Door County Sheriff’s Department Investigates Double Homicide

Tragedies like last weekend’s alleged double-homicide don’t often occur in Door County, but officials say they were prepared for the investigation and follow up on the death of Alisha Bromfield and her unborn child.

Brian Cooper, a 35-year-old man from Illinois, allegedly killed Bromfield at the Sand Bay Beach Resort in Nasewaupee after they attended his sister’s wedding. Cooper later called 911 from Bhirdo’s gas station in Sister Bay to turn himself in.

“We’re trained to handle pretty much any incident that occurs up here,” said Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel. “It went very smoothly; we have protocol.”

The case is considered a double-homicide because Bromfield was six and a half months pregnant at the time of her death. According to Wisconsin statute, any person who intentionally causes the death of the mother in order to destroy the life of an unborn child is guilty of homicide.

While the last homicide in Door County occurred on Christmas Eve in 2001, when one man stabbed another with a sword, Vogel said local officers are trained in death investigations and do them often.

“Very seldom do they turn into homicides, but you still use your techniques, your interview techniques, processing of crime scenes,” Vogel said. “In some respects it’s not much different than [investigating] other crimes.”

In a case that’s high profile and sensitive, Vogel said officers need to remain professional.

“It’s tough to balance the compassion versus the anger element sometimes,” Vogel said. “Our officers really did an outstanding job.”

The department got help from the state’s mobile crime lab to investigate the scene. County officers have also been to the home of the suspect and victim to gather more information.

Door County District Attorney Ray Pelrine said he thinks the investigation into the incident was very thorough.

“Considering the size of the sheriff’s office and our office, you might not be surprised if a corner was cut or a lead wasn’t followed up on, but I can’t think of anything I would want done in this investigation that hasn’t been done,” he said.

Pelrine has been working as a prosecutor since 1984. He served as assistant district attorney in Door County, district attorney in Eau Claire County, and a special prosecutor before becoming Door County’s district attorney.

In that time he’s prosecuted at least 10 cases of intentional homicide.

“I’m as comfortable with this case as I am with any other case,” Pelrine said.

Pelrine is satisfied that he has ample proof to pursue the case against Cooper, which will likely include two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of third-degree sexual assault.

“Thankfully, we’ve been able to avoid such terrible tragedies for a long time, but this is a reminder that it can come to our doorstep,” Pelrine said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

Because Door County has a reputation for silent sports, wine tours and quaint shops, news of the homicide has spread as far as California and Great Britain.

The Door County Visitor Bureau is responsible for marketing the area and has chosen not to address the incident.

“This is something that could have happened anywhere, in any city, in any town, in any hamlet of America,” said Jack Moneypenny, president of the visitor bureau. “It was a domestic dispute gone bad.”