Text Version:

(Introduction to show begins)

TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host):  Welcome to Missing Pieces.  I’m Todd Matthews and tonight we have Patty Bruce.  Welcome, Patty.

PATTY BRUCE (Guest and sister-in-law of Barbara ‘Bobbi’ Winn):  Thank you.

TODD:  Where are you located in the country?

PATTY:  We’re in North St. Paul, Minnesota, which is the Twin Cities area.

TODD:  Ah, okay.

PATTY:  Minneapolis, St. Paul.

TODD:  Well, obviously, I’m Southern; I’m from Tennessee.  I’m not sure if you knew that or not.

PATTY:  Okay.

TODD:  Tonight we’re going to talk about your sister-in-law that was murdered, Barbara Winn, and I think you have a nickname for her.

PATTY:  Yes, we call her Bobbi.

TODD:  Okay, so we’ll call her Bobbi tonight as well.

PATTY:  Okay.

TODD:  Now, how are you related to Bobbi?

PATTY:  I’m married to Bobbi’s brother, Calvin.

TODD:  Okay.  You’re currently still married to him?

PATTY:  Absolutely.

TODD:  Okay.  So, in the early morning hours of May 8, 1981, Bobbi Winn died in front of her 3 children, from a gunshot wound to her chest.

PATTY:  Correct.

TODD:  Okay, now where did this happen at?

PATTY:  It happened in her home, but there was an argument earlier in the evening…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …which would have been the evening of May 7th.  And Bobbi and Aaron Foster had been having some problems.  He, apparently, had been fooling around on her with another woman, who had a child by him.

TODD:  So they lived together in Maplewood, Minnesota?

PATTY:  They did.

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY:  They did.  And she had ran into this other woman…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …at a bar that evening, on the evening of May 7th, and they had compared stories and figured out that he was making fools out of both of them…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …and they both decided that they were through.  In addition to that, Bobbi had written a letter to Foster about 2 or 3 days before she died.  And in the letter she explained to him that she was through with him, she was tired of the bruises, she didn’t feel like she deserved to be treated the way that he was treating her.  And so Foster knew that Bobbi and this other woman had had a conversation on the evening of May 7th…

TODD:  Ah.

PATTY: …and he was very, very angry about it, so he showed up at the bar where actually my husband, myself, and two or three of Bobbi’s sisters were, and she told him to back his things and get out of her home.  She was through with the relationship.  He left the bar and went to her home, but before he went to her home, he made a stop at another bar and pulled a gun out on a man, in the bathroom, and the police were called, and somebody saw him putting the gun in the trunk of his car out in the parking lot.  So he went back to her home and he waited for her.  When she got there, which would have probably been some time around midnight, they got into a fight, and the fight was so loud, things were being thrown around, it woke up her two boys.  And so he was beating her up and the kids were laying there listening to the fight, and then they heard a gunshot, and they immediately jumped out of their beds and ran to their mother’s room.  Foster was still in the bedroom, coming around the bed, and Bobbi was standing in the corner of her bedroom with a gunshot wound to her chest.

TODD:  Now, how long had her and Aaron lived together before this happened?

PATTY:  I think about a year.

TODD:  So he wasn’t the father of the two boys, then?

PATTY:  No.  Bobbi was separated from her husband.

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY:  At the time, they had been separated for a year or two; so she was married but they were separated, and she was dating Aaron Foster for about a year.

TODD:  Okay.  So we get back to the boys; they see their mother standing in the corner with a gunshot wound to her chest.

PATTY:  Yeah, and also Bobbi’s daughter was awakened by the gunshot.  She didn’t know what it was so she ran to the bedroom as well.  Foster ran out of the bedroom and he ran downstairs, and there was a phone on her nightstand next to the bed, but Foster went downstairs and used the phone in the kitchen.  And the kids had picked up the phone and they were trying to call for an ambulance, but he was on the phone.  And, apparently, while he was down there, he busted two kitchen windows and cut up his hand.  And in the meantime, the kids were upstairs trying to tend to their mother.  She was still standing, bent at the waist, in the corner of her bedroom.  Foster came back up the stairs and he laid her facedown on the floor.  Probably, he was looking for the gun, which was actually laying in front of her feet, when he left the room; but one of the kids has moved the gun.  And so, the only reasonable explanation for him probably coming in there, maybe, and this is just the family’s thoughts, is that he was looking for the gun.  He found the gun.  He laid her down on her face, in front of the kids, picked up the gun, and he left in her car.  He went to a 7-11 store, which was just a few blocks away.  And she died in front of her kids.  And there was absolutely nothing that they could do.  Now, when the kids heard the gunshot…right after the gunshot, they heard her say…Aaron Foster, by the way, goes by the nickname ‘Bubby’…

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY: …and right after the gunshot, they heard their mother say, “Bubby, that hurts,” and that’s all she said.  So the kids made a phone call; they got through to the police.  The neighbors got through to the police.  By the time that the police got to the townhome, Aaron Foster had returned and he didn’t have the gun and he, apparently, was very concerned about why they hadn’t taken Bobbi away yet, and he was banging his hands on the garage walls, they were bleeding.  And the coroner went up and they did some tests to confirm that she had died; and she had.  Now, Aaron Foster had about 12 different versions within a 4-hour period of time from…this was at about 12:15 a.m. until about, I think, 4:30 in the morning.  He had at least 12 different versions of what happened.  In short, his version of events was that 1: They did not get into a fight.  2: He never hit her.  And 3: He was downstairs packing his things in his car and he heard a noise and he ran upstairs to see what it was.  He discovered that she had shot herself, and she told him, “I shot myself, get rid of the gun.”  So he did, when he went to the 7-11 store.  And it was his gun.  And his hands were bleeding, his right hand, the index finger, the finger closest to the thumb on the right hand; that was bleeding the worst.  On his pinky finger on the same hand, when the officer went to go tape it up, he noticed a discoloration not unlike a powder mark, but in order for that officer to bandage up Foster’s hands, he had to wipe his hands, because of the blood.  And they took him down to, I believe, the St. Paul Crime Lab; they tested him for gunpowder residue.  They tested Bobbi’s hands for gunpowder residue; and when the tests came back from the FBI in Washington, DC, they were inconclusive.  They did not rule him out as a suspect, but they also did not exclude him.  The explanation for gunpowder residue being on Bobbi’s hand is that her hands were in close proximity of a discharging firearm.  And Foster was never charged.  The county attorney looked at the case; we don’t know what he looked at, but he never charged Aaron Foster.  He has said that, if anything, the evidence backs up what the suspect says.  But there was not a single, family member interviewed.  Not a single person, at the bar that night, was interviewed.  They did take statements from the children and they did take statements from the neighbors; Bobbi lived in a townhome, so there were neighbors on both sides of her.  And everything that the kids said, they were teenagers by the way, they were 12, 14 and 15, so they weren’t little kids; everything that the kids said, is exactly what the neighbors said, and in 26 years, the statements of the children have never changed.  You know it’s something that you can’t forget.  And so there were no charges filed in 1981.  Foster, since then, has accumulated a long track record of abusing women and threatening them with guns.

TODD:  With actual charges, I mean, were there actually charges against him for these?

PATTY:  There are statements in police records.

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY:  And we’ve actually contacted a few of these women, and their stories haven’t changed either.  So in 2002, here’s how the case came back up…it was closed in 1981.  In 2002, there was a court hearing, in family court, in Ramsey County, and there was a young lady who was seeking an order for protection.

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY:  It happened that it was Aaron Foster, and it was his wife…his second wife you was seeking an order for protection, and there happened to be a reporter in that courtroom, who didn’t know anything about Bobbi’s case, and the lady testified that Aaron Foster had told her, “You are just as crazy as the old bitches in my life.  Bobbi was crazy, and you know what she got.  So don’t go killing yourself because I don’t want to have to deal with that again.”  And in another incident, he pointed his index finger at his temple and acted like he was shooting a gun, and that was when they were in a marital mediation session, a therapy session actually, and she was scared for her life.  So she went and tried to get an order for protection, and Aaron Foster showed up and he had some people come in as character witnesses, and the order was denied.  And the reporter, who was present at that hearing, went to the Maplewood Police Department to inquire about Bobbi’s case, and he got hold of the file and he did a story on it and, as a result, the Maplewood Police Department re-opened the case in 2002.

TODD:  And this is the third time, right?

PATTY:  No, this is actually the second time.

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY:  So it was open in 1981 after the initial incident, and then it was closed in 1981; then it was opened again in 2002.  And the Maplewood investigators consulted different law enforcement agencies here in the Twin Cities, and they told the Maplewood investigators to keep the case open, so they did.  About a year ago, a little more than a year ago, a St. Paul police officer went into the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and complained because Aaron Foster had a permit to carry a firearm.  And the officer wanted to know that why is it that Aaron Foster had been issued a permit to carry a firearm while he is the suspect in a homicide.  And the sheriff’s department didn’t know anything about the case, so they went out to Maplewood, and they had just recently opened a cold case investigation unit; so they went out, they talked to Maplewood and asked them if they wanted some help with the case.  Maplewood said, “Yes,” so the sheriff assigned the case to a couple of his cold case investigators, and so the case has been open.  They have come up with unbelievable amounts of evidence; there are GSRs, there’s the angle of the gun, there are marks on her hands.  See, the autopsy photographs were missing; we did not know where they were.  They did not find the autopsy photographs until about February, but once they found those autopsy photographs, it answered a lot of questions.  There were some marks on the left palm, the outer edge of her left palm, that the investigator demonstrated that those marks came from her hand getting pinched in the firing pin because her left had was over the barrel of the gun when it went off.  And there are some other marks, she was shot in her chest on her right side, and there was a mark right in the center of her chest that seems to be consistent with end of the barrel of the gun with the sight on the end of that .38 Special that was used.  So there’s a lot of new evidence.  There are witnesses that were never ever questioned back in 1981 that have located and questioned; they’ve made statements.  The Anoka County Attorney’s Office is reviewing this case right now, for charging.  We are expecting, any day now, to find out if they’re going to charge Aaron Foster.  We do believe that they will; we really, really believe it.  The evidence…the investigation that was conducted over the last year was an outstanding investigation and in 1981, like I said, none of those people were interviewed.  There was one man in the bar, we never knew anything about this, who had seen Foster punch Bobbi, in the bar that night when she told him to get his stuff and get out of her house, and he (Foster) told her, “Bitch, if I can’t have you, nobody will.”  The guy was never questioned.  In fact, when the guy was located, he thought that Foster had gotten life with no parole; he thought that he had been in prison this whole time.

TODD:  Wow.

PATTY:  Yeah.

TODD:  Now, Aaron Foster is now a civilian working with the St. Paul Police Department?

PATTY:  He is.  He is.

TODD:  Wow.

PATTY:  He was working in the property room and then he got transferred to the impound lot and from what I understand, he’s in charge of the cars that are being brought in that are involved in homicides.  But I understand, you know a lot of people think that he shouldn’t be working there, but I also understand the police chief’s position; he has to abide by the union rules and you know he can’t…I’m sure that if he’s charged, he probably be terminated.  You know, our system is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ so he hasn’t been charged so there are no grounds to get rid of him at this point, but we are very confident that he will get charged.

TODD:  There’s a lot of recent news media…

PATTY:  Pardon me?

TODD:  …recent news media in this case.  I’m looking on the justiceforbarbara.com website as we speak, and there’s quite a bit of recent interest in this case.

PATTY:  Yes, there is.

TODD:  That court case, where he was actually mentioned in court, really stirred up a lot of old information.

PATTY:  Which court case?

TODD:  Where the lady had actually gone to get an order of protection.

PATTY:  Uh huh.  Yes, it did; it really did.  It did and, you know, he wasn’t charged in 1981 and there were consequences that came with that, and this is, we know of at least 5 other women who were victimized by Aaron Foster.  I call it his ‘trail of tears’ that he has left since he murdered Bobbi in 1981.  He’s a violent man and this is all very well documented.  The question is…who’s next?  Who is he dating now?  How is she?  And if he doesn’t get charged this time, you know there has been a lot of misinformation about this case, you know, some people think that the prosecutors have already looked at it three different times; they didn’t, they had only looked at it once.

TODD:  (referring to the music on Barbara’s site)   Mmm, you’ve got music on the site too.

PATTY:  Is that yours?

TODD:   Yes, you’ve got music on the site.

PATTY:  Oh, on the website, yes.

TODD:  I’ll stop that so we can hear.  And I’m reading this and it’s just incredible.  ‘Stop Aaron Foster From Killing Again.  To learn more about Aaron Walter Foster, Sr.’s silent history with other women, click on the link.’  You’ve got so much information here.

PATTY:  Yeah.  Yeah.

TODD:  Neither rumor or hearsay, this is actually derived from actual St. Paul Police reports.

PATTY:  Absolutely.

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY:  Absolutely.  And I stand by every word that I wrote in there, and everything that is in there was taken from police reports from statements made to the police.  If he’s not charged…Sheriff Fletcher had written a very compelling letter to the Anoka County attorney who is reviewing the case that it will set a very, very dangerous precedent for women who are in, and trying to escape from, violent relationships, because the guy will be able to say, “Hey, she killed herself,” and, unfortunately, this case was never thoroughly reviewed in 1981.  Had it been, he would have been in prison a long time ago; we’re very, very confident of that.  But if he gets away with it now, especially after all the media exposure, he will feel very liberated, “I got away with murder,” and then the question is, who is next?

TODD:  Have you spoken to Aaron in recent years?

PATTY:  No.  You know Aaron Foster did not come to Bobbi’s funeral; nobody has had contact with him since 1981.  Different family member have bumped into him, but nobody has talked to him, and he did not come to her funeral.

TODD:  Well, tell me about your husband; what was his take on all this when this first happened?

PATTY:  (sighs)  Well, like I said, we were at the bar that night…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …and Bobby left the bar before we did; I think we were there until closing, which in Minnesota is 1 a.m., and we went to a party after the bar closed and so we were all out pretty late.  We didn’t find out about it until about 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. the next day, almost 12 hours later.  And I think that in order to get a hold of family members, what they did was they went through her phone book; if I remember correctly, that’s how they tracked down family members, and it was terrible.  I answered the phone and handed it to him and I didn’t know what was being said on the other line, but he threw the phone across the room, broke it, and it was horrible to watch and I instantly knew that something was wrong and I went over and I asked him, “What’s wrong?” and he said, “Bubby killed Bobbi.”  And there has been no doubt in our minds; she would not have killed herself, there’s absolutely no way.  She was a very, very strong, very beautiful, very confident woman; she had no reason to kill herself.  She could not have killed herself, and she loved her kids too much.  She wouldn’t have killed herself and to know that he is walking around, free, and literally nobody cared until this was reopened a year ago, and we didn’t find out that it was reopened until right before Labor Day weekend, so that would have been the beginning of September or the end of August of last year (2006).  We didn’t know that they had been investigating it for several months and, literally, no one cared until Tom Lyden, the FOX 9 News reporter, he…we do give him the credit for keeping this story alive because he was very persistent.  He is very committed; he has given it as much exposure as he could and done very, very well, in-depth stories about it.  And some of the other local media organizations caught on, but in 2002, they didn’t; in 2006, they did, and so there’s been quite a bit of coverage since August or September of last year.  And you know, the family is torn…the kids, you know, the two boys, they were laying in their bed and they heard the fight and they were both laying there thinking, “I should go in there,” and they didn’t.  Imagine the burden that they’re walking around with because they didn’t go in there and break up the fight.  So it’s been very, very difficult for the entire family for 26 years and now we’re on pins and needles just waiting for the Anoka County attorney for finish his investigation and we’re very, very confident.

TODD:  Well, you would think if they had reopened it that they would have already talked to the boys.  It just seems to reason that they’re the only witnesses.

PATTY:  Yeah.  There was a conflict of interest because Aaron Foster is a City of St. Paul employee.  This is a Ramsey County case…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …so you’ve got a city entity and then a county government; there was a conflict.  So what the Ramsey County attorney did, was she sent it out to Anoka County…

TODD:  Ahhh.

PATTY: …just to avoid any potential conflict of interest, so that’s why the Anoka County attorney is looking at the case.  And so the Ramsey County investigators actually consulted the Anoka County investigators when they opened the case.  And then they also, let’s see, they talked to…there are, I think, 12 investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies, which would include the BCA, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, the Maplewood Police Department and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department.  All 12 of the investigators that have ever looked at this case, agree that there is probable cause to have Aaron Foster charged.  There is not a single dissenting opinion by any law enforcement officer, that we’re aware of, or from any law enforcement agency.  Every law enforcement agency and officer that has ever looked at this case agrees that this is a homicide.

TODD:  So up until this point, before you knew that this was reopened, how did the family deal with this for 25 years?  What was your hope of resolution?  You know you felt confident that she was murdered, so how do you deal with nothing being done?

PATTY:  Well, I’m going to back up to 1981…

TODD:  Okay.

PATTY: …and the first thing I’m going to tell you is that, nobody ever called the family…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …to tell the family, “We’re not charging him.”  We found out in the newspaper, okay?

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY:  That level of disconnect from a victim’s family, you know, that tells you right there, they’re not going to do anything.  They’re not going to do anything.  And it’s not that everybody accepted what the county attorney had decided, but at the time, in 1981, we didn’t have any idea what we could do.  We didn’t know what our options were, so for…until 2002, it was just something that everybody lived with.  Bobbi’s birthday is on Christmas day and Christmas has, since 1981, has been awful for the entire family because they would normally be celebrating Bobbi’s birthday.  In 2002, the Maplewood investigators contacted a few family members, once.  They were going to get back to us and they never did.  We stood back, we decided we’ll just stand back, you know, thank God the case was open again, and we stood back to give them their room to let them do what we thought they were going to do.  We had no idea that they just kept the case open and were no longer investigating it, but we were very, very hopeful, and then we didn’t hear anything.  So then, when the case got opened again in 2006, and we found out about it in late summer, early fall, we had a family meeting and we decided that, this time we were not going to let it go.  This time we’re going to make some noise.  We held a candlelight vigil in downtown St. Paul on October 19th, 2006.

TODD:   Uh huh.

PATTY:  It was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so we did it to commemorate the Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we did it in memory of Bobbi.  And then we held another one on May 8th, of this year, which was the 26-year anniversary of Bobbi’s death.  And it’s been really, really difficult because of so much misinformation.  One of the things I had clarified at the candlelight vigil that we had on May 8th, a lot of people think that the gunshot residue tests that were done in 1981, they think, and it’s actually been reported in the media, that there was no gunshot residue on Foster’s hands, but that’s not true.  What the reports actually says is that there were not significant amounts of gunshot residue found on Foster’s hands.  But even if there was or there wasn’t, it doesn’t matter, because the way that they did the tests in 1981, they would not do that test today.  And what one of the investigators said about the gunshot residue test, he had consulted a GSR expert, and a suspect that’s handcuffed, who never, ever touched a gun, they handcuff you and put you in the backseat of a car…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …most likely, you’re going to come out of that car with gunshot residue on your hands.

TODD:  Just from being in contact.

PATTY:  Just from being in the backseat of a police car.

TODD:  Wow.

PATTY:  So it doesn’t matter, but a lot of people, they just…of course, we can’t talk about a lot of the evidence; we can’t and for obvious reasons.  But when we look at those autopsy photographs, and that was horrible thing to have to do, it’s something that none of us ever imagined.  That’s something that we never, ever wanted do, but when you look at those autopsy photographs, they tell the whole story.  You can imagine in your mind exactly what happened in that room.  It’s so…everything in that room, everything…the way things were placed, where she was, just everything, it tells you exactly what happened.  You can put it in your mind and you can actually see what happened when you look and those crime-scene and autopsy photographs.

TODD:  It’s hard to use technology from the 80s and compare it today with this new technology that’s available.

PATTY:  Exactly.

TODD:  It’s just so different.  You know, what was positive then might not even be taken into consideration now as a positive.

PATTY:  And that’s exactly what they said about the GSR tests that were done in 1981.  So a lot of people here, they don’t really understand a lot of the evidence; they don’t understand that they’ve been given misinformation, so there hasn’t been a big outcry here.  But I have to say MySpace is amazing.

TODD:  I think that’s where we found you.

PATTY:  Yeah.  MySpace is absolutely amazing, and the people on there are amazing, and the families of other victims out there are absolutely amazing.

TODD:  What’s amazing is, people that are organizing to the levels that they are, you know, coming together; people that are made common with each other because of a crime.

PATTY:  Yes.

TODD:  That’s what you have in common with somebody.  Some of my closest friends now are people that I rarely or never see; the people that I talk to on the telephone or know through the Internet.

PATTY:  Uh huh.  Absolutely.  And, you know, Bobbi’s case, it’s not one of a kind.  There are so many more stories out there, especially concerning women and domestic violence.  There are a lot more cases out there, that for some reason, you can only speculate what the reasons may be, but for whatever reasons, the cases fell through the cracks.  And our hope is, you know, we can’t bring Bobbi back, there’s nothing we can do to change anything; she can’t come back but, hopefully, when charges are brought, we’re very confident that they will, investigators, prosecutors, anybody involved in a homicide, hopefully they will be able to use what happened in this case, as an example of what not to do in the future.

TODD:  Well that’s all you can hope to get out of it besides getting him charged is, hopefully, it will impact other things and help improve the system.

PATTY:  Right.

TODD:  I mean that’s a perfect legacy for her.  Now, I’ve read here that the children actually have noted that there was an abusive relationship that they had observed.

PATTY:  Uh huh.

TODD:  And she was tired of the bruises. 

PATTY:  She was tired of the bruises.  I don’t believe that any of the children actually saw Aaron Foster hit their mother…

TODD:  Uh huh.

PATTY: …but she had bruises, quite often.  The kids knew it was a very volatile relationship and they did not like Aaron Foster.

TODD:  What about you guys as the other extended family members, had anybody recognized that there was a problem in this relationship?

PATTY:  You know I think maybe one of Bobbi’s sisters might have suspected it, but my husband didn’t know.  You know, we have just found out that Foster punched her in the bar, 26 years later we find out.  We were in the bar that night and he (Bobbi’s brother) had no idea that Foster had put his hands on Bobbi, and we only discovered this when different witnesses were located and they were like, “Yeah, I saw him punch her.”  “I heard him say this.”  One of Bobbi’s sisters actually saw Foster hit Bobbi, but when she asked Bobbi about it, Bobbi told her, “Oh no, are you kidding”…my husband’s name is Calvin but they call him Kenny, and she said, “with Kenny in here, are you kidding?  He wouldn’t hit me.”  So she took her word for it but she did tell her sister that she was through with Foster, and that he’s not going to make a fool out of her.  She did not go home and kill herself.  And why would you get rid of the gun?  You know, why would somebody shoot themself in the chest and then say, “I shot myself.  Get rid of the gun”?  For what?

TODD:  It makes no sense.

PATTY:  Huh.  You know I mean, why get rid of the gun?

TODD:  Well if you did it to yourself, I mean, you wouldn’t…hey, I’d blame myself, I’m doing this to myself.

PATTY:  Right.  Exactly.  I mean, for what?  Fear of arrest?   I mean, if you killed yourself, why would you care about the gun?  But she wasn’t able to speak, and his stories, like I said, he’s got at least 12 different versions within a 4-hour period of time; from the time that the police arrived on the scene until the time that they finished up with him down at the crime lab.  Actually I think it was 3 ½ to 4 hours after the gunshot, you know, after he fired the gun, it was 3 ½ to 4 hours later that they actually tested him, but in the meantime he had gone to the bathroom several times and he apparently had been washing his hands.  And, like I said, every investigator, the Maplewood police officers that were there that night, they all believe it was a homicide, and for some reason, it wasn’t investigated thoroughly.  And if it had have been, he would have been in prison a long time ago.

TODD:  Well, if they had enough evidence…

PATTY:  At the very least, there would have been a trial.  And we’re confident…we know what the evidence is.  If is goes to trial, we’re fairly confident that he’ll be convicted, but the problem here is that it was never charged.  The justice system was never allowed to do what it’s intended to do.  It was never…the function of the justice department was completely omitted from the entire process because it never got that far, and that’s all we’ve ever asked for.  Send it to a jury.  Let a jury decide this.  Don’t let just one person decide it, you know.  The county attorney didn’t charge it; we don’t know why.

TODD:  In looking back over the years, do you see things that, if you have known, you could have done something to help re-ignite this case years ago, or maybe to have prevented the whole thing?

PATTY:  Oh yeah.

TODD:  Hindsight is 20/20.

PATTY:  Yeah.  You know there’s a big difference between 1981 and today, in terms of what we are able to do, and the difference in what we might have wanted to do, but couldn’t do back in 1981 and what we have actually done today, is technology, because the Internet is a great tool, for getting information and for getting information out there, and we have done so much research.  And with the website, we’ve been able to get the correct information out there to the public.  We sell buttons with the website on it, and then of course, the MySpace page, that’s been…the support on MySpace is phenomenal.  The people are…I wish that we had a group of supporters locally, like we have on MySpace, and we have supporters from all over the world, and they are very, very loyal supporters.  They care very, very much about the outcome of this case.  So technology, the Internet and being able to get information and to get information out there, has made the biggest difference between today and 1981.  We couldn’t have done in 1981, what we’re doing today because the technology wasn’t there.

TODD:  Well, you know, the people that care are often so few and far between, the communication that the Internet allows you, helps you bring them together in quite a large group now.

PATTY:  Absolutely.

TODD:  And you learn from other people.  You know, what have you learned from other people that has helped you move forward?

PATTY:  Yeah, you know, and the networking, it’s the networking and listening to each other.  You know when…it was actually our daughter, Chanté who had actually put up the MySpace page, I did the website, Chanté did the MySpace page, and what we thought initially when Chanté put up the MySpace page, we honestly thought that Bobbi was the only deceased person on MySpace.  We really believed that.  And so I started tinkering with it in April and I found other families, other victims, and we’ve reached out to each other.  We communicate with each other.  It’s not like we’re just collecting friends to have as many friends on MySpace as possible, these are people that we actually communicate with each other and we network.  And we share ideas.  And we send out bulletins for each other.  And the support is overwhelming.  Every friend on there is so truly appreciated and we feel so blessed for every one of Bobbi’s MySpace friends.  And that is the biggest thing is to network because, not only did we think that we were alone, all of those other families thought the same thing.

TODD:  And you’re absolutely right, and many people have told me this very same thing, you know, “We thought we were the only ones that felt like this.”

PATTY:  Yeah.  Yeah.  We had discussed it at one of our family meetings when Chanté first put the MySpace page up there and we actually talked about it.  We were like, “Wow, you know she’s probably the only deceased person on MySpace.”  And if you go to Bobbi’s MySpace page, you will see other families, other victims, and it’s incredible and the law enforcement community that has taken as interest, from across this nation, they have been so supportive.  And the ordinary people and the different advocates and other survivors, it’s just incredible; and the ordinary people that come across the page and they’re just very touched by the story, and we really did think that Bobbi was the only deceased person on there and we were so wrong.  But a lot of other people thought the same thing.

TODD:  Well it’s good that everybody is connected and are able to help each other at the level that we’re able to do nowadays.

PATTY:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

TODD:  What do you think she would think about what’s happening today?

PATTY:  Ooh.  You know I bet she’s smiling.  I do bet that Bobbi is smiling.  You know, if it doesn’t get…if…worse case scenario, if there are no charges, we put up a fight, and we won’t quit fighting if there are no charges brought by the Anoka County attorney, we will keep fighting.  And we’ll just have to broaden our base of supporters and make a loud noise, but I believe that Bobbi, at the very least, would be at peace knowing how hard we fought.  We’ve fought now for 11 months, almost 11 months straight, and I just think that she would be very, very proud of her entire family.  I believe that.

TODD:  Do you feel, already, without any charges even being laid yet, that a level of justice has been paid to you by being allowed to take your story to the world like never before.  Literally the whole world can listen to this tonight, I mean we have listeners from New Zealand, Australia, Europe, everywhere, you know your story is going to be heard all over the planet.

PATTY:  Yeah.  And I would really like, possibly, to kind of gauge that, Bobbi has an online guestbook on her MySpace page, and I would really like for people that have listened to this, to go sign her guestbook; you don’t have to be a MySpace friend to sign the book, but it sends a message to Bobbi’s family, to her children, to her siblings, to her nieces and nephews, that somebody does really, really care.  And, like I said, for 25 years, nobody cared but us.  It’s been a very, very lonely road, and it’s really helps to know that there are people out there that do have a genuine concern about the outcome of this case.

TODD:  Well, hopefully, your new online family will get a lot larger.

PATTY:  Yeah.

TODD:  I think it will.

PATTY:  I hope so.

TODD:  I think you’re going to meet some amazing people; you already have and I think you’re going to meet a lot more.  I’m confident of that.  It’s some justice there, knowing that other people know and understand what’s going on.

PATTY:  Uh huh.  Yes, because Bobbi has a voice.  You know whether or not Anoka County charges, she has a voice and, at some point, she’s being heard now.  All of these people are helping; they are her voice now.  And I think the louder her voice gets, the more the authorities are going to pay attention, “Yes, there’s something wrong here.  This case needs to be charged,” and at least send it to a jury.  Let the jury decide.  And that’s all we’ve ever asked for, let the jury decide, and after that point then hopefully those that work in justice systems can learn something from this case.

TODD:  And you have a petition?  Is that correct?

PATTY:  We do have a petition.  There’s a link to it on both Bobbi’s MySpace page and on her website.  We put that petition up at a point when we weren’t sure if, you know, we didn’t know what was going on.  We wanted to, which we still do, we want to send a message that this case needs to go to a jury.  Aaron Foster needs to be charged; let a jury decide.  So we would like to see as many people sign that petition.  I think that that is important for authorities to see that this case needs to be charged, and the world wants to see it charged.

TODD:  Well, you know unfortunately homicides, unidentified persons, they don’t come with a handbook telling you what to do, how to react, how to grieve, how to respond, how to advocate, you know you kind of have to stumble into that on your own and find other people that can help you.

PATTY:  Yeah, and it’s a learning process.  It is, and you learn it as you go.  And you learn from other people, you know, we’ve learned things from the families of other victims, and they’ve learned things from us, and the sharing of ideas and the networking is very, very powerful.

TODD:  Well, we’re going to keep your case updated; we’d like to have new news media from you if you’ll keep us posted.  You’ll have a permanent archive page on Missing Pieces, and if something changes, we’d like to have you back.  You are another member of the family and we’d like to have you back to give us an update.

PATTY:  Oh, absolutely, and I’m sure that there are some other members of the family that, you know, I’ll contact you after the Anoka County attorney makes his decision, which we are expecting any day now.

TODD:  Well our fingers are crossed and we’re all with you.  You’ve got a lot more people now, after tonight, that are going to be on your side, I think, because you’re asking for justice; you’re not asking for punishment specifically, you’re asking for justice.

PATTY:  Yes, we want it to go to a jury.  That’s all we’ve ever asked for.

TODD:  And if they let him go, you know, you got your day; that’s what you’re asking for.

PATTY:  Right.  Exactly.

TODD:  It’s been great having you tonight and I look forward to hearing more from you; we will keep your page updated.

PATTY:  Thank you so much.

TODD:  Well, we’ll say goodnight to our audience, and then we’ll talk a little while longer; I always do that.  You could go another hour, but it was good having you.  Everybody, sign their guestbook and look at that petition; all the information will be available on her page.  We have plenty of links so there’s no excuse.  Goodnight everybody.

PATTY:  Thank you.

If you have any information on this case
Please use click this link below:


Please sign this petition:

Site Meter
Missing Pieces is a weekly 1 hour Public Service Announcement brought to you by www.LFGRC.org

Missing Pieces comes to you in the form of a radio show / PSA
as well as a resource / archive located at www.MissingPieces.info
that is produced and maintained by

All production efforts, services and web space are donated by
the above entity on a voluntary basis.

Long Awaited Justice For Barbara
Guest: Patty Bruce
Sister-in-law of murdered "Barbara 'Bobbi' L. Winn"
Aired: July 24, 2007
Special Thanks to
with www.whokilledtheresa.blogspot.com
for transcribing this episode!