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only get one chance to live your life, so live it the way you want to,
enjoying every second of it, never thinking back about past mistakes, but
only thinking ahead to waking up to a new and better tomorrow.” - Wade
Brandy Hall Palm Bay, Fl - Brandy
Hall is a 32 year old mother of two and a well liked and dedicated Fire
Fighter. She has been missing since August 17, 2006, where she was last
seen leaving work at the Malabar Fire Department around 10:45 pm in her
dark green Chevy truck. - click
here for more info....
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Search and Rescue -
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What happened to Brandy Hall?
Vigilant search for clues in firefighter's disappearance turns cold
MELBOURNE - Her nickname growing up in Holopaw was "Redneck," and to friends, Brandy Hall was always one of the "Bull Creek Girls" -- as comfortable flying down the St. Johns River on an airboat as others might be driving a car on the interstate.
A firefighter and gentle mother to two children, she could be tough or as beautiful as any woman, friends and family said.
But behind the adventuresome free spirit, she worried in the past few months about a stalled career, mounting bills and her troubled marriage, they said.
A major concern for the Malabar volunteer firefighter was that husband Jeffrey Hall's conviction in a $1 million marijuana-growing operation in Osceola County could backfire on her or her children.
Tuesday marks two months since she disappeared. Her muddied pickup -- containing what police called "substantial amounts" of her blood -- was fished out of a murky Palm Bay pond Aug. 18 and the 33-year-old's mysterious disappearance continues to generate suspicions on all sides.
Was it suicide, murder or did Brandy Hall choose to leave behind her problems?
Whatever the answer, detectives and loved ones are continuing efforts to find her. But now police are saying they are
"The trail has gone cold," said Palm Bay Police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez. "It's not only a who-done-it. It's a what happened?"
One telling moment in the case came when Osceola County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Boutilier pulled Hall aside during a July 2005 search of her airboat-building business in Melbourne.
"I asked Brandy if I could talk to her about her involvement in the grow operation," Boutilier wrote in a report. "She stated, 'I don't want to talk to you guys, people will do anything to get even.' "
Friends aid search
White dust rises from unpaved Crabgrass Road as trucks pass in front of the property where Brandy Lynn Rogge Hall grew up in Holopaw.
A 2004 lightning strike caused a fire that burned down the old house where she lived, and a white mobile home now fills the void.
Not much else has changed there since her family moved to the property in 1982.
Stands of cypress and pine trees surround the expanse where she rode horses, airboats and three-wheel ATVs with her friends, half a dozen teens who called themselves "The Bull Creek Girls" in high school.
They named themselves for the waterway that runs through the 23,000-acre Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area.
When the blonde-haired girl was 11, an ATV rolled on top of her, crushing the right side of her face and leaving her with permanent scars and constant headaches, her family said.
Newspaper clippings show "Karate Kid" movie star Pat Morita visited her in the hospital and friends held a fundraiser to help with $10,000 in medical bills.
But she never let the injuries stop her, they said.
"She was the only female I knew who would get on an airboat and take it wide open and not care where she was going," said Renee Berezein, 34, another Bull Creek Girl.
In fact, Brandy's father, Cliff Rogge, gave her a big truck and an airboat for her 16th birthday.
She would ride around in both wearing wrangler jeans and a bikini top.
"Once, she caught a (21/2 foot) alligator, taped its mouth shut and let him loose in the Burger King in St. Cloud," said Denise Farbsten, 34, a high school friend of Brandy. She laughed at the memory.
"They kicked us out and told us not to come back."
Today, those same friends still meet, but now they search for her along canals, wooded lots and the thick palmetto brush surrounding the Palm Bay pond where Hall's truck was found.
"I've sat and wondered when all this happened, how the hell could she have gotten into this mess?" Farbsten said.
"I can't change it and there's nothing I can do about it. What I'd like to do is find her for her father and her daughter. The detectives, let them take care of the rest of it."
The drug case
By all accounts, Brandy's life began unraveling in July 2005, when her husband -- the former Osceola County fire chief -- and onetime firefighter and partner Paul Hirsch were arrested.
The two were charged with growing marijuana on the Halls' 13-acre Holopaw property.
The sophisticated operation used diesel-fueled generators to power grow lights inside a mobile home and barn for four years.
Investigators said the pair sold about 40 pounds of "Crippy," a particularly potent strain of marijuana, to one buyer every two months, easily clearing a $30,000 profit, investigators said.
The buyer was not named in police documents.
Investigators were tipped off to the operation by an anonymous caller, prompting four deputies to hike through the woods and climb over a fence onto the property without a search warrant.
Nothing could be seen from the air or from any side of the heavily wooded compound.
The deputies were met with the scent of drying marijuana as they neared the Halls' mobile home and barn.
They left and returned with the required search warrant.
Deputies also found $70,000 in equipment, some of which they said was bought through Brandy's airboat business in Melbourne.
"Brandy Hall told me that she knew that her husband was manufacturing cannabis, but she just looked the other way," Deputy Boutilier wrote in a report.
"Jeffrey Hall told Sgt. Devlin that his wife had warned him that he would eventually be caught by law enforcement for manufacturing the cannabis," he wrote
Brandy was arrested several days after her husband and Hirsch, but the charges were dropped this past July 11.
Her mother, Debbie Rogge, said Brandy believed her husband when he told her the mobile home had been rented out, and Brandy never visited the property.
"I asked her and she told me that she would never jeopardize her job or her kids for anything, and I believe her," her mother said.
But the Palm Bay Fire Department didn't believe Brandy and fired the 10-year veteran in December 2005, despite a decade's worth of exemplary performance reviews.
Suddenly, the couple, without any tangible income, were out of work and under the shadow of suspicion.
Brandy turned to friends for work as the prospect of her children losing their father to state prison loomed.
She also joined the Malabar Volunteer Fire Department, for which she was not paid.
In June, Jeffrey Hall and Hirsch pleaded guilty.
On Aug. 18, the day after his wife last was seen, Hall received a sentence of 18 months in prison and 42 months probation. Hirsch received the same sentence.
Both are free as their attorneys appeal the ruling, based on the deputies' search without a warrant.
No new clues
The night before Brandy vanished, she spent about an hour and a half at her grandmother's home, looking though the
phonebook for possible places to work.
"Does that sound like someone who's going to run away?" her grandmother Margie McGinnis asked.
Investigators say whatever happened to Brandy Hall took place sometime after 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, the night before her husband's sentencing hearing, when she left the Malabar Volunteer Fire Department for the last time.
Brandy broke away from doing inventory and said she needed to travel to Kissimmee the next day for her husband's sentencing, Malabar Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Gianatonio said.
Although she was scheduled to work until the next morning, she said she was going home.
A surveillance video released by the Palm Bay Police Department shows Brandy standing in the fire-house living room, talking with colleagues and looking relaxed before walking out the door and driving away.
The next day, a fisherman found her firefighting gear in a bag bobbing in a hidden pond off Treeland Boulevard.
Police arrived at the pond about 3:30 p.m. and spotted a fuel slick on the water.
The cooler Brandy kept in the back of her truck was floating a few feet away. The soda and beer inside was still cold to the touch, records show.
A police dog sniffed the west side of the pond, but found nothing.
Once Brandy's Chevy pickup was pulled out of the pond, investigators, their shoes crusted with mud and dirt from the pond's embankment, had more to work with, but little to go on.
For 30 hours, detectives refused to release any information on Hall, including her name or photo, saying that this was no ordinary missing person case.
"This entire situation is odd. When you step back and look at it, there are so many things that could have happened to her," Palm Bay Detective Jess Suelter said.
"But until we find Brandy Hall, you don't know," he said.
Suelter added that once detectives learned Brandy's history -- the marijuana operation, her husband's conviction, her numerous platonic relationships with fellow firefighters -- "it did raise suspicions.
"But there are also times when people just get up and leave," Suelter said. "Until you get evidence that there's foul play, it's treated as a missing persons case."
That evidence came when "substantial amounts of blood" found in the cab of the truck were identified by the lab as being Brandy's.
Investigators eventually drained part of the pond to search for clues, but it failed to yield Brandy's body.
During another search, a well-worn cell phone was recovered. But it may not be hers, officials said.
In the first few days, investigators pieced together Brandy's last contacts, even her moods, from friends and family.
Police said Jeffrey Hall was at home with his children the night Brandy disappeared. He has custody of the boy and girl.
"The last thing she told me was that Jeff (messed) up her life," said Stacey Jellison, 30, the youngest of the Bull Creek Girls. "She held a huge grudge about him. It grabbed her job right out from under her."
Detectives subpoenaed bank records, phone transactions, even e-mail records.
So far, nothing has surfaced -- no withdrawals, no phone messages, no hints Brandy is alive.
Her last phone calls were made to two people, including a Palm Bay firefighter investigators say remains one of several "persons of interest" in the case.
"(The firefighter) did speak to her the night she disappeared. We did talk to him, but he has since gotten a lawyer," Suelter said of the unnamed Palm Bay firefighter.
The firefighter's department-issued sport utility vehicle was turned over to forensics investigators. No preliminary connections to Brandy were found.
He has not spoken to FLORIDA TODAY.
Never leave her kids
Jeffrey Hall spoke with FLORIDA TODAY in an interview the week after his wife's disappearance. He said he was worried.
"I'm scared to death," Hall said in August, two attorneys at his side. "Somebody's got to know something. If somebody's seen Brandy, call the authorities."
After he made his brief statement and answered two questions, his attorneys quickly ushered him out of a conference room.
They said their client has nothing to do with his wife's disappearance, but they won't allow him to speak to police or again to FLORIDA TODAY.
Despite Brandy's troubles, friends and family say it was never enough to make the tough tomboy with a pierced tongue and ankle tattoo of Tweety Bird run from it all.
Everyone agrees on one thing: She would not abandon her children. Brandy and Jeffrey Hall have a 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
"She would never leave her kids on her own," said her grandmother, tears in her eyes. "If she left, she was forced to do so. She loved those kids with all her heart."
Rogge said she last spoke to her daughter on the phone at 8:30 p.m. the night she disappeared.
"She sounded fine -- she didn't sound like anything was wrong," Rogge said. "I love her with all my heart. I wish she would hurry and get home. I keep praying to the good Lord."