The Darkest

Charlotte and Wendell Bratcher had been married for 34 years. On June 28, Charlotte Bratcher filed for an emergency protection order, saying that her husband had been “mentally abusive and has a violent temper,” and that he had threatened her life and had access to guns. The judge granted the protection order ordering Bratcher to stay away from his wife, and further ordered that Bratcher be banned from any guns.

Two days later Bratcher filed for an emergency protection order, saying that he was in danger. That request was denied. On July 6, Charlotte Bratcher filed for divorce, saying that the couple had been separated since June 25 th.

Police believe that Bratcher went to the home of his brother and sister-in-law, Stanley Hayse, 63, and Hayse’s wife, Betty, 61, and shot them late on Sunday. Bratcher’s 9 year old granddaughter was reported to be asleep in the home at the time. Authorities say she did not witness the shootings, but she heard the shots. Bratcher took the girl back to her mother’s home and left her with her mother. The girl reportedly told her mother what she thought had happened, and her mother contacted police.

Neighbors reportedly told police of an ongoing dispute with Bratcher. So police went to the home of his mother-in-law, 79-year-old Clara Brooks. Bratcher’s vehicle was in the driveway. They found that she had also been shot to death. They also found the body of Wendell Bratcher, police believe that he shot his mother-in-law and then shot himself.

Much is said about the Hayse couple, their contributions to the community, their love of children, esp. their neices and nephews. Good has been said also about 79 year old Clara Brooks.

Reactions about Bratcher seems to be mixed, with at least one person saying that this wasn’t the Wendell Bratcher she knew, “It had to be something awful for him to do that. He was a good, good person.”

Reports say that Charlotte Bratcher was not harmed, neither was the granddaughter.

Three revered members of one family, dead at the hands of one of their own. The violent deaths by themselves will be tremendous shock to the entire family. The fact that it was also a family member who caused those deaths, will make it even more difficult to cope with.

A 9 year old, she didn’t see what happened thank goodness, but she was old enough to guess at what her grandfather did. Thankfully, she wasn’t harmed, but what a long drive to her home that must have seemed.

His wife Charlotte wasn’t harmed. Not physically anyway. But she lost her mother, her sister, and her brother-in-law. All at the hands of the man she once called husband. What happened was not her fault. But that can be hard to remember at times of intense grief. She was left alive to grieve.

The fact that the rest of the family can be drawn into family violence is one of it’s darkest aspects.



  1. Alovedone said,

    July 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    No one will ever know what truely happened that day when everything went so out of control, but the man that did all of these things is not the uncle that I grew to know and love and I am sure there is alot more to the story than we all will ever know because now there is only one person’s side to be heard.

  2. A dear friend said,

    October 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    My husband and I both knew Stanley and Betty Hayse as well as Wendell Bratcher. I agree no one will ever know what truly happened that day. Stanley and Betty were two wonderful, loving, giving people. We loved them dearly!!!! As well as did the entire community and every life they ever touched. Wendell Bratcher did not go crazy. If he had lost his mind he would have shot the granddaughter as well. He would not have known in his mind to not shoot her as well. He was an evil man, a side that alot of people in the community did not see. He wanted to hurt Charolette in the worst way possible. He wanted to take her family away from her and that he did with the exception of 1 sister. I have no good words to say concerning Wendell Bratcher except he WILL meet his maker and the only solice that is from this evil act is that Wendell Bratcher will be exactly where he belongs and it will be the fartherest from Stanley and Betty Hayse as well as Clara Brooks. He will be in the deepest bonds of HELL!!!!!!!!

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