Murder of Brandi Mathews by Kelly Simino examined on Murder in the Heartland

Mugshot of Kelly Simino
Kelly Simino is serving a lengthy sentence for second-degree murder. Pic credit: MO Dept. of Corrections

Murder in the Heartland is investigating the killing of Brandi Mathews, a mother-of-one who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend Kelly Simino near Eldon in rural Miller County, Missouri.

Mathews and Simino were involved in a particularly fractious on-again/off-again relationship, where Simino would regularly threaten to kill the 22-year-old Mathews.

In August 2006, Mathews had Simino arrested when she notified the cops that he had a couple of bags of cocaine. The pair seemed to reconcile after this arrest, but the police now suspect Simino harbored deep resentment over the incident, and it was likely a motive behind her murder.

Mathews’s family stopped hearing from her after September 2006, and she was subsequently classed as a missing person. Unfortunately, the case was sidelined and not adequately investigated for two years.

In the fall of 2008, Simino was questioned about her whereabouts. He claimed to have ended their relationship in October 2006 and suggested the cops look for her in South Carolina.

However, a breakthrough came in January 2009 when Mathews’s skull was found under a bridge in Miller County. The pathologists concluded that the victim had been decapitated, and the skull had been hit repeatedly with a shovel-like tool. The rest of Mathews’s remains were never found.

Kelly Simino arrested on unrelated charge as Brandi Mathews case declared a homicide

Simino was arrested on an unrelated charge on the same day the skull was found. He would never be released.

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In August 2009, the cops announced they were making progress in the case and said they would be making an arrest soon, though they did not name Simino at that time.

On that occasion, Mathews’s mother, Deana Roberts, said, “I know it’s not gonna bring Brandi back, but it will keep whoever off the streets from doing this to someone else’s daughter.”

Booking photo of Kelly Simino
A booking photo of killer Kelly Simino. Pic credit: Miller County Sheriff’s Office

In the meantime, the cops learned more about the violent threats Simino made against his former girlfriend and that Mathews had requested a restraining order shortly before she disappeared. A friend of Simino informed the police the killer had told them, “If he could get his hands on that b***h, he’d kill her.”

The investigators also found a couple of witnesses who placed Simino near the crime scene around the time Mathews disappeared.

One witness said they saw Simino and Mathews arguing near where the skull was found, and a second witness saw Simino at the actual bridge where it was found.

Kelly Simino convicted of Brandi Mathews murder

Simino was charged with murder in 2011, and a jury eventually found him guilty of second-degree murder.

He was sentenced to 20 years for the killing, which is to be served after he completes the 11 years he is already serving for other offenses. He must serve 85% of his punishment before he is eligible for parole.

Murder in the Heartland airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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