and was later washed downstream to the location she was found.

Police search area of Apache Junction wash for evidence related to the murder of Adrienne Salinas.
Police search area of Apache Junction wash for evidence related to the murder of Adrienne Salinas.

When Tempe Police Department released the heavily redacted autopsy report, the skeletal chart was not included. As reported in the New Times "These nearly complete (please see Skeletal Chart) skeletal remains [redacted]," the autopsy report states, with more than one full line blacked out. "Much desiccated skin and ligamentous tissue are present, as is a small patch of presumed hear hair adhering to what appears to be desiccated skin of the neck." The information in the autopsy reports does not include any information about a skull, hands or clothing.

In fact, the autopsy report specifically indicates that Salinas was identified through identification of her thorax (between neck and abdomen) in hospital X-rays, in addition to DNA identification.

The missing information makes one conclude she was decapitated either by human hands or by the natural process of decomposition and exposure to harsh elements of rushing water in the wash, followed by intense heat and potential animal scavenging.

If authorities know the cause, they have not released the reason.

Was Salinas a victim of opportunity? It just so happens that a monster was close by.

Arizona Zombie Hunter

Bryan Patrick Miller is myriad of things in his social media profile, a man obsessed with Steampunk and role-play, and driving a decommissioned police cruiser. He calls himself the “Zombie Hunter.” He is also an alleged serial killer.

Melanie Bernas and Angela Brosso killed along the Arizona Canal in 1992.
Melanie Bernas and Angela Brosso killed along the Arizona Canal in 1992.

Miller is currently being held in a Phoenix jail for his DNA confirmed involvement in the cold-case murder, decapitation, and evisceration of Angela Brosso, 22, and the stabbing and mutilation murder of Melanie Bernas, 17, ten months apart, while riding their bikes along a North Phoenix canal, in 1992.

Miller’s ex-wife appeared on Crime Watch Daily and told of her horrific wedded experience. She tells of Miller’s alleged confessions that rock the police investigation.

In the Vicinity

According to Facebook posts, Miller just so happened to be at a friend’s party in Tempe on Saturday, June 15th, near where Salinas went missing.

According to “Gone by Dawn: The Disappearance of Adrienne Salinas,” by Keen Azariah, a published freelance journalist and former friend of Miller, not only was Miller at a party within one mile of Salinas’s home, he had also planned on going on a pre-dawn morning hike as he posted on his Facebook.

Distance between the party Bryan Patrick Miller attended and where Salinas was known to be walking.
Distance between the party Bryan Patrick Miller attended and where Salinas was known to be walking. | Source

Dark Unidentified Vehicle

Some may think it’s a jump, but Miller owned a dark gray Ford Focus hatchback and a matte black Ford Escort. He sold the Focus in September 2013 and purchased a 2007 Ford Interceptor (decommissioned police car) that he transformed into creeped out and ominous police car, complete with lights on top. On the back was the name “Zombie Hunter,” his alter ego.

Zombie Hunter Bryan Patrick Miller is his decommissioned police car
Zombie Hunter Bryan Patrick Miller is his decommissioned police car

When police made the arrest for the murders of Brosso and Bernas at Miller’s Amazon employer, they also served a search warrant on his home. Police found the matte black Escort under a black tarp hidden in the backyard of his North Phoenix residence during 2015 when he was arrested for the serial killings of Brosso and Bernas.

Bryan Patrick Miller’s matte black Ford Escort, possibly similar to the dark four-door vehicle seen in surveillance footage within minutes of Adrienne Salinas’s disappearance
Bryan Patrick Miller’s matte black Ford Escort, possibly similar to the dark four-door vehicle seen in surveillance footage within minutes of Adrienne Salinas’s disappearance

While that is not proof that Miller abducted Salinas, we must also take into consideration that Miller worked at the Arizona Renaissance Festival in Apache Junction, attended Steampunk events at Goldfield Ghost Town, and even selected the area to do some professional photo shoots.

Bryan Patrick Miller and other Steampunk enthusiasts at professional photoshoot in Apache Junction.
Bryan Patrick Miller and other Steampunk enthusiasts at professional photoshoot in Apache Junction.

Though the inferences of a connection between Miller and Salinas is circumstantial, the leap continues to get shorter.

For those who know Bryan personally, it becomes even more possible to believe he was capable of abducting a young woman. Known for collecting realistic photographs of dead bodies, cannibalistic connotations on Facebook and other social media accounts, to include pictures of decapitated and mutilated women.

Brandy Myers vanished in 1992 from North Phoenix. Family believes she was the victim of the Miller.
Brandy Myers vanished in 1992 from North Phoenix. Family believes she was the victim of the Miller.

And if this were not enough, Miller lived less than a mile from Brandy Myers who has been missing for over 25 years.

Brandy Myers had gone out on the afternoon of May 26, 1992, to go door to door raising money for her school. She never returned home.

Myers’s younger sister Kristin Thelen, recalls walking with her big sister on their way to school and back, on a route that took them right by Miller’s house each day.

“Ultimately, we have another disappearance of a young girl, same kind of age and time frame, and very close proximity to his home," said Sgt. Trent Crump with Phoenix Police Department. "He very quickly became an investigative lead."

Additionally, police have the statement from Amy, Miller’s wife of eight years. Amy tells about a terrifying existence with a man fascinated by porn, S&M bondage, the use of knives and straight pins and boasting – his confessions that he had killed before and a time when a little girl with developmental disabilities came to his house raising money for her school. He told his ex-wife he abducted her inside, stabbed Brandy Myers, then cut her throat.

Miller then told his wife he dismembered the little girl and dumped her in the garbage that was picked up the following day in 1992. It so happens little Brandy Myers did have diminished mental capacity.

Bryan Patrick Miller is suspected in several unsolved murders and disappearances in Arizona and two other states he resided in the last two decades and expanding.

Miller has pleaded “not guilty” in the murders of Brosso and Bernas. Miller would be quick to say his being near where women and little girls vanishing is “just coincidence.” Others would say there are too many coincidences to dismiss.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and convictions of the individual(s) responsible for the murder of Adrienne Salinas. Call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

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