CRYSTAL BEACH — Investigators say they are close to solving the cold case killing of Bridgette Gearen, a 28-year-old Orange County woman who was sexually assaulted, strangled and beaten to death before her body was found near a Crystal Beach shoreline on July 15, 2007.

Lt. Tommy Hansen, who works as a cold case homicide investigator for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, said detectives have identified three people suspected of being involved in Gearen’s death. Investigators hope to present the capital murder case to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office within the next 30 days.

“We are very close — one or two interviews to do,” Hansen said. “We feel very good we’re going to make charges.”

Gearen, a legal secretary at a Beaumont law firm, was staying with friends and her 2-year-old daughter at a rented house in Crystal Beach in July 2007.

Just before midnight on July 14, Gearen stepped outside of the house. When her friends followed Gearen outside seconds later, the young mother had disappeared. 

Campers discovered her partially clothed body in the water near Monkhouse Drive shortly after 6 a.m. the next day. 

Police said she was sexually assaulted before being killed.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office has investigated her death for seven years, but Hansen said several significant breakthroughs were made in the last year and a half.

“It’s been a work in progress,” he said. “We probably got some really good interviews and breaks in the last year.”

Last year, a man from Southeast Texas who is considered a person of interest in the killing was jailed on unrelated charges, Hansen said.

Investigators are confident they have built a strong case to hand to prosecutors, Hansen said. Suspects in the case know they are being investigated, Hansen said.

“They know we’re coming for them,” he said.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or


(6) comments

Miss Priss

Yes and probably most of the town that some of them are from know too. The element of surprise has been lost as an advantage for sure. When citizens are discussing this openly about who it is.... Then I guess it would be time to get it wrapped up.

Steve Fouga

“They know we’re coming for them”

Maybe I'm a bit cruel when it comes to people like these, but I actually like this aspect of the case. I'd be tempted to let 'em dangle for awhile longer, to make the last days of their life outside of custody as miserable as possible...

Nah, may as well go ahead and bag 'em. They've been free long enough.

Kudos to the Sheriff's Office and the other agencies involved. Great job sticking with this one...

George Croix

"Suspects in the case know they are being investigated, Hansen said.
“They know we’re coming for them,” he said.'
What a great idea to put this in the newspaper, BEFORE the miscreants have been bagged!! Similar to the brilliance of the NYT publishing military plans before the actions took place.
I mean, what can possibly be a problem with letting your enemies or criminals know that you are about to bring a paddle and give a spanking?

Steve Fouga

gecroix, I don't think it matters anymore, or else the status of the case wouldn't have been released. I bet the noose is already drawn too tight. There have been less-certain, but similar, articles during the past year or so, and these folks are still hanging around. They are probably under near-constant surveillance.

As for the NYT publishing military plans, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of (unless it was done to set the bait for future trickery...). aside from unscrupulous news sources, our military and federal government in general is too open in announcing military and economic strategy. IMO.

Miss Priss

"they know we're coming for them" ....It's great red letter verbiage to tell the paper ..... It's just that the exact same words were said in the paper about the same case about two years ago.

The problem is that the community this took place in knows who did it..... Gossip ya know which turns into common knowledge.

George Croix

Well, we certainly need more gossip presented as news in the newspapers...[wink]
I just can't quite get a handle on how it's a good thing to show your cards before all the bets have been placed.
Personally, I'd feel like heck if some bad boy got away because of a tip off that he was about to be arrested.
Maybe I'm just too sensitive....[beam][beam][beam][beam]

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