JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – It was a frightening unsolved case from Jefferson County: an attacker who reportedly claimed to be a military vet asking for help. Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies are now investigating leads that the attacker was Thomas Bruce.
Fox 2/KPLR 11 got exclusive access to the accused Catholic store killer’s car – a 2017 Kia. Investigators think Bruce may have used the vehicle to commit another crime in Hillsboro.
One neighbor remembers deputies looking for a suspect in his 50s.
“A man had came and attacked this elderly woman and he knocked on the door and she just cracked it open and he pushed the door open,” the neighbor said. “Apparently, he said he was there for something so she brought the door open more to here and he pushed the door open and attacked her.
We’re not identifying this man to protect the identity of his neighbor, who’s an assault victim. He said she was attacked during dinner time. He added that the victim is over 70.
“He had her on the ground apparently and she must’ve beat him off with a cane. She’s one tough elderly woman,” he said.
Jefferson County Sheriff Captain Gary Higginbotham confirmed Thomas Bruce was a suspect in that case.
“The connection is after the incident at the Catholic Supply store, our victim identified the suspect,” he said.
Investigators found Bruce’s Kia at a body shop. They’ve tested it, looking for forensic evidence.
“We’re gonna have lab results and things we process for and it’s going to take some time,” Higginbotham said.
Another Jefferson County man who spoke with Fox 2 said it’s the same car Bruce was driving during an October 17 road rage crash.
If you remember seeing Kia involved in anything suspicious – call police. It’s a very unique plum color, with a window sticker that says “Navy veteran.”
Thomas Bruce’s Kia went to the body shop after that crash so it’s not the car he drove during the alleged sexual assaults and murder at the Catholic Supply store on November 19.
Bruce remains in custody at St. Louis County Jail on those charges.