Six months after fatal hit and run, victim’s family still seeks answers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 29, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — It’s been six months since the last time her friends and family last saw Brandi Bost alive.
Erica Loftis, one of Bost’s best friends since the age of 6, had gone to dinner with her and a group of friends on Friday, June 28.
It was raining hard in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29 – “monsooning,” Loftis said.
At daybreak, her car was found in a ditch on Hilton Lake Road. Loftis said she thinks her friend overcorrected and ran off the road.
And Bost’s body was found at the intersection of Centergrove Road and Penninger Road, less than a mile from her road. She had been struck by a vehicle, authorities say, probably between 3:30 and 4 a.m.
It’s been six months since her friends and family had to say goodbye to Bost, 35, and they say her absence is still a daily wound.
Her mother, Pam, says her faith has helped her through it. In a phone interview, Pam Bost said she’s reached a point where she can cry, and that helps her some.
“Brandi, she was just a person that loved people,” Pam Bost said. “She loved doing things for people.”
For those who were sick, “she was always taking them a little something, just to help them out. She was always happy, just a good person, and she was lovable.”
Her cousin, Emily Reeder, said Brandi was like a sister. Her children, ages 3 and 5 at the time, called her “Aunt B.”
Their grandparents’ home is about half a mile from where Bost was killed. Her friends and family drive past the spot daily.
“Every time that I ride by there, it just opens the wound back up,” Reeder said.
“We’re very lost without her,” Loftis said. “She was a true blessing in all our lives, and we miss her dearly.”
And what makes the whole thing worse, they say, is that somebody knows how Brandi died, and has decided not to tell.
Sgt. G.A. Barger, supervisor with the N.C. Highway Patrol in Concord, was one of two troopers who responded to the accident on the morning of June 29.
Barger said he has been investigating incidents for 14 years, “and I have never seen one like this.”
This is nothing like what you might see on TV crime shows, Barger said. “We had absolutely zero to work with.”
There were no vehicle parts, no tire tracks that could be lifted, no sign of anything to indicate what happened, he said.
“We have relied solely on tips,” Barger said. “We’ve probably checked out 50 Crime Stoppers tips and concerned citizens within the area,” Barger said.
To make matters worse, Barger said, the State Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab still has not processed Bost’s clothing, which could provide forensic evidence to help narrow down the search.
Ironically, Barger said the SBI had told him they were unable to rush processing of Bost’s case because there was no suspect in her death.
That analysis might reveal clues that could trace back to the vehicle involved. Usually, Barger said, investigators will look for a vehicle with damage that could indicate it had struck something.
But by now, he said, the chances of finding such evidence would be slim. It’s almost certain that whoever hit Brandi has long since repaired any damage to the vehicle, he said.
“We would need somebody who saw what happened,” Barger said, “or perhaps the person who struck her told somebody else and they would come forward.”
In the meantime, Barger said, the case remains open, “and it will always remain open until we find something.”
Her brother, Jeremy Bost, said that whoever killed Brandi took away a fun-loving, caring person who was staunchly loyal to her friends.
“She gave people the benefit of the doubt,” Jeremy Bost said. “She was one of those kinds of people that was very outgoing … who saw the good in people.”
On the morning of June 29, Erica Loftis was at home with her husband, C.J., and their two kids.
The phone rang. It was Kara Smith, a mutual friend, calling with the news that Brandi had been killed.
“I just dropped to my knees in tears,” Loftis said. “My husband was the same way. Brandi was a huge part of our lives.”
Brandi had been there when both of the Loftis children were born.
Reeder, her cousin, said Brandi was like a sister.
Choking back tears, Reeder recalled how she found out about Brandi’s death.
She was the one who had to break the news to Jeremy, her brother, who was about to go on a trip.
And then, she had to call Erica.
It’s been even harder on Reeder’s kids, she said.
“Especially my daughter, the 3-year-old,” Reeder said. “I mean, she thinks we can just get in my Jeep and drive to heaven and bring Brandi back.”
Christmas time has been difficult for the family, Pam Bost said. She told how Brandi loved writing letters from Santa Claus to her friends’ children.
“She always knew the right words to say,” Pam said.
On what would have been Brandi’s 36th birthday, Pam said, they got down the Christmas tree and decorated it with her favorite birds, owls.
Then they went up to O’Charley’s and had a birthday party for Brandi.
Now that Christmas is over, Pam said, “it’s going to be hard to go and take a lot of this stuff down, you know, because every time you look at that, you remember her.”
There’s only one person who can fill in the missing details and help Brandi’s family find closure, and that’s the person who was behind the wheel that night six months ago.
“Obviously, it would never bring Brandi back,” Loftis said, “but I feel it would be closure for her family and her friends.”
Loftis was one of the last people to see Brandi Bost alive. They’d met up for dinner the night before, “and everyone went their separate ways,” she said.
What makes it even more painful, family and friends say, is that every day, they drive past the spot where Bost was killed.
Not only that, but Reeder said she thinks the person responsible lives in the area.
“They may be driving by there every day,” Reeder said. “It’s a rural part of the county, it’s not a road you would just travel down.”
“That’s one of the hard things,” Reeder went on. “Every car that goes by, you know that could be the one.”
“Obviously, we don’t know,” Jeremy Bost said, “but the location of the hit-and-run was on one of those roads that you don’t travel. It’s not a main thoroughfare.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know who it could be,” he said. “It makes sense that it would be somebody who knew the area.”
In addition to the $1,000 reward being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever struck and killed Brandi Bost, family and friends have raised almost $3,000 more in private donations, Loftis said.
“There’s someone out there that has answers that would put a family at ease,” Loftis said.
If she could speak to that person directly, Loftis said, she would tell them this: “Please put yourself in Brandi’s friends’ and family’s shoes,” Erica said.
“There’s a family out there that would like closure,” Barger said. “They can’t move on with their lives until they find out what happened. Not only does this person need to be brought to justice, but this family needs closure.”
“I would want that person to act like a decent human being, just come forward and admit to the crime that they committed, and take the punishment as a decent person would do,” Reeder said. “That’s all that we can ask for. Nothing can bring her back, but you just have to be a good person and do the right thing.”
Breaking into tears, Reeder went on: “I want to know that the person feels remorseful for taking her life, and for leaving her laying in the middle of the street, because she didn’t deserve that. Nobody deserves that. At least they could have called for help.”
Pam Bost said her daughter never forgot about her friends and family, and they will never forget her.
For Brandi Bost’s friends and family, their only hope is that whoever knows what happened to Brandi won’t forget what happened, either … and that they’ll finally decide to do what’s right.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.