The cold case murder of Bryan Michael Mace - Fauquier County, Virginia - April 9, 2003

On April 9, 2003, 20-year-old Bryan Mace woke up early in the morning, just like his mother and stepfather. Along with his stepfather Carlo, Bryan worked as a roofer at Rayco Roofing Co. However, Carlo gave his stepson the day off. He therefore slept in a bit, after which he got up with the idea of enjoying his day off. At the time, only his sister Jodi was home. She remembers being in the laundry room getting ready for work when Bryan walked by and said he was leaving to rent a video game. Jodi left for work around 11am. Around 1pm Carlo decided to drive back home to pick up Bryan anyway. He had been given a project that afternoon that he couldn't possibly do on his own, and needed his stepson's help. On the way home he tried to call Bryan several times, but there was no answer...

When Carlo pulled into the driveway of the rural house, nothing seemed off. But when he wanted to open the door, he suddenly couldn't. The key wouldn't turn in the lock. Surprised, Carlo walked up a flight of stairs to enter the house through another door. This door did open, and a thick cloud of smoke billowed at him. At that moment, Carlo realizes that the house was on fire. He immediately thought of his stepson Bryan, because he might still be sleeping in bed.

Although visibility was poor because of the smoke, he tried to make his way to Bryan's bedroom. Once there, he noticed that he was not in his bedroom. Carlo quickly tried to find his way down, and shouted Bryan's name. As it became increasingly difficult to breathe, Carlo looked for a way out through the back door. There he tripped over something large in the hall. It turned out to be his stepson. There were clothes all over him, and Carlo grabbed hold of him and dragged him out. Once outside, the loving stepfather found out that Bryan was no longer alive and that he had a gunshot wound to the head. Bryan Michael Mace turned out to be murdered. 

Police Investigation
After firefighters extinguished the fire, it became clear that the Mace family home had been completely ransacked. A large-scale investigation into the murder and looting immediately began. Investigators quickly determined that the fire had started on Bryan's own body. The police suspected that Bryan had encountered a burglar after returning home from the video store, and that the burglar had shot him upon entering. It is believed the perpetrator then draped some clothing over him, doused it with gasoline he found in the family's garage, and lit it, hoping to destroy evidence. Because all the doors of the house were closed, the fire didn't get enough oxygen, and it eventually almost went out on its own. If a door or window had been open, the house would probably have been completely burned, according to the fire department.

Although the Mace family was in deep mourning, the police wanted to search the house with them for missing items. It was immediately noticeable that all mattresses were turned over. Closets were also turned inside out. It was a big mess. Downstairs they found out about the theft of countless guns that Carlo had collected, hunting gear and video games. So much was stolen that the police suspected that several perpetrators were responsible.

Forensic examination showed that the bullet that killed Bryan was not from Carlo's gun. Unfortunately, fingerprints and DNA traces were destroyed by the fire. It also became clear that there was no forced entry into the house. It could mean that Bryan had let his killer in himself, or it could have been that he hadn't locked the door when he went to the video store. In those days it was fairly normal not to lock the doors in the neighborhood.

In the period after the murder, the police questioned everyone close to Bryan in the hope of new leads. Detectives also kept an eye on persons of interest to perhaps discover their secret. One of those people was a friend of Bryan's, who had a rather rough life and needed help. The family had given him shelter at their home for a while. When it turned out he did not want to comply with the house rules, he left after a couple of months. Coincidentally, this boy had called Bryan the day before the murder and said he might stop by the next day to pick up some of his stuff. The police questioned him about his call to Bryan, but he suddenly denied having made it. This while it was certain that he had indeed called. No one understood the reason for his denial. In the end he passed a number of polygraphs, and turned out to have an alibi.

Suspicious phone calls
In police conversations with family, Jodi, Bryan's sister, told something striking about three phone calls that had come in that morning. When she answered the calls, each time they hung up without saying anything. The police thought it was an interesting lead and went to investigate. It turned out to be three calls from the same number. They were committed from a payphone at an intersection about 1.4 miles from Bryan's house. A thumbprint was found on the handset of the telephone. It was compared in the national database, but no match was made. That was a pity, because the police suspected that the caller had something to do with the crime. The print is compared in the system to this day, but so far always without result.

Two arrests
After the robbery murder, many more remarkably similar burglaries were committed in the area. Despite the fact that the police had roadblocks in several places, the burglaries kept coming. Often, just like with Bryan, guns were stolen. Eventually, the police managed to arrest two men. These suspects confessed to numerous burglaries, but denied having anything to do with Bryan's murder. One of the perpetrators turned out to have a solid alibi. The police therefore suspected that the robbery murder was the work of someone else.

Information and tips
After twenty years, Bryan's tragic murder is still unsolved. His family is still very emotional and can't cope with their loss. They hope that someone is walking around who can and wants to answer all their questions. But especially the one: Who killed Bryan? Do you know something, even if it's just something small? Please let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below. 

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team. 

Please help and share this case with your socials, and follow us on Facebook