Grisly hunt continues for beauty queen
DETECTIVES investigating the suspected murder of a former US beauty queen in Queensland are excavating at the home she shared with a man before she vanished.
Priscilla Brooten, 46, was last seen at the Bracken Ridge home in July 2018 but was not formally reported missing until December, when friends raised the alarm.
Police yesterday began digging up the front yard of the property after cadaver dogs signalled something may be buried there.
A 43-year-old man, was yesterday helping police with their inquiries. No charges have been laid.
Redcliffe Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Hogan said a crime scene warrant was executed on the Denham St property yesterday morning.
"We can confirm Operation Quebec Storage is now a homicide investigation," he said.
"We share the fear of Ms Brooten's family and friends and have reason to believe she may have met with foul play."
Police may be there for several days but so far no evidence has been found in the dig.
Ms Brooten moved to Australia six years ago to start a new life.
She was a passionate dancer, sometimes teaching Zumba, and was "heavily" involved in online gaming.
Police believe she was seeing the man, who is being held in custody, for about a year.
The man told police he last saw her in July last year.
Sen-Sergeant Hogan appealed to the online gaming community for any information, including any concerns Ms Brooten shared about her welfare.
"Police suspect a lot of the people that she associated with online, and also in some private clubs, may not know that police are investigating her disappearance," he said.
Ms Brooten's California-based daughter Caity was heartbroken at the development.
"I just hope whoever did this to her gets caught and gets the punishment they deserve," she told The Sunday Mail.
"She was a very loving and funny person, and loved taking samba classes.
"She was also a very nerdy person and loved anime."
She described her mother as very beautiful and a former pageant winner.
A Brisbane friend, Laetitia Penfold, described Ms Brooten as "amazing and clever".
"She was the sister I never had," Ms Penfold said.
"She was fun, happy, and she always brought people together."
Ms Brooten's blue Volkswagen Golf was found abandoned in Bunton St, Scarborough, about 9pm on July 6, 2018.
Police believe it was driven there from the Denham St address.
They urged anyone who saw it to come forward.
"Regardless of how trivial you think the information might be, it may be crucial to our investigation," Sen-Sergeant Hogan said.
Police are carrying out a forensic examination of the Denham St home and a car found there.
A neighbour said Ms Brooten was friendly who would often say hello.