Brandy Jane Mielke
GRANITE CITY | More than 70 friends and family members paid respect to Brandy Jane Mielke on June 12 in a 10-minute memorial service at Thomas Saksa Funeral Home.
Mielke’s body was found floating on the Mississippi River near downtown St. Louis on June 3. She was 26.
“I’m really shocked,” said Sulyn Keomanivane, who was one of Mielke’s friends. “I didn’t expect something like this to happen to her. She was too sweet of a girl.”
Keomanivane and three of her siblings -- Sam, Seth and Mara -- attended the memorial service. The Keomanivanes were neighbors.
“My aunt is related to the Mielke family,” Keomanivane said. “My aunt was adopted, so we were kind of really close from that side.”
Keomanivane said her favorite memory with Mielke was getting stung by bees when they were little girls during the late 1990s.
“All three of us, me, my other cousin (Amanda Chandler) and Brandy were playing hide and go seek and we decided that we were going to go hide behind the air conditioning unit and in there is this little hole and we didn’t realize that we stepped in it,” Keomanivane said. “Bees came out flying.”
Keomanivane said she had not seen her in two years.
“I have her as my Facebook friend and she’s been posting stuff online,” Keomanivane said. “She was talking about her life and everything seemed pretty good to me.”
Keomanivane and Mielke were classmates at Granite City High School, graduating in 2007.
“After she graduated from high school, she ended up joining the Army,” Keomanivane said. “She was pretty active. She did things. She was a caring, genuine girl.”
The Granite City Police Department is currently investigating Mielke’s death.
“We’re waiting on the St. Louis medical examiner, which it’s going to take time for us to wait on the toxicology to find out what the cause of death was,” Granite City Police Chief Rich Miller said. “There was nothing evident right now to know of. We have two investigators who are following up on who reported her missing, which was a relative, and what she was doing up to that time and if we have any leads on what she was doing afterwards. Right now, we don’t have a whole lot (of information).”
Miller said she had been missing since early May.
“When you know that when you’re an adult and you choose to go away, which occasionally happens, it’s hard for us to find where you’ve been until we really backtrack and see,” Miller said. “Sometimes these people are missing and we make reports and they show back up, saying they left in their own to do whatever and they show back up. This one obviously showed up deceased.
“Now we have to backtrack and see who has seen her and where she has been around and has she been somewhere during the time she was missing.”
Mielke’s family members declined comment.