Details of Disappearance
Brandi was abducted from her family's home in San Bernadino, California on March 30, 1977 with her younger half-sister, Tiffani Wise. Their mother, Beverly Wise, was discovered stabbed to death inside their residence. The girls' eight-month old sister was left behind unharmed. Brandi's father was Roy Summers, Beverly's ex-husband. Tiffani's father was Claude Wise; a family photo is posted below this case summary.
Witnesses reported seeing a Caucasian male outside the family's home that day, putting Tiffani into a gold Camaro. They did not see Brandi. The man had short reddish-brown hair and wore a black leather jacket. The man resembled Roy. Authorities spoke to him during the week after Beverly's murder and did not believe he was involved in the case; however, subsequent events changed their minds.
After Beverly's murder there were unconfirmed sightings of the children and Roy in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Utah. Roy had been married seven times, and had a long history of violent behavior towards his wives. He was located in Redmond, Oregon in November 1979 and arrested, and photographs of Brandi and Tiffani, as well a some of the girls' belongings, were found in his home. In early January 1980, after Roy's arrest, the girls may have been sighted in California.
In early 1980, authorities arrested Juanita "Tiny" Iwakiri and charged her with second-degree kidnapping in the girls' cases; they believe she helped Roy hide them by keeping the girls in her day-care center. Iwakiri admitted she had cared for Brandi and Tiffani, but said she didn't know who the girls were or that they were missing. The charge relating to Brandi was dropped before trial. Iwakiri was convicted in Tiffani's case and sentenced to five years in prison, but released on probation after just four months. The conviction was later overturned.
In February 1980, Lee Allan Casner was charged with being an accessory to Beverly's murder and the kidnappings. The girls were reportedly seen in his care in Nevada County, California. Roy's sister, Karen Carino, was arrested in Virginia in 1979 and charged as an accessory, because Roy, Tiffani and Brandi were allegedly seen at her home in 1979 after Beverly's murder. The outcome of these charges is unknown.
Roy, who has been married at least seven times, has a history of violence towards women. He got married to Ella Mae "Connie" Kohler in June 1979 and assaulted her in October that year; she stated he broke her arm, choked her until she passed out, dragged her under a jacked-up car and tried to drop the car on her. She had to be hospitalized. Kohler said Roy also threatened her and told her had killed before. After Kohler was released from the hospital in November, Roy allegedly assaulted both her and his mother with a knife.
At his trial for the October 1979 incident, Roy admitted he had choked his wife, but claimed he'd done it in self-defense during an argument. He was convicted of second-degree assault, but acquitted of attempted murder. The charges related to the November incident were dropped. After serving a year in jail, he was transferred to California to stand trial for Beverly's murder and Brandi and Tiffani's abductions. However, he never was brought to trial; key witnesses against him had been hypnotised to improve their memories, and the state had passed laws that disallowed testimony gained through hypnosis.
Brandi called her grandmother, Dona (may be spelled "Donna"), "Big Grandma" in 1977. Their grandfather's name is Dick. Brandi was born in San Jose, California. She had a petite stature at the time of her abduction; she and Tiffani were approximately the same size, although there is a three-year age difference between them. Tiffani and Brandi's whereabouts remain unknown.
Clockwise: Tiffani, Claude and Brandi, circa 1977