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Evidence points to prime suspect in two-decade old cold case

By Velena Jones, vjones@wisctv.com
Published On: Apr 07 2014 07:10:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 07 2014 09:37:57 PM CDT

The death of a Sturtevant teenager has been a mystery to authorities for years and left a family searching for answers for more than two decades.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. -

The death of a Sturtevant teenager has been a mystery to authorities for years and left a family searching for answers for more than two decades.

Twenty-three years later Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mike Fink said they now have evidence that points to a prime suspect.

"I hope he is going to be arrested,” Fink said. “This is the best physical evidence that we've had in this case in the 23-and-a-half years"

Berit Beck, 18, was kidnapped July 17, 1990, on her way to computer class in Appleton. Six weeks later her body was found in a Waupun ditch.

There have been several suspects over the years, but deputies said evidence that was recently analyzed a second time shows Dennis Brantner was inside Beck's van.

"It was the first time I thought we had tangible, physical evidence to intimately put someone in the interior of that van" Fink said.

Evidence suggests that the 60-year-old Kenosha trucker may be the man responsible for Beck's death.

The state crime lab is looking at photos of his hands to compare it to physical evidence found in the van during the time of Becks disappearance.

However, District Attorney Eric Toney said they will need more to make an official charge.

"The case file is very voluminous, lots of photographs, lots of reports. There are a lot of things that go into charging this particular case. It would not simply be an analysis of those photographs," Toney said.

The sheriff's department is hoping that the announcement of the new evidence will prompt someone in the community to remember additional details that could possibly lead to an arrest and bring the killer to justice.

"There is no high-five; there is no win with this. It's not like a game, we are not winning. I don't see how there is any good outcome out of this. It’s justice," said Fink.

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