Robert Eugene Brashers’ daughter Deborah Brashers thinks her father was an “evil” man for killing and raping multiple people, but still has love for him because of how he treated her as a father. Because of these conflicting feelings, Deborah suffers from intense guilt over who she thought her father was as a child, and who she came to find out he was.
“It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to live this way,” Deborah says in Investigation Discovery’s Evil Lives Here about her life with the knowledge that her father was a murderer and rapist. “I should have to go through all of this. I’m disgusted by my own father.”
According to Deborah, Robert had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality split where he was an amazing father, but an evil man. She describes him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Just looking at photos of him makes her doubt herself because she still feels love for him even though he killed multiple people. In 2018, DNA tests linked Robert to four cold cases: three deaths and one rape.
Robert Eugene Brasher died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 19, 1999, making good on his promise that he would kill himself before going back to prison. He had previously been imprisoned for other charges, but never served time for the murders he committed.
He started killing and raping women and children in 1990, the year after he was released from his second stint in prison. During his violent spree he attacked people in 4 different states, all while playing the part of doting father and husband. None of the murders were linked to him until after his death, and long after they occurred.
A daughter’s misplaced sense of guilt
Deborah sobs as she describes the guilt she carries with her over feeling that she had not done enough to stop her father when she was a little kid. She says she wishes she had been older when she witnessed certain suspicious things so she could have understood the gravity of the situation. She feels like his victims did not get justice because her father’s crimes weren’t found out until he was already dead.
American Dream to American Horror Storry
When Deborah was 5-years-old she lived in Huntsville, Alabama with her mom and two older sisters. For a long time she thought her older sister’s dad was her dad. One day, however, she found out the truth when Robert Eugene Brashers came over and introduced himself. He had not been around because he’d been spending time in prison for gun charges. Those “gun charges” were still violent, although they did not involve murder.
In 1985 he beat and shot a woman in Port St. Lucie, Florida and went to prison for attempted murder, and in 1992 he was caught impersonating a police officer and possessing a gun as a felon.
Deborah was delighted with Robert after she first met him. She found him to be extremely loving and caring. Soon, her mom and dad got back together, and the family moved to Arkansas, where life was amazing for awhile for the little girl.
Things didn’t stay idyllic for long, however. One of the cracks came because Robert was an alcoholic and would take the kids to the liquor store with him. These trips were a secret from their mother, but one day she found out and they got into a fistfight in from the kids. The violence was shocking, but it was the only time Deborah ever say him put his hands on her mother.
There’s a “playful” photo of Robert and his kids where he’s pretending to chock one of Deborah’s sisters. This is a chilling image in retrospect.
Robert would also act strange after returning from work trips. He was a carpenter, so he would sometimes have to travel for jobs. After one of this trips, he returned extremely angry.
He snapped at the kids for playing in front of their fan. When you speak close to a fan, it can make your voice sound funny so it can be a lot of fun for kids. Robert dragged on of Deborah’s sisters from the bedroom to beat her. Deborah can still see her sister and hear her screams. She feels that this version of Robert wasn’t the father she knew, but an alternate version of him.
Now, she realizes that at the time of the fan incident, he had already murdered someone. He was very paranoid now, and didn’t seem like himself.
Robert’s paranoia intensifies
Deborah heard one fight between her father and mother where he told her that he didn’t want to go back to prison. He said he’d kill himself before he had to. During the argument, a family friend there unloaded the bullets from Robert’s gun so he wouldn’t use it while he was in a rage. Robert saw his friend running away with the bullets and gun, and a horrible look came over his face and he started chasing his friend.
Deborah now thinks the gun might have been one of Robert’s murder weapons.
Robert also had an obsession with the news. He would watch it constantly with multiple TVs on different channels. At the time Deborah thought he had just bene raised that way, but now she knows he was watching to see if the police were on his trail.
One day a report about a woman and a child being murdered just a few blocks from them. Deborah’s mom gets upset because the senseless home invasion and murder happened so close to them. Robert assured his wife that this would not happen to them.
One time Robert and his family got surrounded by police while out. Robert took off his hat and glasses and was freaking out. It had actually been a prostitution sting, but Robert thought they had been there for him.
A sinister secret marriage
One night in April 1998 Robert got caught trying to cut the phone lines of one of his carpentry clients. Robert spent one night in jail and immediately went home and married Deborah’s mom in a secret wedding.
The soon told their kids, but it was a shock and sudden marriage. Deborah feels like they got married so her mom would have a legal reason to not testify against him in court.
Soon after that, Robert was on the run from his court date for his gun charges. At that time, the police had no idea he was actually a rapist and killer. At the time the kids’ mom also didn’t know about his crimes beyond the gun charges.
How Robert evaded getting caught
One reason why Robert never got caught is that he would wear wigs when he committed his crime.
When he was on the run, he asked his family to hide him coming home by carrying in a huge rug to conceal him from anyone who might be watching.
Deborah said that she wanted a daddy so badly that she wanted to do anything to keep him from being caught. She now breaks down in tears remembering how manipulated she was at the time. She now wishes she had not done as shed had been told, she wishes she had contacted the police.
At the time, however, she was a child, and she also had no idea that her father was a murderer. Her guilt and conflicting feelings are understandable, but none of this was her fault.
He only stayed for a few days before he left again.
A Missouri hotel room
Eventually, Robert tells his family to join him in a Kennett, Missouri hotel room. The kids are told to now call Robert “Mitch” from now on. He was no longer to be called Robert or even Daddy. He seemed like a different person. He was completely stress-free for the first time in a long time.
Before they went out one night, Robert dressed in a disguise of a wig, sunglasses, and a hat. After dinner, Robert took them to Walmart to pick out gifts. Deborah got a “Doodle Bear,” which is a teddy bear you can draw on. She wrote “I love Daddy ” on one arm, and he wrote “I love you so much, too, Darling” on the other arm of the bear.
It was a wonderful time for Deborah, but that night was the last night of her father’s time on the run. The next morning Deborah woke up to police in their motel room. Her father was in the corner holding his gun to his head.
Deborah blamed herself for the police being there. She feared maybe she had called him “Daddy” when she wasn’t supposed to. Robert thought they were there for the murders, but they were looking for a stolen license plate.
She remembers him cowering in the corner like a scared dog. The police took the children out of the room. He shot himself in the head after the children left the room. He was on life support, but was braindead for six days before his death. Deborah remembers them explaining to her that her father was dead, that his brain was dead, but that his organs were going to be donated. She touched his hand and didn’t understand how he was dead if his hand was still warm.
He died on January 19, 1999. He had given no confession. .
The murders came to light
In September, 2018, Deborah got a knock on her door. She instantly knew that it was about her dad. The investigators told her that he father was a serial killer. They asked Deborah to offer up her DNA to help them in their investigations to his crimes.
She knew it was all true just from a gut feeling. She wanted to give them wanted so she could just go cry. Her DNA helped identify her father as the murder of 3 people, one rape, and other crimes.
In 1990 he beat an raped Genevieve Zitricki in Greenville, South Carolina. He wrote on her mirror “Don’t f*** with my family” to make police think it was a personal murder.
In 1997, after he was released from prison a second time for non-murder related charges, and had been reunited with his family, he raped a 14-year-old girl in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1998, he killed mother and daughter Sherri and Megan Scherer in Portageville, Missouri.
Deborah’s mom died of cirrhosis of the liver soon after they found out that Robert had been a serial killer. Deborah believes that the grief and guilt of that knowledge contributed to her mother “giving up.”
Deborah finds it horrifying that half of her genes come from him, and she’s upset by the loving feelings she still has for her dad. She wants to one day wake up and not have the thought in her head that she’s the daughter of a serial killer.
Did Robert Eugene Brashers commit more murders?
Both the police and Deborah believe that Robert committed many more crimes than what they have been able to prove he’s been involved in.
Evil Lives Here airs on Investigation Discovery at 10/9c.