2017-12-06 / Front Page

Brooks’ letters shed new light on investigation

by Kate Shunney

Police have recovered a 40-page document written by the woman found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene of a house fire on New Hope Road on November 25.

Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer said Patricia Ann Brooks wrote the letter, which was partly a catalog of grievances against her husband and his family. Brooks sent it to herself by mail with a note saying she hoped someone scanned and posted the letter. Police obtained the letter by search warrant.

Investigators were told that Brooks went to the Morgan County Public Library on November 21 – four days before her death and the house fire — and scanned the lengthy document in order to email it.

On Monday, Bohrer said he doesn’t know who else may have received a copy of the letter.

Police have also determined that Brooks sent messages to the Social Security Administration on November 21 telling them to stop sending checks to her husband, Carroll Brooks, and her son, Carl Brooks, because they were deceased. The son apparently received payments due to a diagnosed mental health condition.

The sheriff had also said Patricia Brooks had stopped mail delivery to the New Hope Road home earlier in the week and had taken out a new post office box in Berkeley Springs prior to the fire.

Two bodies found in the rubble of the family’s home, which burned to the ground in the early morning hours of November 25, are presumed to be the husband and son.

Investigators found Carroll Brooks, 73, wrapped in what appeared to be a blue plastic tarp in the basement of the collapsed burned house. A second body was found in the house. Police believe it is Carl Brooks, 33.

Sheriff Bohrer has also said state medical examiners found a bullet in one of the victim’s bodies, supporting an earlier theory that at least one of the men was already dead when the fire began.

Patricia Brooks, 53, was found in the yard of the burning home sitting in the front seat of her SUV. She was wearing a seatbelt and had a gunshot wound to the chest.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office continue to investigate the case. Sheriff Bohrer said the new information supports theories that no other person was involved in the deaths.

Assistant Fire Marshal George Harms said he has submitted evidence for testing and when that is analyzed, he will make a determination about the cause of the house fire. The state has confirmed that their case is an arson investigation.

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