Man arrested after aunt’s lifeless body discovered

FRENCH VALLEY — A man is in custody after officials say he murdered his elderly aunt at the large, semi-rural rural property they shared in an unincorporated area of French Valley, according to sheriff’s officials.

Deputies investigating reports of an “assault” at the residence in the 37000 block of Apple Gate Road, southwest of Auld and Pouroy roads, discovered the woman’s lifeless body Saturday morning, Dec. 22.


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Deputies assigned to the Sheriff’s Southwest Station were dispatched to the residence about 9:42 a.m., after receiving reports of an assault, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Walter Mendez said as the murder investigation was getting underway.

When deputies arrived at the home they located a deceased woman on the property, according to Mendez, who identified the victim as 66-year-old, Deborah Moyer.

During their initial, on-scene investigation deputies detained the victim’s 31-year-old nephew, Brandon Chase Trappen. He was later arrested without incident for the murder of his aunt.

Trappen was eventually booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of murder. Jail records indicate he remains in custody on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Southwest Justice Center, Dec. 27.

Based on the circumstances, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit and Southwest Station investigators have assumed the investigation.

“There are no outstanding suspects and no present threat to the community,” according to Mendez, who said investigators are seeking the public’s assistance with any information regarding this incident.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who knows what may have led to the victim’s murder is encouraged to contact Investigator Alfaro of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number SW183560015 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

Brandon Trappen was arrested and charged with murdering his 66-year-old aunt, Deborah Moyer. RSO booking photo

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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