The crime happened this way:
At a local beach, a truck filled with men drove up to a young, attractive mother. In moments, they grabbed her, pulled her into the vehicle, and sped away.
At least that’s how the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office thinks 28-year-old Bridgette Gearen ended up being raped and murdered 6 years ago, her body left a little further up the shore of Crystal Beach.
It’s a cold case that still unnerves locals and now the KHOU 11 News I-Team has learned it’s heating up.
In an exclusive, an investigator told KHOU 11 News a ‘person of interest’ has been arrested in connection with another case.
“This person isn’t going anywhere for a long, long, long time,” said Galveston County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tommy Hansen.
In July of 2007, Gearen travelled with friends to the Bolivar Peninsula for a weekend getaway.
One night, around 11:30 p.m., the vacationers opted for a drive on the beach. Gearen walked out first leaving her friends and then two-year-old daughter, Kyra, inside. Seconds later she was gone.
“It’s rough, I mean look at my eyes right now,” said Kyra’s father, Brandon Portie as tears streamed down his cheeks. “It’s tough. They definitely need to be hurt; punished for what they did.”
They are four men in their twenties who police believe pulled up in a truck in the moments she was alone and suddenly pulled her inside.
Witnesses, young kids out for the night, say they heard her scream and saw the truck pull away.
“Twenty-five minutes later that same vehicle went back by going eastbound at a very high rate of speed,” said Lt. Hansen.
The next morning, Bridgette’s body was found.
“Clothes were ripped,” said Brandon Portie. “Her body was half in the water. She was bruised pretty badly.”
The pain is also still fresh for Kyra, who is now eight.
“It’s like a big hole straight in the middle of your heart,” said Kyra Portie. “She was young and nobody deserves to be killed like that.”
Lt. Hansen wouldn’t elaborate on who was arrested, but told the KHOU 11 New I-Team that the person of interest who was arrested is in his twenties and is from the area.
Hansen also said he believes his men know others who were involved and it’s just a matter of time before they are also arrested.
“We’re coming,” Lt. Hansen said. “We’re coming.”