Investigation Discovery’s ‘Evil Lives Here: The Killer Speaks: He Said He’d Kill Us All’ chronicles how Elisabeth was brutally murdered inside her Manhattan Avenue, Buffalo, maternal residence in early January 2018. The killer had set the house on fire while Elisabeth’s family also resided inside, including her minor daughter. But the police did not have to look for the perpetrator long and they arrested him within hours of the incident. If you wish to learn more about the case, including the murderer’s identity and current whereabouts, here’s what we know.
How Did Elisabeth Bell Die?
Elizabeth (née Altemoos) Bell was born to Cheri (née Connor) Altemoos and the late Edwin Altemoos Jr. in Buffalo, New York. She was an animal lover who spent her free time volunteering at an animal shelter. Her mother, Cheri, recalled how friendly Elisabeth was and everyone “loved to be around her.” She had a tight-knit group of friends, one of whom was Frank J. Bredt, Jr. Cherib described Frank as handsome with piercing blue eyes and a charismatic, charming personality. She added, “He just drew you right in.”
Elisabeth was married to her former husband for around two years before eventually getting divorced. Cheri stated her daughter reconnected with Frank in 2016 after being separated from him for almost a decade. She added, “When Frank walked in, he was completely different from the Frank I knew.” Soon after Elisabeth and him began dating, Frank moved in with her and her family. However, things took a drastic turn when the 28-year-old was burned to death inside her mother’s Manhattan Avenue, Buffalo, residence on January 11, 2018.
Who Killed Elisabeth Bell?
Cheri recounted on the show how much she loved gardening, and Frank and Elisabeth one day helped her put a strong fence around her garden to keep the dogs away. However, she woke up the following morning to find the fence had been ripped from the ground and thrown away. When she confronted her daughter, Elisabeth stated Frank overheard Cheri badmouthing him to her brother behind his back and undid the fencing out of anger. The concerned mother soon began noticing Frank and Elisabeth’s relationship had become volatile.
Cheri recalled how the two always fought loudly, even scaring Elisabeth’s young girl, Isabella Bell, from her previous marriage. The little one often crept downstairs and slept with her grandmother while her mother and Frank argued fiercely upstairs. Cheri recounted once how Elisabeth ordered him to leave the house, and a furious Frank punched a window, shattering the glass. She lamented not stepping in and attempting to put an end to the toxic relationship despite witnessing the red flags and realizing things would eventually take a drastic turn.
On January 10, 2018, Frank and Elisabeth’s relationship reached a breaking point. Cheri recalled how her daughter threw away Frank’s stuff, including his bike, on the street and sent him pictures of her doing. The mother felt something dramatic was bound to happen and went to sleep early. She remembered being awakened by her son, Christian Connor, who notified her that the house was on fire. She rushed into the kitchen and found Frank on fire in the hall. However, by the time the firemen arrived around 3:30 am, he had disappeared.
Members of the Buffalo Fire Department and the Buffalo Police Department responded to the blaze, where they found Elisabeth’s body on the second floor. Five other people were able to escape the blaze, including Isabella, then 7, who suffered burns to her feet. Police sources state Frank ran out of the house while being burned by the flames and attempted to hide. The authorities found him in a nearby home with severe burns to his body. He was taken by ambulance to ECMC, where he remained hospitalized for over a year in the Burn Treatment Center.
Where is Frank Bredt Now?
Frank was held without bail after he was indicted for Elisabeth’s murder at ECMC on the indictment on April 18, 2018. During his March 2022 trial, the prosecution claimed he attacked his former girlfriend inside her Buffalo home hours after she put his belongings out on the curb and posted about doing so on social media. Prosecutor Rebecca Schnirel stated, “That is what set him off. He doused Bell in gasoline and set her on fire in her bedroom.” Frank, who used a wheelchair during his trial, suffered significant burns and did not testify.
Rebecca characterized the couple’s relationship as toxic. She added how Frank had stopped sleeping at the home about two weeks before the incident after living with Elisabeth for nearly two years. His defense counsel tried to unsuccessfully convince the jury that their client didn’t set the fire and that there was no evidence that he did. They claimed that investigators decided he was guilty without proof. The defense noted, “They (the police) started with their picture of Frank, the arsonist. And what didn’t fit, they brushed it aside.”
A jury found Frank guilty of two counts of second-degree murder on March 30, 2022, following a 6-day trial. He was sentenced to 25 years to life at 9:30 am on May 2, 2022. John stated, “This is one of the most horrific domestic violence homicide cases that has been prosecuted by my office.” During the interview with the show producers, Frank claimed his innocence and blamed the fire on Elisabeth. The 35-year-old remains incarcerated at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, New York. He will be eligible for parole in April 2043.