‘Dateline NBC: Burning Suspicion’ chronicles the brutal murder of Vashti Seacat at the hands of her husband, Brett Seacat. Brett tried to hide his horrifying crime by setting fire to their house with his wife’s body still inside. Though led astray initially, the police were quick to figure out the inconsistencies in his story. If you want to know more about this case and where Brett Seacat is today, we have got you covered.
Who is Brett Seacat?
Brett Seacat was Vashti Seacat’s husband. They were high-school sweethearts who married in Belize and then settled down in Brett’s hometown of Kingman, Kansas. They had two beautiful children and had a seemingly perfect life in front of them. Brett was also a Sheriff’s deputy and an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Life, though, was far from perfect for this couple who had a rocky and stormy marriage. They often fought, and authorities later discovered that they had also gone to therapy together. Just two days before the brutal murder, Brett was also served divorce papers by Vashti.
On April 30, 2011, Brett called 911 and claimed that Vashti had set the house on fire and killed herself. When investigators arrived, he said that he was sleeping on his couch when his wife called his cellphone from upstairs and requested that he take their kids to safety. He claimed that he heard a “loud bang,” following which he rushed upstairs. There he found his wife dead from a bullet wound and the flames spreading fast. Brett told the police that he took his children outside and put them in Vashti’s car before trying to rescue his wife but was overcome by the smoke and flames.
Police soon noticed the inconsistencies in his story as they did not find any dirt, blood, or injury on him even though he claimed to have fought the flames. Furthermore, the position of the gun beside Vashti’s body and the trajectory of the bullet ruled out suicide. The police also found documentation in the house, which detailed how to disguise a murder as a suicide. Vashti’s suicide note, found in a journal inside her car, was also proved to be a forgery by handwriting experts.
Witnesses came forward and claimed that they saw Brett destroying hard drives and cellphones a day before Vashti died. A neighbor confirmed that he had heard a gunshot at 3:15 am that night, which was almost 40 minutes before Brett called 911 to report the death.
Where is Brett Seacat Now?
With evidence piling up against Brett, the police arrested him and charged him with premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child endangerment, and one count of aggravated arson. Even in police custody, Brett claimed that he was innocent and that Vashti was depressed, which led her to apparently take her own life.
Brett’s trial lasted for two long years, where the defense tried to paint Vashti Seacat as a depressed woman who took her own life. Brett himself said that his wife committed suicide as she was depressed about her marriage and was afraid that her husband would take away her kids after the divorce.
On the other hand, Vashti’s friends told an entirely different story on how Vashti felt happier and free after serving Brett with divorce papers. They also said that Vashti could not have taken her own life as she was not depressed and was looking forward to starting a new life with her sons.
The jury finally returned a verdict and found Brett Seacat guilty on all four charges. For the murder charge, he was sent to 25 years in prison without the chance of parole. He also received an additional 5-year sentence for the aggravated arson charge, while the child endangerment charges netted him 7 months each. The judge also ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
In 2015, he appealed his conviction and tried to get it overturned, but the Kansas Supreme Court dismissed his appeal and upheld the original sentencing. Brett Seacat is currently incarcerated in a prison facility outside the state of Kansas. He got transferred out of state because inmates who are former law enforcement officials are not housed along with criminals they might have sent to prison.
Read More: Where are Vashti and Brett’s Children Now?