BIRTH: May 21, 1984

DEATH: February 13, 1997

Brendan ~ Age 12 and Neal Abernathy (his father)

Brendan, 12, was murdered along with is father Neal Abernathy in their home. They were tied with electrical cords and shot execution style in the back of the head. Brendan‘s mother, Susan, found their bodies after arriving home from work. The house was in total disarray.

Police said, “We had an idea the house may have been staged to look like a robbery gone bad,”but this definitely looked different to experienced eyes.”

There were no signs of forced entry, not unusual because the family often left the house unlocked. The living room showed the dog’s presence after or possibly during the killings. All things considered, the place seemed pretty tidy and that struck police as odd.

Though cabinets were open, their contents appeared mostly undisturbed. The house also lacked signs of the life-or-death struggle that police would have expected. The things that were taken weren’t things of great value or considered by most items taken in a home robbery. More expensive things, like a $400 stereo, were left in the house untouched but the phone answering machine was taken. Some jewelry was taken and police searched pawn shops for a stolen necklace that Susan wore on her wedding day. The gold chain of Baroque design, with an amethyst and a pearl dangle, never turned up. None of the items taken from the house were ever found.

Kent Truscott, Susan’s current husband and a college roommate of Neal’s, was the only person who would not consent to a police interview about the murders. He refused again 10 years later. Susan and Kent married in 1999. Police view Kent’s refusal as vexing, not suspicious. They have no reason to suspect him, but the find it difficult to finish the investigation without clearing everyone who knew the victims and had access to them, and be able to gain access to Brendan’s and Neal’s home without forced entry. 

The murders still remains unsolved.

Police ask anyone with information about the Feb. 19, 1997, murders of Neal and Brendan Abernathy to call Hercules Detective Sgt. John Eaves at 510-799-8272.


Senseless crime still a mystery 10 years later




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