It's unusual that a killer would use two different weapons in the slayings of a Creighton University pathologist and his wife in their home, a former homicide investigator said Friday.
However, there could be any number of reasons why Dr. Roger Brumback, 65, was shot to death while his wife, Mary Brumback, also 65, died of stab wounds.
“The investigators are looking at evidence at the scene to piece together the truth,” said Mike Butera, a former Omaha police captain in the criminal investigation bureau who now teaches criminal justice at Bellevue University.
“They'll see things at the scene that will potentially get to how and why you have two deaths, in the same residence, by two different weapons.”
The causes of death for the couple were listed on separate death certificates prepared by the Douglas County Coroner's Office. Their bodies were discovered May 14.
Police have said they are looking for a possible connection between the Brumback slayings and the killings in 2008 of an 11-year-old boy and a house cleaner inside a Dundee home owned by another Creighton pathologist and his wife, a Creighton cardiologist.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has formed a task force whose sole assignment is to solve the four homicides. It's made up of more than a dozen homicide detectives and FBI agents.
Details of the couple's death were released as family and friends gather today in Wilkins Township, Pa., for funeral services for the couple. Dr. Brumback is a Pennsylvania native. Both Brumbacks attended Penn State, where they met.
The time of the slayings remains unclear. The coroner listed the time and date of each death as “unknown.”
The Brumbacks were found on the morning of May 14, a Tuesday. A man had arrived at the couple's home, 11421 Shirley St., to pick up a piano.
Shortly after 10 a.m., he called 911 to report a man's body on the floor inside the home and a gun clip on the threshold of the front door.
In the days that followed, police appeared to focus on a time frame from Sunday night through Monday. But police have never said publicly what they know about the couple's deaths.
Neither Roger Brumback nor Mary Brumback owned a gun registered in Douglas County, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Dr. Brumback, former chairman of Creighton's pathology department, was a friend and boss to Dr. William Hunter. On March 13, 2008, Hunter arrived home to discover his son and house cleaner stabbed to death.
The Brumback family has set up several memorials to honor the couple.
Memorials in the name of Roger Brumback can be sent to the Child Neurology Society, 1000 W. County Road East No. 290, St. Paul, MN 55126. Or visit childneurologysociety.org.
Memorials for Mary Brumback can be directed to the Philanthropic Educational Organization Service, which supports women's education. Contributors also can visit peointernational.org.
Or checks can be made out to “Cottey College” in memory of Mary Brumback and sent to Institutional Advancement, Cottey College, 100 West Austin, Nevada, MO 64772.
Contributions also can be sent to the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, where an Alzheimer's Disease Memorial Scholarship has been set up in the couple's names. Make donations at giveto.pennstatehershey.org.