DNA and Determination Lead to Arrest in 19-Year-Old Attempted Murder Investigation

Dickinson Police Department Chief Ron Morales, Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk, and FBI Houston Division Special Agent in Charge Richard Powers announce the arrest of 40-year-old Dennis Earl Bradford of North Little Rock, Arkansas. North Little Rock Police Department patrol units, assisted by Dickinson Police Detective Tim Cromie, Houston FBI Special Agent Richard Rennison, and FBI agents in Little Rock, Arkansas, arrested Bradford without incident near his home this morning. Bradford is charged with attempted capital murder in the 19-year-old investigation of the abduction of Jennifer Schuett (Pictured on the left) of Dickinson, Texas.

An affidavit filed in Galveston County, Texas on October 7, 2009 alleges that on August 10, 1990, when Jennifer Schuett was eight years old, she was taken against her will from her bedroom by Bradford. Bradford proceeded to drive Schuett to a remote location, sexually assault her, and slit her throat from ear to ear, leaving her for dead. She was discovered approximately 14 hours later by children playing in a nearby field.

Over the years, many dedicated law enforcement professionals from Dickinson Police Department, assisted by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Texas Department of Public Safety Rangers Division, attempted to identify the man responsible for the crime that shocked the community. With few leads to go on, it proved to be a very difficult task.

Approximately 18 months ago, the Dickinson Police Department requested FBI assistance in developing new leads on this unsolved crime. Because of advances in DNA testing, key pieces of evidence were sent to the FBI laboratory for advanced testing. A male DNA profile was successfully extracted, and that profile matched an existing DNA profile in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, that of Dennis Earl Bradford of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Research conducted immediately after receiving news of the genetic match indicated that Bradford was arrested in 1987 in Dickinson for traffic offenses. His address of record at the time of the arrest was 500 Tanglewood in Dickinson, less than one quarter of a mile from Jennifer Schuett’s residential address of 3206 Lobit Drive.

Bradford is currently being held in Pulaski County, Arkansas, awaiting extradition to Galveston County. Galveston County District Attorney Sistrunk advises that if Bradford chooses to fight extradition, a Governor’s Warrant will be issued and hearings will be held in Arkansas to resolve the issue. In the coming weeks, a date will be scheduled to present the charge and the evidence to a Galveston County grand jury for indictment.

The investigation is ongoing, and the public’s assistance is requested in gathering all information pertinent to this case. Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Houston office of the FBI at (713) 693-5000.