A Quakertown cold case has been solved with the recovery of the body of a young father who vanished from his borough home in October 2004. And police say it was Adam Brundage’s alleged killer–a former friend–who finally led them to his shallow grave.
The Bucks County District Attorney’s office announced Tuesday that Daman Andrew Smoot, 36, of Frackville, Schuylkill County, was arraigned earlier in the day on one count of criminal homicide for allegedly killing Brundage, 26, in Hilltown Township with a baseball bat and via manual suffocation more than 15 years ago.
Brundage at the time had recently received a large inheritance, some of which he used as a downpayment on a home on Glen Meadow Court in Quakertown borough.
In the weeks prior to the killing police say the pair were roommates, and following Brundage’s disappearance Smoot continued to live in the home and drive Brundage’s car, while allegedly providing numerous inconsistent accounts of his friend’s whereabouts.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case this week, it wasn’t until earlier this month that Smoot told investigators he killed Brundage on the evening of Oct. 4, 2004 at H&K Materials Quarry in Hilltown Township, where Smoot then worked.
That night, police say the men had gone to the quarry for sand to fix a grading issue at Brundage’s home. An argument between them then ensued, and ended when Smoot struck Brundage in the head with a baseball bat, according to the district attorney’s version of events.
“Smoot then used his hand to cover Brundage’s mouth and nose until he died” and buried his body at the quarry, where it was recovered Jan. 16, a news release from the district attorney’s office said.
“If you murder somebody in Bucks County, don’t sleep. Because we will get you,” District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said at a press conference Tuesday. “To our police in Bucks County I ask that if you have a cold case murder, please bring it to us. To the victims of cold cases yet unsolved, don’t give up hope.”
The Quakertown Borough Police Department and Bucks County Detectives reopened their investigation into Brundage’s disappearance last April, and employed numerous investigative resources in order to solve it, including some which weren’t available when he first went missing. For example, the cold case was profiled on the Quakertown police department’s Crimewatch site, which led to an article about it in April on Saucon Source.
According to authorities, the reopened investigation culiminated in a confrontation with Smoot earlier this month, at which the evidence against him was presented to him.
Police said Smoot then agreed to provide them with the location of Brundage’s remains and enter a guilty plea to third-degree murder. In exchange, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office will recommend that Smoot be sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
According to the news release, Quakertown Police and Bucks County Detectives were assisted in their investigation by the Hilltown Township Police Department, the FBI, Montgomery County Detectives, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police Human Remains Detection Handler Trooper Joseph Carlson and K-9 Jack, the Bucks County Coroner’s Office and the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office.
Smoot waived his preliminary hearing and is set to appear Feb. 21 for his formal arraignment in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, the district attorney said.
In the meantime he remains incarcerated in lieu of $1 million cash bail set by District Judge Regina Armitage, according to court records.
Smoot is represented by attorney Keith J. Williams of Doylestown, according to records.
Note: Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This story was compiled using information from police and public court documents.