Different angles: Branagan Case

Moira "Holly" Branagan

Moira “Holly” Branagan

Different angles in the Branagan Case: I have been musing with my friends on Twitter about some of the cold cases on DCC and good remarks have led me to rethink some cases, go back over details, check where I might have missed something, or where I assumed something was clear while it only was so because I had worked on the case and wrote the post myself. So to me, yes, it was clear.

One Twitter friend has been very helpful in trying to shed some light on the behaviour of Clancy, the Branagan family dog. His behaviour puzzled me but this friend made me aware of experiences they had with dogs in mourning. This friend told me that dogs they knew very well would whimper and sulk during mourning and those dogs did not act panicky at all. Another Twitter friend told me that it is possible for dogs to sense that someone is no longer breathing and that therefore Clancy might never have made more noise than usual when approaching the front door when “Brenda” stopped by in the morning.

The Branagan post is still not where I want it to be since it has too many gaps. For example, what if the friend lied. I mean, the friend who was on the phone when Holly mentioned that someone was at the door and that she was going to hang up but would call back. That friend claimed she called back around 5:00pm and nobody answered. What is that is not true. What if she called and got a busy signal? That could mean that Holly was already struggling and fighting for her life. What if that friend never called back at all? Then we should ask ourselves why she lied to police about calling back. Was she trying to be interesting or, had she in fact called back and heard something she was not supposed to hear or could not tell police?

Now consider the other friend, the one who came to the Branagan house to pick up Holly for a pizza dinner at 6pm. This friend rang the door bell, nobody comes, and she leaves. Did she see any lights on in the house? Did she knock on the front door? Did she hear Clancy or did Clancy come to the front door? Did she walk around the back? There is no information on those issues and they could alter the scenario and time line.

Now, consider the possibility that these two friends were the same person…than that person lied about calling back…why?

And then another thought hit me: what if Holly had an ulterior motive for calling her dad’s office to see whether he had already left for his business trip. What if she did not call to wish him a safe trip? What if she called to make sure he would not be home that evening so she had privacy? Another friend on Twitter mentioned the same possibility since it explained some of the silence after the crime.

Privacy to openly enjoy some marijuana in the house, privacy to invite someone over …all the things her dad might have objected to had he known or been there. What if the call was to assure privacy to invite over a lover? Did Holly have a lover at the time? There is no information about that but it is not impossible, right? Holly was a pretty sixteen year old young girl, in love with life, with lots of friends at school. Do note that I wrote lover instead of boyfriend.


Because until more details become available, I’d like to keep the door open to the possibility that the lover was a girl. Just like we should keep an open mind that the killer wielding the kitchen knife could have been female, we should keep an open mind for the possibility that there was a female lover. It could explain why Holly checked with her dad’s office if she wanted to assure privacy. It could also explain why youngsters and parents were tight lipped when police made inquiries after the murder. I have not been able to find out more about this angle but it would shed a different light on the case with new possibilities and maybe, leads.

Exposing teen homosexuality…that might cause people to remain silent. It was the 70s …but even now in 2010, these issues persist. We still see people hiding their true love out of fear they will be scorned and ridiculed. One of the latest tragedies here is the former UK Treasury Secretary David Laws. “I grew up at a time when homosexuality had only just been legalised and when most people still thought it was wrong or shameful. I decided, therefore, to keep my sexuality secret, and the further time went on the more difficult it seemed to be to tell the truth,” Laws said in a statement to local media.” The entire Laws affair can be found online and I am not going to describe it here. I do wish to note that I find it appalling that people cannot be openly happy and in the relationship of their heart’s desire just because their love is of the same gender.

Back to Branagan, I will have to do some more digging here and would like to encourage people who are interested in this case to do some brainstorming here in the comment section.

To be continued…


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