A Michigan man has been convicted this week of murdering a woman who went missing after a 2014 Halloween party. A search ensued for half a year before her remains were found in a dense woods.
Daniel Clay, 28, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for the death of 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck.
According to PEOPLE, Bruck attended the party dressed as the Batman villain Poison Ivy. Her naked body was found six months later covered by tree branches and logs, not long after police found her tattered costume. According to court records Bruck suffered blunt force trauma to the head and had three identifiable injuries, according to court records. Because of the body’s advanced state of decomposition, death by asphyxiation could not be ruled out.
Clay admitted at his trial that he killed Bruck after they left the party together, but insisted that it was an accident. He claimed two had consensual sex in his car, and he performed erotic asphyxiation on her, choking her during intercourse.
“I didn’t mean for her to die,” he said on the stand, according to PEOPLE.
Jurors were not impressed by that defense. Clay was found guilty and now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Family members and friends of Bruck immediately began crying upon hearing the guilty verdict, according to the Toledo Blade. They hugged one each other as tears rolled down their faces.
Detective Brian Sroka of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, lead officer on this case, said he is “very, very happy” with the verdict.
“It’s been weighing them down for a long time, and I could almost feel the burden being lifted off them a little bit,” he said of Bruck’s family post-verdict.
[Photos courtesy of Facebook and Monroe County Sheriff's Department]