Having a great hairstylist who truly cares about their clients hair and their well being is a blessing! Below is a story that I’ve been following on CBS News. It’s about a missing woman named Marsha Brantley from Cleveland, Tenn. Being a regular at the salon has more than just looking good benefits, it could save your life!
When Marsha Brantley, 50, of Cleveland, Tenn., suddenly vanished in 2009, her husband Donnie eventually became a suspect in her murder. But was Marsha even dead?
The case was unusual from the start because for months after Marsha disappeared, nobody reported her missing – not her friends, her family or even her husband. No one took much notice until her hairdresser, Kelly DeLude, worried about a missed appointment and started asking questions.
“I felt compelled to find out what happened to her,” DeLude tells “48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant. “I wasn’t trying to be a detective. I was trying to be a concerned friend.”
DeLude eventually called police, and investigators later picked up the case.
The investigation was full of seeming contradictions from the start. Donnie Brantley claimed he hadn’t reported Marsha missing because she had left him. Then, police say he lied repeatedly about where she had gone and what she’d taken with her. Still, there was almost no physical evidence of a crime – no blood, no fingerprints, no crime scene at all. And with no body to prove there even was a murder, the investigators’ biggest hurdle in solving the disappearance of Marsha Brantley may have been Marsha herself.
When Donnie Brantley was deposed in a 2013 civil suit, he didn’t seem to want to talk much about his feelings for Marsha. In answering questions on video, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment or said he couldn’t recall more than 100 times.
Brantley was arrested in 2013, but prosecutors dropped the charges after deciding they didn’t have enough to get a conviction. Two years after his 2014 election, District Attorney General Stephen Crump charged Brantley again with essentially the same evidence.
Lee Davis, Brantley’s attorney, says his client is 100 percent innocent.
“What proof is there that she’s in fact dead – as opposed to gone missing or living someplace else?” says Davis.
It’s a case “48 Hours” has been working on for five years, and it raises questions about the challenges prosecutors often face when someone vanishes without a trace. It also includes a stunning ending that nobody – including prosecutors – saw coming.
Det. Zach Pike | Bradley County Sheriff’s Office: I’m raisin’ my family here. My parents raised their family here and their parents raised their family here! It’s a place that I like to call home and hopefully this is where I’ll remain.
Kelly DeLude | Marsha’s hairdresser: Cleveland, Tennessee is beautiful. …known as the “City with Spirit” … You can’t swing a ball bat without hittin’ a church.
Kelly DeLude: A lotta people know one another … and we do have a lot of older homes and a lot of history here … I’m very proud of our town.
Kelly DeLude: I’ve been a hair dresser for over 30 years … You have certain clients that you kinda click with and you’re closer to – and for me, Marsha was one of those clients.
Jana Wills | Marsha’s cousin: She was fun. She was outgoing … she was one of my favorite cousins.
Kelly DeLude: She did confide in me and I confided in her.
Jana Wills: She was beautiful … She was always kind.
Kelly DeLude: She loved her husband … She mentioned him every time.
Elise Brantley | Donnie Brantley’s daughter: …when I think of her, my first few words would not be giving, loving. I didn’t see a lot of that from her, even as her stepdaughter.
Peter Van Sant: How would you describe her?
Elise Brantley: Loner. …I believe that she was very depressed.