The Murder of Sandra Brown: A Timeline 45 Years Later


On August 10th, 1978, the body of Kewanee resident Sandra Brown was found in a ravine alongside IL-78 north of Kewanee. Her throat had been violently slashed and led to her death. The discovery of Sandra Brown’s body came just over 48 hours after she’d been reported missing by her husband, Boyd Brown, on the morning of Tuesday, August 8th, 1978. Below is a timeline of the Sandra Brown case as compiled via news stories and interviews with members of law enforcement and local reporters.

Between 11:20 and 11:40 on Monday, August 7th, 1978 Sandra Brown leaves her home at 123 East Prospect Street in Kewanee to take her dog for a walk.

At approximately 11:40 PM on Monday August 7th, a witness reports seeing a woman with a dog standing at the curb in front of First United Methodist Church, located at 108 East Central Boulevard in Kewanee.

At approximately midnight, Tuesday, August 8th, two of Sandra Brown’s sons went to look for their mother.

At approximately 12:30 AM the two sons returned having not located their mother in their neighborhood search.

At approximately 4:30 AM on Tuesday, August 8th, Boyd Brown awoke to find his wife was still not home. Brown then went to the Kewanee Police Department to report his wife missing.

At a time unknown on Thursday, August 10th, the dog belonging to the Brown family returned home after having been missing since Tuesday. The dog is said to have been covered in burrs that may be consistent with the dog having been at the scene of the crime. This detail is never confirmed by Police or the family.

At approximately 6:15 PM on Thursday, August 10th, the body of Sandra Brown was found by a man who was cutting grass and weeds.

At approximately 6:30 PM Henry County Coroner Gil Case arrived at the scene where the body was found, a ravine off of IL-78. At the time, Case was the owner of the property on which the body was found.

At approximately 7:10 PM on August 10th, Deputy Shirley Nelson arrived the scene where the body was found. Deputy Nelson then contacted Officer Sopiars of the Kewanee Police Department who arrived at the scene minutes later. Neither, at that time, were able to identify the body.

At approximately 7:25 PM Officer Sopiars contacted Kewanee Police Chief Dave K. Anderson and stated that the body found on the edge of town may be that of Sandra Brown though no official determination had been made. Sopiars was told to contact Investigators Kenneth Ince and Jim Kursock.

At approximately 10:25 PM Investigators and Henry County Coroner Gil Case made the determination, based on available evidence, that the body was indeed that of Sandra Brown.

At approximately 10:30 PM Coroner Gil Case and Officer Sopiars went to the Kewanee Boiler Shop to locate Boyd Brown, the husband of Sandra Brown. Not finding him there, they went on to Mr. Brown’s home at 123 Prospect Street.

At approximately 11:05 PM Coroner Case and Officer Sopiars arrived at 123 Prospect Street and informed Boyd Brown that they had located his wife’s body. Case and Sopiars did not tell Mr. Brown that his wife had been murdered or where her body had been found. Mr. Brown stated that he “I thought something like this would happen. Was she hit by a car?” Officer Sopiars noted in a report included in the Henry County Coroner’s Report that ‘at no time did Mr. Brown express any remorse.’ Mr. Brown ended the interaction by telling Coroner Case that if he needed anything else, Mr. Brown could found the following morning at the Boiler Shop after 7 AM.

At approximately 12:04 AM on Friday, August 11th, the body of Sandra Brown was removed from the scene and taken to Creamer Funeral Parlor in Kewanee. At that time several tests were conducted as evidence in the death of Sandra Brown.

On Friday, August 11th at an unspecified time, Luis J. Garcia M.D examined the body of Sandra Brown and determined the cause of death as Acute Massive Hemorrhage as a result of a Homicidal Cut.

Also on Friday, August 11th, following the examination by Dr. Garcia, Henry County State’s Attorney Jeff O’Connor held a press conference and told members of the media that there appeared to be ‘No clear motive’ for the murder of Sandra Brown.

Thursday, August 17th, Kewanee Police Department sets up a roadblock near the scene where the body of Sandra Brown was found on August 10th. Police conducted the roadblock close to midnight in hope of finding someone who traveled this route regularly who might have seen something out of the ordinary one week prior. The roadblock turns up little in terms of new evidence but establishes for Police, details regarding Sandra Brown’s movements that night that have yet to be revealed to the public. Details that only Kewanee Police and Sandra Brown’s killer are aware of. Drivers who passed through the area help to establish a timeline of when Sandra Brown was last seen by anyone and reveals conflicting reports regarding whether or not she had indeed walked to the scene where she was later found dead.




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