Possible killer, motive revealed in Stykes case

Posted at 1:58 AM, Sep 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 01:58:13-04

GEORGETOWN, Ohio — One of the last things Brittany Stykes saw before her death was a flashing blue light.

On that Aug. 28 night in 2013, the 22-year-old pregnant Brown County mother thought she was being pulled over by police.

But she was actually being pulled over by her killer.

That’s according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the I-Team Friday that includes witness statements detailing a case of murder, money and “payback.”

According to the affidavit, that witness is a female informant who came forward in June with new information in the 2013 homicide. The woman brought detectives a suspect, a motive and had knowledge of the case that went “well beyond that of the general public,” investigators said.

WCPO is not revealing the name of the suspect because he has not been charged.

Brittany Stykes

In her statements to detectives, the informant said she was in the passenger seat of a car with the suspect – her ex-boyfriend – two years ago when he spotted a yellow Jeep Wrangler at a gas station and started following it.

After about 25 minutes, she said he plugged a portable blue police light into the car’s cigarette lighter and waved Stykes down off U.S. Route 68 near Gooselick Road.

He knew exactly who she was, the witness said.

“The (informant) stated that the victim was ‘Brit’ and (shooting her) was payback for her ‘old man’ not paying (him) money that he owed,” the affidavit states.

The informant told police someone paid Stykes’ killer two payments of $10,000 to perform the hit, and that killer was a man with a lot of experience and secrets.

She said, according to the affidavit, her ex-boyfriend had been involved in “multiple murders that she knew about” and she had “seen him kill people.”

This information led investigators to a home in the 2700 block of Hogg Ridge Road in Falmouth on Tuesday.

Brown County Sheriff’s deputies, with assistance from Kentucky State Police, executed a search warrant at about 8:30 a.m. at the property – about an hour-and-a-half drive from where Stykes was killed.

Investigators carried metal detectors and shovels during the raid

The property that investigators raided Tuesday

Investigators carried metal detectors and shovels during the raid and removed 19 pieces of evidence, according to the affidavit.

Authorities hope to present that evidence – assorted notebooks and letters, 10 cellphones, CDs, a computer, a camera, a shotgun and four rounds of ammo – to a grand jury later this year.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office called the raid a success.

"I feel that it was a successful search warrant and I feel it will be beneficial to our case," Brown County Chief Deputy Carl Smith said Wednesday.

Detectives said they were confident in the informant’s information. At one point, according to the affidavit, she led investigators to the spot where she said Stykes was shot – a couple hundred feet south of Gooselick Road and U.S. 68.

The suspect is currently jailed on unrelated charges. Detectives interviewed him in August, and wrote in the affidavit he “appeared very nervous during questioning.” He denied knowing where Georgetown or Brown County were located, and said he knew nothing about Stykes or her homicide, investigators said.

Stykes' father, Dave Dodson, said he thinks the informant is credible, but he's not familiar with her or the suspect.

"I mean, I read the report. I read the names and everything, but none of the names stick out to me," he said. "I don't know any of them."

Less than a month ago, he and his wife said they refused to get their hopes up that their daughter's killer might be found. This week's revelations have changed all that.

"You know, there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel that maybe the truth's going to come out," he said. 

Police found Stykes slumped over in the Jeep -- her husband's vehicle -- three miles from her parents’ home.

Her daughter, Aubree – 14 months old at the time – was still strapped in her car seat when police arrived. She was bleeding from a gunshot wound to her head.

Aubree underwent multiple brain surgeries and is still healing from the bullet that entered her head just above her eyebrows.

Brittany Stykes pictured with her husband Shane and daughter Aubree

Brown County Coroner Judith A. Varnau said two bullets hit Stykes, and at least three struck the driver’s side door of her vehicle.

One bullet hit her neck, the coroner said. If that had been it, the wound would have been superficial. But the second bullet hit the side of Stykes' chest, puncturing her lungs and traveling through her body and into her arm, Varnau said.

There was no soot from the gun blast on Stykes' body, suggesting she was not shot at close range, according to the coroner’s report.

The sheriff's office ruled out Stykes’ husband as a person of interest early in the investigation, and said he passed a lie detector test.

WCPO will update this story soon.

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