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Family still dealing with loss of daughter

Forty-three years ago today,

Posted: September 1, 2009 10:34 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2009 5:30 a.m.
 

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the death of Betty Brazil, a Santa Clarita Valley-born woman who was gunned down behind the Bob's Big Boy in Lakewood where she worked.

She was 21.

Family members, who still live in the Santa Clarita Valley, fondly recall their lost daughter and sister.

"We were a very close family. She was always here; she looked after the younger kids - someone you could depend on," said mother Dalpho Brazil.
Betty Sue Brazil was born March 20, 1945, to Dalpho and James Brazil.

She was killed Sept. 2, 1966, by a single gunshot wound to the head.

"(I remember) how kind and loving and giving she was to her family," said Sharon Gibbs, Betty's sister.

"It was heartbreaking, as you can imagine," said Dalpho Brazil.

Gibbs recalls the day she heard the news.

"(It was) probably the saddest day that I can ever remember going through," she said. "To know that my mother had lost her oldest child and to see the pain she was going through."

Originally, detectives classified Betty Brazil's case a suicide. And it remained so until Gibbs teamed up with cold-case detective Bob Waschmuth and worked to change it.

In 2006, a witness who withheld information for more than 40 years came forward with a new story, investigators said.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office revised Betty Brazil's cause of death in December 2008.

"You live for 42 years with that hanging over my sisters' (memory)," said Gibbs. "She wouldn't have done it to herself."
The change from "suicide" to "homicide" meant a lot to the family.

"We were excited," Gibbs said. "That was a great success for us."

Sheriff's officials ask anyone with information about Brazil's death to call homicide Lt. Paul Becker at (323) 890-5500.

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