Friends Stunned By Attack On Millcreek Woman, Daughter
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Millcreek teenager was listed in critical condition after she was beaten in an attack by her father that also killed her mother. Friends in her old neighborhood told KSL they were stunned by the attack, and were reaching out in support.
Neighbor Dotty Ralphs knew the family well and said the violent attack made no sense.
“It’s mind boggling to all of us,” said Ralphs
Before the Brantzeg family lived in the Riverbend Apartments on 3900 South, they lived in the Millcreek neighborhood near 1300 East.
As news of the fatal domestic violence attack spread through the neighborhood Wednesday, Ralphs said she didn’t see the violence coming. She and her neighbors regularly saw Walter and Valerie Brantzeg at church until they separated three years ago.
Police said Valerie Brantzeg did not file for a legal separation until late last month. Valerie and her daughter moved to the apartment, late last year.
“They lived in this neighborhood eight years,” said Ralphs.
The 13-year-old daughter often rode her bike through the neighborhood, waving and chatting. She had spent time in many of their homes.
“Extremely gregarious and very spunky,” Ralphs said of the teenager. “God doesn’t send wimps anymore. Everyone knew her, everyone.”
That daughter continued to fight for her life in Primary Children’s Hospital. Police said doctors were optimistic while they still do not know the extent of her head and brain injuries.
“She was made an orphan yesterday,” said Ralphs.
Police said the teenager was attacked by her father, 54-year-old Walter Brantzeg, who kicked in their apartment door, and beat her 50-year-old mother Valerie to death.
“Soft, sweet, kind, hard-working: that would be Valerie,” said the family friend.
And the accused murderer?
“You would never have described him as evil or violent,” she said.
The family sat in church with their arms around each other, said Ralphs.
“He prayed with us and was very kind,” she said.
Walter Brantzeg came to her home often as part of a church teaching assignment. She knew he had spent time in prison, but believed he had turned his life around.
“He was in my home many times, and he was a soft-spoken, quiet guy,” she said. “I didn’t identify him as a violent person.”
She said she thought Brantzeg must have snapped, and that she was praying for the girl’s recovery.
“She is loved,” Ralphs said. “Everyone loved her, and loves her.”
A fund for donations was in the process of being established at a local bank. That information will be included KSLTV.com as soon as details are available.
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