Darlene Saddler Murder: Where Are Brian Paul Landry and April Saddler Now?

The generally peaceful city of Santa Ana, California, witnessed a horrific incident on September 18, 2008, when loving mother of four, Darlene Saddler, was found murdered inside her house. While the murder was seemingly witnessed by Darlene’s 5-year-old daughter, Abby, the police soon realized that were several individuals who would not have hesitated before harming the 49-year-old. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Unusual Suspects: Murder Down Memory Lane’ chronicles the gruesome incident and follows the police investigation that eventually brought the perpetrator to justice.

How Did Darlene Saddler Die?

A resident of Santa Ana, California, Darlene Saddler was just 49 at the time of her death. People who knew her described her as a caring mother of four who always prioritized her children and put her family before everything else. Moreover, reports mentioned that while Darlene was married several times in the past, her latest marriage left her with a five-year-old daughter named Abby. Hence, her ex-husband moved to Bakersfield, California, and Darlene stayed back in Santa Ana with Abby, as well as her 15-year-old daughter, April, while her adult children visited from time to time.

Despite her rocky past, Darlene was well-respected in her community, and her neighbors had no idea about the tragedy that would tear the family apart. On September 18, 2008, Darlene’s son, Jonathan, arrived at the Santa Ana home only to find his mother collapsed on the kitchen floor with a kitchen knife in her neck. Alarmed, he immediately made a sweep of the house and realized that 5-year-old Abby had witnessed the whole murder from an adjacent bedroom. Moreover, once Jonathan called 911, first responders arrived to declare Darlene dead.

An initial medical examination noted several stab wounds on Darlene’s body. Later, an autopsy determined that the 49-year-old was shot thrice before being stabbed mercilessly to death. In fact, the police even found a shell casing and several blood smears at the crime scene, although there was no sign of a forced entry. On top of it, nothing in the house was stolen, which indicated that the murder was pre-planned and deliberate.

Who Killed Darlene Saddler?

During the initial investigation, the police questioned Abby as she was the only eyewitness at the scene of the crime. However, while the 5-year-old was unable to provide a detailed description of the murderer, she claimed that the perpetrator was a skinny male who wore black clothes as well as a black mask to protect his identity. In the meantime, the police carried out a thorough search of the crime scene and even canvassed the area around Darlene’s house, but to no avail. On the other hand, all of Abby’s siblings as well as Darlene’s ex-husband, had solid alibis and were ruled out as possible suspects. Thus, with no lead or suspect to follow, the investigation soon came to a standstill.

Brian Landry

In the months that followed, the police pursued numerous leads, including one of Darlene’s previous tenants, whom she had kicked out of her home. Furthermore, the police also looked at one of the victim’s friends who had talked about hurting her, but further investigation cleared both of all suspicion. Hence, the case sat without any progress for several days until a phone call from April gave investigators the break they were looking for. Incidentally, about three months after the murder, April called her brother, Jonathan, and claimed that her ex-boyfriend, Brian Landry, might be responsible for the murder.

Since April sounded distraught over the phone, Jonathan immediately took the information over to the police, who discovered that Brian was in contact with his ex-girlfriend in the hours leading up to Darlene’s murder. Subsequently, the police hatched a plan to collect Brian’s DNA without alerting him, and once the sample was sent to the lab, it turned out to be a match for the one found at the crime scene. Hence, convinced of Brian’s guilty, the police brought him in for questioning and asked him about his relationship with Darlene.

Interestingly, Brian initially denied his involvement in the murder but came clean once faced with the evidence. Even though he confessed to the murder, Brian claimed April was the one who asked him to kill her mother and that he was dressed in all-black clothing during the crime. On top of it, a search of Brian’s house revealed a handgun, which was a match to the murder weapon. Hence, without wasting any time, the police arrested both Brian Landry and April Saddler for their roles in the crime.

Brian Landry is Still in Jail, While April Saddler Was Released in 2017

When presented in court, Brian insisted on his innocence and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. However, the jury eventually convicted him of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder before sentencing him to 25 years to life in prison in 2012. On the other hand, April pleaded guilty to all charges against her, but prosecutors decided to charge her as a juvenile, and she was ordered to remain behind bars until she turned 25. Although the show mentioned that April Saddler was released from prison in 2017, it seems like she still resides in the state of California. Meanwhile, Brian is spending his days behind bars at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County, California, and will be eligible for parole in 2026.

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