Local News

Thursday, Jul 25 2013 06:54 PM

Father searching for answers in daughter's death

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    By Photo courtesy of Kern County Sheriff's Office

    The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a critical missing person. Brandi Tanner was last seen in Wofford Heights at about 8 a.m. July 8.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The news of his daughter's death hit Dan Tanner hard, but he'd suspected something bad had happened when Brandi Tanner went missing more than two weeks ago.

"It's like a sixth sense that families have," Tanner said of the feeling he got that his daughter was dead.

The coroner's office confirmed Thursday evening that a body found in Wofford Heights Sunday was 22-year-old Brandi Tanner. Her cause of death is pending additional studies.

She was last seen alive July 8.

Dan Tanner said he's not sure what led to Brandi Tanner's death. He said he believes her boyfriend introduced his daughter to drugs, and if she died of an overdose, Dan Tanner said, he would hold the boyfriend, David Lofty, partly to blame.

Lofty is currently being held in Lerdo Jail on charges of spousal abuse and assault with a deadly weapon other than a gun. He was arrested May 15 after deputies received a report of a domestic dispute at Lupine Street and Webb Avenue in Lake Isabella.

Redacted reports by Kern County Sheriff's detectives that are filed in Kern County Superior Court say deputies found a "Wendy" Tanner -- Dan Tanner said deputies got Brandi Tanner's name wrong -- walking nearby with her two children. She was crying and there was a cut to her head and a mark on her face.

She told deputies that Lofty, her live-in boyfriend, threw a rock at her head and then chased her down and punched her before running back into their home, the reports say. She said a bruise to her throat was caused by Lofty grabbing her by the throat during an argument the day before.

Deputies received permission from Tanner to search her home, the reports say. They found Lofty hiding underneath a bed.

The reports say Lofty told deputies they had argued over lingerie he had bought her, but he denied hitting her.

Dan Tanner said he plans to attend Lofty's court hearings to talk about how his daughter's life changed for the worse once they began dating about five months ago.

"I blame (Lofty) indirectly because if she'd never met him she'd be alive today," Dan Tanner said.

He said his daughter had a "sparkly, bubbly" personality and enjoyed taking long walks and spending time with her family. She leaves behind two daughters, ages two and three.

"She was the most beautiful person I've ever known in my life, and I'm 69 years old and have known a lot of beautiful people," Tanner said.

The father said he's heard rumors that Brandi Tanner was using hard drugs -- possibly heroin or methamphetamine. He said it's also possible she could have died of heat stroke.

Right now Dan Tanner isn't sure where to turn. He's waiting for the coroner's office to determine what caused Brandi Tanner's death so he can figure out what to do next.

As they make funeral arrangements he and other family are mourning the loss of their young loved one.

"She just loved her family and her children and led a very simple life," he said.

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