TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — A man was arrested Tuesday after police say he admitted to killing his ex-girlfriend and dumping her body in a remote area of Tooele County.
On Friday, the Tooele County Sheriff's Office received a report that someone had found a dead body in the Five Mile Pass area, a popular location for off-roading.
Deputies responded and confirmed that the body was that of a young woman, but there was no identification. They processed the scene and collected evidence, some of which helped them arrest an alleged accomplice in the case.
The sheriff's office had been contacted that same day by the Salt Lake City Police Department regarding 23-year-old Brooklyn Tyree, who was reported missing.
The two agencies worked together, and based on security camera footage from Tyree's apartment building in Salt Lake City earlier that week, they matched the clothes she was wearing to those on the body and concluded that it was her.
The footage from May 3 showed Tyree and her 7-month-old child getting into a vehicle with 28-year-old Brandon Zipperle — her ex-boyfriend and the father of the child.
Police brought Zipperle in for an interview and secured search warrants for his apartment and his vehicle.
According to Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer, Zipperle admitted to shooting and killing Tyree. Court documents state that an autopsy concluded that Tyree was shot. He also admitted to pawning the gun he used and disposing of Tyree's personal belongings.
When searching his apartment, police said they found a shoe that matched a footprint at the scene where Tyree's body was found. The shoe belonged to Zipperle's fiance, 28-year-old Elizabeth Ludwig, who was also brought in for questioning. Ludwig admitted that she helped Zipperle to move Tyree's body and get rid of some of her personal property.
Police said both of them made these confessions after being informed of their Miranda rights.
Police also wrote in a probable cause statement that both suspects' phones were in the Five Mile Pass area on May 3.
Zipperle was arrested for murder and obstruction of justice, and Ludwig was arrested for obstruction of justice.
Tyree's baby boy is in the custody of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
On Monday, former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson sent a letter to SLCPD Chief Mike Brown and SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall, in which he called the department's response to Tyree's case an "outrageous failure and refusal... to investigate." He said he was doing so as "a friend and personal advocate" of the family, not as legal counsel.
In the 10-page letter, Anderson accused officers of being "rude, indifferent, and dismissive" to Tyree's family and friends.
Mendenhall sent the following statement to FOX 13 News in response:
“My heart goes out to Brooklyn’s family and friends. I cannot imagine what they are going through right now. We will continue collaborating with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office investigation and pursue justice for Brooklyn.
"Any accusations of misconduct leveled at our police department must be taken seriously, and I’ve directed that our independent Police Civilian Review Board review these allegations immediately, including any associated body worn camera footage. The facts matter."
The police department also issued a statement and a timeline of their investigation:
"The Salt Lake City Police Department takes all community complaints seriously. This is a tragic case and our condolences go out to the family and friends of Brooklyn Tyree.
"To ensure our investigation into the missing person’s case was professional, respectful, thorough, and in line with our community’s expectations, we will comprehensively review the steps taken by our department. We welcome and will fully cooperate with the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board with any requests they have pursuant to the Mayor’s direction for this independent body to review these allegations.
"The Salt Lake City Police Department is fully cooperating with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office on their suspicious death investigation.
"This remains an ongoing investigation on multiple fronts. The Salt Lake City Police Department knows our community wants more answers about the handling of this case. Those answers will come through the appropriate investigative mechanisms in place. However, we must respect and preserve the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation. As such, the Salt Lake City Police Department cannot release any additional information at this time aside from the timeline below:
|Thursday May 5, 2022||5:11 PM – Missing person’s case generated. This is the first report made to the SLCPD about Brooklyn Tyree.|
The caller advised SLCPD that Brooklyn and her son were going to Tooele to meet up with someone on Tuesday (May 3) and hadn’t been heard from since.
Because there was no information indicating a crime had been committed or that there was an immediate danger to either individual, the call was assigned as a Priority 3.
A missing, at-risk person is assigned as a Priority 1.
|Thursday May 5, 2022|
Approx. 8:30 PM – SLC911 checked with Tooele County to see if they have any information on Brooklyn.
Tooele Co. advised there were no recent reports. They further advised there wasn’t enough information to do an Attempt to Locate.
SLC911 & SLCPD also checked a local hospital in Tooele Co. to see if Brooklyn was admitted.
SLC911 & SLCPD checked four other local hospitals to see if Brooklyn was admitted.
|Thursday May 5, 2022||8:45 PM – SLC911 advised the original complainant that an officer had been assigned the case and would be out to Brooklyn’s residence as soon as possible.|
|Thursday May 5, 2022||9:27 PM – The initial patrol officer arrived at Brooklyn’s apartment complex to meet with multiple family members and to gain an understanding of the situation. The officer had already been assigned the case prior to arrival and investigative steps were already taken as described above.|
After meeting with family members and further investigation, there was no articulable qualification, at the time, which met the department’s criteria for a missing persons entry in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
The police report was generated and reviewed by a supervisor.
Additionally, the initial officer checked common places in the city for Brooklyn’s whereabouts.
|Friday May 6, 2022||An SLCPD officer met with a family member of Brooklyn’s who provided additional information. This information was documented by the officer and the officer contacted Tooele County to help further the investigation in locating Brooklyn.|
|May 8 – May 9, 2022||Officers with the SLCPD continued their investigation into the case and continued to speak with individuals who could assist with the missing person’s case.|
|May 9, 2022||As the investigation progressed, and as additional information was obtained, Brooklyn was listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) because the disappearance was now considered suspicious in nature.|
|May 9, 2022||SLCPD detectives continued with their investigation and the SLCPD Crime Lab assisted with the case, which included collecting evidence.|
|May 9, 2022||The SLCPD Public Relations Unit is contacted by KUTV asking if the department could confirm a missing person’s report was made. The SLCPD confirmed a report had been made.|
|May 10, 2022|
The Tooele County Sheriff's Office confirmed to the SLCPD that Brooklyn’s body was located in a rural area under suspicious circumstances.
The SLCPD is fully cooperating with Tooele County on the death investigation.
"Body-worn camera video from this case is not being released as this remains an active investigation.
"No further information can be released at this time."