Friday, August 17, 2012

Brenda Lee Harvey: A Mother Taken Too Soon

Brenda Lee Harvey-Martinez

A Daughter's Quest for the Truth

By: Stephanie Bellanca

The weather in Flint, Michigan on the night of December 22, 1988, was cold and overcast. Little did I know that it would become one of the coldest and darkest days of my life. My mother, Brenda Lee Harvey-Martinez left the house that night to use the payphone and never returned. I have researched the events of that night carefully, but there is one thing that has always eluded me, why did mom leave the house to use a payphone? Did she know that she was in some sort of danger? Or did she become a victim of opportunity? No one knows the answers to these questions, but it is my quest to find the truth and seek justice.

When mom left the house that night, she was wearing stone washed blue jeans, a pink jacket and boots. I remember that pink jacket well. One Halloween, I buried my face in that jacket when I dressed as a green-faced witch, something that didn't make her day. I also learned that Halloween that haunted houses just aren't my thing. Mom left that cold December night wearing that same jacket and never returned. She missed Christmas, Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve and her 24th Birthday. Even though I was young, I knew something was tragically wrong. Those two weeks have become the longest in my life.

On January 5, 1989, my worst nightmare came true. Her frozen body was found in the Holloway Reservoir Regional Park near Toboggan Hill. No one has ever been charged with the brutal murder, however, some DNA was found at the crime scene, the results are still not back. As I sit and wait patiently for wheel of justice to turn, I am eager for the day when the  police contact me and tell me that the nightmare is over. Justice and peace is all I wish for my mother.

If anyone has information on what happened to my mom, Brenda Lee Harvey-Martinez on the night of December 22, 1988, I ask you to please call Lt. Tony Craig with the Richfield Township Police Department at 1-810-653-3565. 

About the Author

My name is Stephanie (Harvey) Bellanca, the only child of Brenda Lee Harvey-Martinez. I was only six years old when my mother was taken from me. The road from that day to today has been a difficult one, but I have made it my life's quest to help identify the person(s) responsible for my mother's death. I am now a mother myself. I live and work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in Michigan. I turned to the Internet last year in hopes of garnering public attention to my mother's case. If you would like to learn more about my mom, her investigation and me, you can check out my Blog, Surviving Murder.


  1. Thank You for sharing your story, my prayers for your family to have answers. I hope the DNA is back soon, and the killer(s) behind bars. Please keep us posted on the progress of the case. Blessings in Christ, JenB.

  2. You had a beautiful mother Stephanie. I pray that a DNA match for your mother's killer comes in real soon. And I hope he is reading this and sweating! May I ask a question or two? Was there no phone in the home? Was your mother dating? Or secretly dating?

  3. Thank you Jen!

    @ Rose no we were scraping by then and payphones were a common use then. Her boyfriend was living with us (sort of) the crime is random according to all investigative information. She had a disagreement with him according to a relative who also lived with us. But they were all questioned and many polygraphed then. The current suspect is unrelated to any previous information and has no known link to us at all.

    Sorry for the delayed reply!