Murder of Edward Andrews by Thomas Brooks examined on Buried in the Backyard

Mugshot of Thomas Brooks
Thomas Brooks was sentenced to 75 years to life. Pic credit: Riverside County Sheriff’s Office

Buried in the Backyard is investigating the disturbing murder of Edward “Ed” Andrews, who was killed by Thomas Brooks and encased in concrete at a home in San Diego, California.

Ed Andrews was an 80-year-old pensioner who was described by his family as a kind-hearted man who liked to write to pen pals in his free time. He would occasionally write to people in prison, hoping to prove to the convicts that there were still people who cared about them and that they could turn their lives around.

Brooks was serving time in a federal prison for child abuse and possession of child pornography when Andrews began writing to him. Brooks cultivated a relationship with the older man, which he maintained after his release from prison.

The pair even lived together for a while at a trailer park in Hemet, Riverside County. However, the last time anyone saw Andrews alive was on May 31, 2008, and the police would soon learn Brooks had killed him for money.

In September 2008, Brooks was building a rock garden for his landlord in a San Diego backyard. The feature had a large egg-shaped concrete structure as its centerpiece, which contained a particularly grisly secret.

Later that month, Brooks was arrested on suspicion of being behind Andrews’s disappearance. While he was in custody, the tenants of the San Diego home smashed open the concrete feature, suspecting to find hidden cash or jewels; however, they were instead greeted with a foul odor.

Thomas Brooks encased Ed Andrews body in concrete

The tenants called the cops, and when an officer prodded the feature, a human foot emerged. Brooks had wrapped Andrews’s body in plastic, wire, and newspaper and encased him in the concrete.

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A pathologist later concluded that Andrews had been suffocated.

In the meantime, Brooks had stolen over $90,000 from his victim’s bank account and racked up $24,000 on Andrews’s debit and credit cards during a shopping spree.

In September 2009, Brooks was due in court for a preliminary hearing when he was found unconscious and bleeding in his cell. The killer had attempted suicide by cutting his neck and hanging himself. However, he survived his injuries and eventually agreed to plead guilty.

Thomas Brooks confessed to killing Edward Andrews

Had Brooks not pleaded guilty, he would have likely faced the death penalty. Instead, he was sentenced to 75 years to life.

After sentencing, Andrews’s daughter, Linda Runions, said, “Those of us who loved him are tormented by the thought of how my father must have felt when he realized that the man he had befriended was actually going to take his life, brutally kill him. And we are further horrified by the heartless way he disposed of my dad’s body.”

Buried in the Backyard airs Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.

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