Paul Brule in early 20s (Courtesy photo Jamie Reed)

Paul Brule in his early 20s (Courtesy photo Jamie Brule Reed)

Paul M. Brule

Homicide

Paul Michael Brule
30 YOA
2118 Sixth Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
Pottawattamie County
July 25, 1998

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Paul Michael Brule, a 30-year-old Council Bluffs, Iowa man who received $10,000 weekly payouts from lottery winnings, was slain in his Sixth Avenue home in the early morning hours on Saturday, July 25, 1998, and his death poorly staged to mimic a suicide.

Brule’s father, Michael Brule, and sisters Michelle (Brule) Stephens and Jamie Brule discovered his lifeless body behind the 2118 Sixth Avenue home after finding his motorcycle out front on its side.

paul-brule-2118-6th-ave-CB-truliaCourtesy photo trulia.com
Paul Brule was found slumped against a tree in the back yard of this 2118 Sixth Avenue home in Council Bluffs on July 25, 1998.

Brule normally parked the bike against the house in the home’s back yard.

The three found Brule’s body slumped against a tree — his knees touching the ground — with a nylon clothesline rope tied around his neck.

Michael Brule reported the incident at 10:54 a.m.

Brule wasn’t breathing when Council Bluffs police arrived, and officials determined time of death as sometime between 1:45 and 7 a.m.

Investigators found no notes left behind or anything else to indicate the death could be ruled a suicide with any certainty.

The night before the murder

Brule seldom parted with family members or friends without saying “I love you.”

Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, IA Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County

The week before his slaying, he’d lost his job, but the weekly lotto payments had already enabled him to make life better for his parents, three siblings and grandmother, all of whom resided in Council Bluffs.

On Friday night, Brule’s younger sister, Jamie, sat on the neighbor’s porch across the street, babysitting the neighbor’s children. Brule rode up to the house on his bike, carrying a bottle of beer, and gave her a big smile. He was going to the home of friends Wendall Vincent and Troy Petersen, he said, to have some drinks.

“Be good. I love you,” he said to Jamie before driving away.

Brule and his brother, Shane Brule, spent part of the evening drinking with Vincent and Petersen.

On weekends, Brule’s sister, Michelle, took over their father’s paper route, with Paul Brule, Shane, or Jamie usually accompanying her. That particular weekend, it was “one of the boys’ turns to go,” Jamie (Brule) Reed told Iowa Cold Cases in personal correspondence sent in June 2015.

Around 11 p.m. Friday night, Michelle went to Vincent and Petersen’s home to get one of her brothers, but said both were too drunk to go with her. Michelle told them to have fun and that she would do the paper route on her own.

Brule decided to leave his friends’ home around midnight, telling both them and his brother he loved them and would see them the following day. Shane Brule would end up spending the night with the friends.

Courtesy The Daily Nonpareil

Courtesy The Daily Nonpareil, July 26, 1998

Jamie arrived home around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and didn’t see anyone at the house except her dad, who was sound asleep. She went to bed.

Michelle finished the paper route and arrived home at about 4:30 a.m. She looked around for “the boys,” but neither appeared to be home, so she went to bed as well.

Later Saturday morning, Jamie, Michelle, and their father found Paul Brule’s body slumped against a tree about 10 to 15 feet from the home’s back door.

Council Bluffs police reported his death “may have been a suicide,” and news about Brule’s death quietly slipped from the news.

‘Please Help’

Though convinced Paul Brule hadn’t taken his own life, his family had no further information until a close associate recently came forward to provide specific details about what really happened the night of Brule’s death. (Tipster’s contact information on file and available to law enforcement personnel.)

According to the tipster, an individual named C.B. (full name and contact info on file for law enforcement) punched an intoxicated Brule in the head in the early morning hours on the back porch of Brule’s Sixth Avenue home.

The source said when Brule fell, his head landed across the threshold of the back porch’s sliding glass door. C.B. then repeatedly slammed the sliding door — striking Brule’s head and neck between the door and its frame — until Brule’s neck appeared broken and his body lifeless.

Two other men, the source said, helped C.B. drag Brule’s body into the home’s back yard, where they wrapped a nylon clothesline rope around Brule’s neck before placing him, on his knees, slumped against a tree in what they hoped would be ruled a suicide by hanging.

Armed with the new information about her brother’s death, Jamie Reed contacted Iowa Cold Cases with more details, ending her letter with a simple plea: “Please Help.”

About Paul Brule

Paul Michael Brule was born December 9, 1967, in Crookston, Minnesota to Michael and Linda Brule.

He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1986 and worked as a laborer.

He was killed in his Council Bluffs, Iowa home Saturday, July 25, 1998, at age 30 years, 7 months and 13 days.

paul-brule-gravestone-billion-gravesCourtesy photo Billiongraves.com
Paul Brule was laid to rest in Garner Township Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, 1998, at McCurdy Funeral Chapel with the Rev. Bill Dolan of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church officiating.

Visitation with the family was held Monday night, July 27, with the family present from 7 to 8 at the funeral home.

Music for the services included “Crimson and Clover” and “Purple Rain.”

Honorary Pallbearers included Joe Brule, Lee May, Patrick White, Wayne May, Al Bates and Troy Peterson.

Paul was laid to rest in Garner Township Cemetery in Council Bluffs following Tuesday’s services.

Survivors included his parents, Michael and Linda Brule of Council Bluffs; two sisters, Michelle Stephens and Jamie Brule, both of Council Bluffs; a brother, Shane, of Council Bluffs; a grandmother, Edith Briggs, of Council Bluffs; and aunts and uncles.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Det. Doug Mann at the Council Bluffs Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (712) 326-2507.

Sources:
  • Jamie (Brule) Reed (victim’s sister), correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, February 2015 to present
  • Det. Doug Mann, Council Bluffs Police Department, June 29, 2015
  • United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch.org, Paul M Brule, 25 Jul 1998; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • BillionGraves Index“, index, FamilySearch.org, Paul M Brule.
  • “In Remembrance,” McCurdy Funeral Home pamphlet for Paul Michael Brule
  • United States Public Records, 1970-2009,” database, FamilySearch.org, Paul M Brule, Residence, Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
  • BRULE, Paul M; 30; Council Bluffs IA; Nonpareil; 1998-7-27; catdan
  • “Obituaries: Paul Brule,” The Daily Nonpareil, July 26, 1998
  • “Bluffs man found dead,” The Daily Nonpareil, July 26, 1998
  • Paul M. Brule (1967 – 1998) — Find a Grave Memorial

 

11 Responses to Paul Brule

  1. We love you Paul you are always in or minds and Hart love you always wendell

  2. I pray someone comes forward. And prayers sent to the family and friends.

  3. thanks wendell. we love and miss him dearly!

  4. DENNIS, MALONE says:

    PAUL, YOU ARE MISSED EVERDAY. YOU, WILL ALWAYS LIVE ON IN ALL OUR HEARTS….YOU, WERE A GOOD FRIEND. I MISS YOU VERY MUCH. ALWAYS ON MY MIND AND IN MY HEART…

  5. DENNIS, MALONE says:

    I, KNOW DEEP DOWN IN MY HEART PAUL WOULD NEVER TAKE IS LIFE. HE, HAD TO MUCH TO LIVE FOR. HE, HAD FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT LOVED AND CARED ABOUT, HIM VERY MUCH. I BEEN FRIENDS WITH THE FAMILY FOR MANY YEARS. I , USE TO BABY SET FOR THE KIDS…PAUL, WAS ALWAYS THERE IF YOU NEED’ED HELP. I TO HOPE AND PRAY SOMEONE COMES FORWARD… ”REST IN PEACE PAUL…. LOVE, AND MISS YU MY FRIEND…

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Dennis, thank you for commenting, and please know that Council Bluffs police detectives *are* currently looking into this case. We’d recently received some new information about this case (I won’t name names here in order to protect identities) but the info was forwarded along to Council Bluffs investigators, who were very interested and now looking further into what initially was a suspected suicide. (And a well staged one at that!) Paul would be so pleased that his friends and family have never given up in seeing justice served in his death. You all (and Paul) deserve nothing less.

  6. That is horrible! How sad for his family to find him like this! Shame on the 3 that did this to him….their day will come!

  7. This is horrible! I pray for the family and friends to get justice.

  8. Brutal. They should be able to solve this!

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