Investigation Discovery’s “The Case About Paula Zahn: No GoodBye” following the attack on 17-year-old Brittany Marcel in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008. This episode shows how investigators used groundbreaking technology to finally stop the killer. nearly a decade of attacks. If you are interested and want to know everything about the case as well as the identity and current whereabouts of the killer, we are here to support you. So let’s go, okay?
How was Brittani Marcell attacked?
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brittani Marcell is an energetic and dynamic 17-year-old high school student. He’s an outgoing, fun-loving person with a brother and five sisters, and works at a sunglasses kiosk at the Cottonwood Mall. On September 11, 2008, Brittani was driving home from her local school, waiting for her mother, Diane Marcell, to come home. Mother and daughter go to lunch together. But when Diane arrived at Marcel’s residence, she was shocked to find her daughter bleeding on the floor.
The stranger was shoveling his daughter’s unconscious body, but threw it away when he saw Diane. He walked through their living room and dining room to the kitchen, where he threatened his mother and grabbed a butcher knife. Fearing for her life, Diane ran from the house screaming for attention. She returned with help to find the attackers walking through the window and taking her bloodied and unconscious daughter to a local hospital. Doctors have little hope of his survival.
Brittany suffered multiple lacerations to her head and face, multiple skull fractures, and broken wrists and arms. She was taken to hospital in critical condition with minimal brain activity, fixed pupils, crushed ear canals and severely damaged optic nerves. It took her weeks to wake up from a medically induced coma, to lose almost all memories of her high school life, even the brutal attack on her. Her family feared the attackers and even admitted Brittany to the hospital under a false name. Five months later, Brittany was released.
The Marcell family moved to Texas and put Brittany through an intensive rehabilitation program. She lost her left eye and was declared permanently deaf in one ear. Initially confused and scared by the memory loss, Brittany was able to regain most of her abilities after receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. She credits her mother’s support as a major factor in her recovery. She Say“She’s by my side every visit, every operation, like she’s someone I respect so much, so she’s like my best friend now.”
Who Attacked Brittany Marcel?
Investigators drove to the quiet area of Marcel’s home and began searching for evidence. They soon found bloody shovels, rolls of duct tape and knives left behind by the fleeing assailants. The most significant find, however, was a drop of blood from the killer – who cut himself on shards of glass from the dining room window where he escaped. Detectives believe this will turn out to be an important clue. But unfortunately, they found no matches after going through the national CODIS database.
They investigated Brittany’s social life, reviewing her past and present relationships, and even the people she may have come into contact with at work. They even investigated the lives of his siblings, looking for potential suspects. But his case went cold when authorities couldn’t find possible suspects or leads. Her case was reopened in 2013 and investigators encouraged Brittany to undergo hypnosis in 2014 as it could help her regain repressed memories. It helped in part, Brittany recalls vague descriptions of her killer, tall, with spiky hair and a fair complexion.
Although she couldn’t remember his name, she remembered him as someone she knew from work. In 2016, Brittany came up with a name — Justin — that her sisters recognized. Justin Hansen is a handsome and popular guy who works in the mall and used to interact with Brittany there. Investigators also decided to seek help from a DNA technology company called Parabon NanoLabs. This particular company has developed a groundbreaking innovation that uses DNA to determine the genetic characteristics of related individuals, such as their eye or hair color.
When they received the result, they found he was nearly identical to Justin, the Marcel family said. Investigators visited Justin, a father of four, who denied knowing the victim. However, one of the police witnesses clearly remembers Justin talking to Brittany repeatedly at the mall for hours. Detectives found him suspicious and requested a DNA sample, but Justin deflected. Police got approval from the local district attorney and undercover detectives tracked Justin and obtained his DNA from the cup he drank at McDonald’s. It matched DNA from the crime scene where Justin was arrested on July 5, 2017.
Where is Justin Hansen today?
Although Justin insisted he didn’t attack Brittany, he agreed not to plead guilty to attempted first degree murder and aggravated burglary. On July 25, 2018, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison as part of a plea deal. Say“From the start, I felt like everything was going against me. Everything fell apart and I thought that pleading was the only way to cut down on the time I could be away from my children.
In March 2021, Justin requested a reduced sentence. The Court of Appeal ruled in his favour, finding that the time he had served under house arrest was 371 days of pre-trial service plus 14 days of imprisonment. The state attempted to challenge the appeal, taking it to the New Mexico Supreme Court, but it was denied. Justin requested another sentence reduction, citing a desire to spend time with his family, but was denied in March 2022.
Brittany thinks Justin attacked her because he was jealous that she rejected his courtship. She has had to undergo more than 22 surgeries since the attack. She wants to pursue her interest in journalism or become a criminal lawyer and help other victims. Justin is currently in the custody of the NMCD, according to official court records.
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