NH1 Investigates: Tips still sought in 25-year-old Belmont cold case
CONCORD - "It's a daily loss. It's been 25 years but for us it's a daily thing that we deal with," said Elaine Braley of Belmont.
On November 10, 1989, Elaine's 21 year old son David never came home. Four months later, his body surfaced in the Merrimack River in Manchester.
His death is a mystery that has stumped the state's Cold Case Unit, and the Braley family, for a quarter century.
On the night he was last seen, David Braley left work, met up with friends for dinner and then went to the now defunt Take 5 Music Hall night club in Concord.
"At somepoint somesort of altercation occured inside the club and he was asked to leave. The question mark seems to be whether some sort of altercation took place outside of the club afterwards," said Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati.
That's where the evidence trail ends.
For four months his family did everything they could to try to find their son.
"You just have a fear that they're somewhere and they just cant get back to you," Elaine Braley said.
The Braley's spoke with investigators, the media, offered a reward, even waited outside The Take 5 to speak with regulars.
The Braley's said there were a handful of times when people told them they knew 'something' about what happened to David. But when approached by investigators those same witnesses had nothing to report.
Among the details that are unclear, is how David's body ended up in the river in Manchester.
The medical examiner determined he had died of blunt force trauma, but did not rule his death as a homicide because the damage could have occured during the time his remains were in the river.
The Braley family said finding David's body was one step toward closure, but 25 years without anyone being held accountable is a mixed battle of sadness, frustration and anger.
"It's a hole in your heart. There would be anways when you've lost a child but the unresolved trauma, that's really hard," said Elaine.
In speaking with NH1, investigators and the Braleys are hoping a witness, maybe someone with a family of their own now, will have a change of heart and come forward with information, no matter how small.
"I would hope that someone 25 years later who knew somethingabout it or was possibly involved, or maybe just heard about it over the years might feel like this was a good time to come forward," Elaine Braley said.
In quoting sportswriter Frank Deford, Agati said: "the loss of a child, it never gets easier. Somedays it's softer but it never gets easier."
The Cold Case Unit has been created to close heartbreaking chapters and increase the number of 'soft days' for family's like the Braleys, Agati said.
If you have any information about what may have happened to David Braley, tips can be sent to the Cold Case Unit or to the Concord Crimeline at 226-3100. Tips can be anonymous.