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New developments in 2007 murder of young mom
BOLIVAR PENINSULA - by Lauren Huet
The Galveston County Sheriff's office is preparing to hand over a capital murder case to prosecutors seeking charges against three people.
The sheriff's office has spent seven years investigating the killing of Bridgette Gearen. She and her daughter, who was two at the time, were staying with friends at a beach house.
The 28-year-old from Orange County and her friends decided to go for a drive on the beach at around midnight on July 15th of 2007. She went outside first, and when her friends followed shortly after, she was gone. Her body was found later that day by the water. Investigators say she was beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled.
The lead investigator, Lieutenant Tommy Hanson says within 30 days, he'll present a case to the Galveston county district attorney. Hanson says the case is against three people accused of taking part in the murder near the shoreline.
Investigators scoured the area around Monkhouse Road following the murder. Hanson says evidence led to the arrest last year of one man he calls a person of interest in the killing. The man is jailed on unrelated charges. Hanson told us the suspect is from Southeast Texas.
He also says his office is seeking charges against two other people for Gearen's murder. He wouldn't says where they are from.
While the victim's family is waiting for closure, many in the Crystal Beach Community are looking for the same thing. Those who live on the Bolivar Peninsula are reacting to the new developments and the crime that is still fresh in the minds of many.
Maryanne Rogers and her husband have lived in Crystal Beach for 38 years. She remembers working at their business Pat's Tires the day in July of 2007 when Bridgette Gearen was found murdered on the beach.
"I believe that it really upset a lot of people because she was a mother and a young professional person and a mother, and that that could happen to someone like that and someone renting a house down here," Rogers says.
A community where people told us murders just don't happen.
"It was a rarity that something like that would happen and it does bring shock to people because they say oh that can't happen here. And I think that it really put a question in a lot of peoples' minds about safety issues on the beach itself," Rogers said.
Although it's been seven years since Gearen's murder, it's still fresh in locals' minds.
"I think just because it's a young girl and it's someone's daughter, and it's a family, and I think that's what makes people want to bring it alive," Rogers said.
At least until they get answers.
"I think that's what was always brought up about that, that there was no closure, people wanted closure to it so that the family could rest," Rogers says.
A family, a community, waiting for a resolution..
"I hope that there is closure to it. Complete closure, and I hope we never see it happen again," Rogers said.
The Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has held on to thousands of dollars in reward money over the last seven years hoping someone would come forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of Gearen's killers.