On Aug. 27, 2006, Brandon Lee Farmer and his friend, Dusty Titus, picked up Velma Tirado, who was working as a prostitute in downtown Tacoma. They drove to a nearby alley. When they finished a sex act, Farmer drew a revolver and shot Tirado in the head. Farmer and Titus then fled the scene.
No suspects were identified in the initial investigation and the case was referred to the Tacoma Police Department’s Cold Case Unit in 2014.
In October 2014, the Tacoma Police Department received a phone call from investigators in California. Titus said he was the driver of the truck involved in Tirado’s murder. A Tacoma Police Department detective and an FBI Special Agent interviewed Titus, who identified Farmer as the shooter. Farmer then admitted that he was present during the murder.
In 2016, Farmer was convicted of murder in the first degree and was sentenced to nearly 34-years in prison for killing Velma Tirado.
“Our cold-case project continues its string of successes,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Justice was delayed, but not denied.”
The Brandon Lee Farmer case is one of many cold-case successes.
Using advances in DNA technology, the Prosecutor’s Office advises law enforcement during investigation and then prosecutes offenders. This brings justice to the community and the families and friends of victims.
Retired Tacoma police detective Gene Miller once handled cold cases for TPD and is one of the only detectives in the country to retire with all of his cases solved. He is now an investigator for the Prosecutor’s Office and works with law enforcement to solve and prosecute cold-cases.
Cold-cases have always been one of Miller’s top priorities.
“You never forget the loss of a loved one and family members deserve to know we’ll never stop trying to bring justice,” Miller said.
If you have any information on a cold case that might help investigators solve a crime, call Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 800.222.TIPS (8177).