Police: Millcreek man confessed wife’s murder, daughter’s assault to media, went mum with detectives

Walter Eugene Branzeg. Photo: Salt Lake County; Gephardt Daily

MILLCREEK, Utah, Aug. 23, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Newly released court documents say that a Millcreek man who called multiple media outlets to confess to the crowbar murder of his wife and the assault of his daughter went mum after being read his Miranda rights by police.

Charged with aggravated murder and assault, first-and second-degree felonies, is 54-year-old Walter Eugene Brantzeg.

The victims are his estranged wife, the late Valerie Sue Brantzeg, 50, and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, who survived and is being treated at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Walter Brantzeg “used a metal crowbar to cause blunt force trauma to both victims during a domestic dispute,” the probable cause statement says.

“Walter contacted several news media channels using his personal cell phone … and confessed to killing his wife and assaulting his daughter. Based on this information relayed to on-scene detectives, Millcreek detectives requested an emergency PING to locate the suspect, Walter Eugene Brantzeg.”

With the phone ping information, Brantzeg was located at 9:07 a.m. near 308 E. 4500 South in his white Chevrolet van. He was taken into custody, without incident.

“The suspect was transported to the Unified Police Department Sheriff’s Office Building for an interview,” the probable cause statement says.

“The suspect was read Miranda warning and said he understood his rights. The suspect stated that with these rights in mind, he wanted to ask a few questions, but then wanted a lawyer before making any statement or answering any questions.”

Brantzeg was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail system, and is being held without bail.

Valerie Sue Brantzeg. Photo: Facebook

Police had arrived at the crime scene, the Riverbend Apartments, at 845 W. 3900 South, at approximately 7:05 a.m. on a report of domestic violence in progress. Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray told Gephardt Daily that neighbors reported that Valerie Brantzeg came out of her second-floor apartment screaming for help.

Police arrived to find Valerie Brantzeg inside an apartment, having been bludgeoned. She died shortly after paramedics arrived. Her body was taken to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

The Brantzegs’ daughter was found inside the apartment with head injuries, and was transported to the hospital.

Valerie Brantzeg had filed a formal letter of separation from her husband on July 31, and was pursuing a divorce, according to reports.

Officials have not yet released the exact sequence of events that led up to the attack. It is believed to have been some  sort of altercation over custody.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.

Victims of domestic abuse are urged to alert police by calling 911, or a hotline, such as 800-897-5465, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

 

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