Slain Trucker’s Stepdaughter Arrested For His Murder
UPDATE: Police have now made a second arrest in the case. Click HERE for the latest.
Marion County, Florida – The stepdaughter of a trucker who was killed earlier this year, in what family members described as an early morning “ambush,” has been arrested for his murder.
30-year-old Katrina Kelly of Ocala, Florida was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on Tuesday, June 18, at a residence in the Fore Ranch area in Marion County, according to officials.
Kelly is to face a charge of second degree murder in the death of her deceased stepfather, Elias Bratcher.
She is being held at the Marion County Jail awaiting transfer to Orange County where the alleged murder took place.
Bratcher was found shot to death in his vehicle in the early morning hours of March 24, 2019.
Bratcher’s wife, Deborah, answered a call to Bratcher’s phone at approximately 3:00 a.m. from someone identifying as “the police.”
The caller told Deborah the trailer doors on Bratcher’s tractor-trailer were open and needed to be secured.
Bratcher routinely parked his big rig around the corner from their Apopka, FL, home on Marden Road.
Deborah told local news outlet Fox35 that Bratcher was asleep at the time the call came in.
She woke him up. She recalled, “He didn’t wanna go, then he said ‘let me go.'”
Bratcher then made the short drive over to check out the situation.
When he did not return right away, Deborah became concerned.
After trying to reach him by phone, she made her way to the scene.
When she arrived she said she discovered Bratcher’s vehicle parked behind the tractor-trailer.
“I saw the bullet holes in the window. I say, ‘Oh God, I hope he’s not here.’ I got out of the car. I open the driver’s window. Oh God. They shot him in the head and I don’t know where else they shot him at,” she said to Fox35.
According to investigators, a resident in the area reported hearing seven shots at 3:25 a.m.
The witness claims she saw brake lights and headlights along with someone wearing a hat come to the passenger’s side of Bratcher’s Kia.
She heard one or two more shots and saw another vehicle parked on the side of the road, according to officials.
Bratcher was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:43 a.m.
“He was ambushed,” Deborah told Fox35. “He didn’t even get out of the car. From the time he pulled up, they started shooting. It wasn’t a robbery, this was personal. Someone wanted him dead.”
Police have yet to provide details about why they believe Kelly was involved in the killing or why she may have wanted to harm Bratcher.
According to police, Deborah said someone had been making allegations against Bratcher for years in an effort to convince her to divorce him.
The police report redacts that person’s identity.
“He didn’t have no enemies. He was a great person,” Deborah told Fox35 in an April interview.
WATCH more from that interview below courtesy of Fox35/YouTube.
Police have not indicated if Kelly is suspected of having an accomplice.
We expect to learn more from prosecutors in the coming days.
Stay with TransportationNation.com for more on this developing story.
(Featured image courtesy of Bratcher family/Orange County Sheriff’s Dept./Marion County Police)