Brandy Hall, a 32-year-old firefighter and mother of two, drives out of a Florida fire station and vanishes on August 17, 2006.
Brandy Hall grew up in rural Florida. Her sister Kim says she was the quintessential tomboy, happier on four wheels than high heels.
"She liked airboats, she liked to go fishing, liked to go hunting, she was just very adventurous," said Kim.
At the young age of 20, Brandy landed a job at the Palm Bay Fire Department. Soon after, she met and fell in love with Jeff Hall, a fire chief from nearby Osceola County, and a few years later they had their first child.
Life is good for Brandy. But then her husband Jeff is arrested for growing and selling marijuana. He pleads guilty to growing and testifies Brandy knows nothing about the operation. But with the grow house on joint property, Brandy is also charged.
The charges against Brandy are dropped a few months later, but the Palm Bay Fire Department doesn't want anything to do with the scandal, and after 11 years of exemplary service, Brandy was fired.
But tough-as-nails Brandy is determined to get her life back on track. She finds work as a welder, then a few months later gets a volunteer position at the Malabar Fire Department.
With Jeff about to be sentenced, facing three years behind bars, Brandy asks her former boss and close friend Captain Randall Richmond for a favor: She wants him to be a character witness for Jeff, hoping for leniency.
On the eve of Jeff's sentencing, Brandy is working a late shift. Jeff wants to spend his last few free hours with the kids, so Brandy arranges to meet him at the courthouse when her shift ends at 7 a.m. But later that night Brandy tells a fellow firefighter she's not feeling well and she's heading home. Security cameras outside catch Brandy's dark-green pickup truck leaving the parking lot at 10:50 p.m.
Brandy never made it home, or to the courthouse.
By 8 a.m. Jeff is frantically calling Brandy and anyone who may know where she is.
And then Jeff gets a call. But Palm Bay Police lead detective on the case Ernie Diebel says it's not from Brandy; it's her friend fire Captain Randall Richmond.
"He got a call from Randall who's crying and saying that he can't come to court," said Diebel. "When Jeff asked Randall do you know where Brandy is he hangs up."
As Jeff is sentenced to 18 months in jail and led away in handcuffs. On the other side of town, a troubling clue to Brandy's whereabouts surfaces in a lake.
"What happened was a person was fishing in the lake and he found a bag of bunker gear," said Palm Bay Police Sgt. Michael Pusatere. "So he brought the bag of bunker gear to a local fire department. Figured that maybe they lost it."
"They realize it's Brandy's equipment, so they go back to the pond and they start searching," said Diebel.
Police immediately notice something suspicious along the water's edge.
"There was some marks on the bank like something might've, like a tree, pushed down, so they sent divers in and discovered her truck," said Diebel.
The water is so murky divers can't see through the windows, so they slowly tow the truck on to the bank. And when they open the door, there was blood, but no Brandy.
"There was blood on the driver's floorboard, like the mat pocket was full of blood, there was even some blood on one of the seats," said Diebel. "Some people think from right off the bat that due to the amount of blood in there she was dead."
If Brandy was murdered, where's her body? The only logical place is in the lake, so they begin to drain out every ounce of water. But there was no Brandy, and no clues.
Sons Clay, 5, and Taylor, 10, are now without a father for a year and a half, and their mother is missing.
Police immediately focus on her disgraced husband Jeff Hall, sitting in jail. But something doesn't add up.
"Why would he kill his wife on the night when he's leaving, gonna leave his kids without a parent?" said Diebel.
So police begin questioning Brandy's closest friends, including Captain Randall Richmond.
"He came into the police department and said 'I hadn't seen her or talked to her in a couple weeks, don't know where she is,'" said Sgt. Pusatere.
But Richmond's story goes up in smoke when detectives check Brandy's phone records from the night she went missing.
"She received a phone call from Randall Richmond, it lasted about 10 minutes. After that no one heard from her, saw her, nothing," said Diebel
Police call Richmond back in for questioning, and this time he tells a story that may bust the case wide open.
"[The call] was about an 11-minute phone call and it took place at about 11:09 p.m., it would be about 20 minutes after she left the volunteer fire department," said Pusatere.
"[Richmond] said that she was meeting someone for money but she wouldn't say who, then she said not to contact her," said Pusatere. "We didn't have anything on her phone records of her contacting anybody else to arrange any other meeting."
Richmond was never charged and police let him go.
Then detectives dig up a stunner: Brandy Hall and Randall Richmond were reportedly having an affair.
"When we looked at her phone records it was upwards of 70 contacts a day, and after that 11 o'clock phone call he never tried calling her again," said Pusatere.
Richmond tells police he was asleep in his private room at the Palm Bay firehouse the night Brandy went missing.
"People he worked with said that they would've known if he had left the fire station, so he has an alibi of sorts," said Pusatere. "We've never been able to conclusively prove it 'cause the fire captain has his own bedroom within the fire station, which has an exterior door on it, so he could have left and come back and nobody would've been aware of it."
Then an explosive new revelation from a Palm Bay police officer out on routine patrol that night.
"One of our officers, she comes from east over here, passed Home Depot, and sees the same type of truck that Brandy was driving that night, and when she glanced over here, which was a Hess Station at the time, she noticed that fire department vehicle, a captain's truck, didn't think anything of it, but there's only two or three of them in the city at the time, and went on her way home," said Diebel.
Detective Diebel believes that last 11-minute phone call Brandy made to Richmond was to set up a late-night rendezvous at the gas station. What happened after that remains a mystery.
"[Randall Richmond's wife] knew something was going on," said Diebel. "A few years before this happened there was kind of a yelling match between her and Brandy, saying 'Stay away from my husband.' things like that."
Anne-Marie Richmond, Randall's now ex-wife, is a nurse. She told police she got off at 11 that night and went straight home. She continues to deny any involvement or knowledge.
Shortly after Brandy's disappearance, the Richmonds, who have never been named suspects, lawyer up and stop talking to police.
Police are very interested in what Randall Richmond has to say.
"His story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, that she was gonna get some money and leave, why would she dump her only means of transportation?" said Diebel. "That was the one of the big things the FBI looked at."
Nine months pass with no new leads and the case goes cold. And then Brandy's backpack surfaces.
"Her backpack was discovered by some guys fishing in a canal down in Vero Beach, which is an hour south of here and it had her day-planner, some metal weights, some clothing and some other personal items," said Pusatere.
Missing from Brandy's backpack was a gun she always carried for protection. Detectives released police photos of the contents of Brandy's backpack for the first time exclusively to Crime Watch Daily.
One of the items in the backpack was a heavy piece of machinery called a drift pin.
"Whoever threw the backpack into the river wanted it to sink," said Diebel.
Randall Richmond is not the only person to have access to a drift pin and heavy machinery, and he has never been charged in the disappearance of Brandy Hall. He continues to deny any knowledge of what happened to her, but police claim the stuff in the backpack raises more questions.
Crime Watch Daily tried to track down Randall Richmond, but he was not located to be interviewed.
Brandy Hall's family decided to petition the court to have her declared deceased so her children would be allowed to collect money from her pension.