Former country singer Michael John Braae was known as ‘Cowboy Mike’ and had a reputation as a ladies man, but he also had a taste for rape and murder – Shattered spotlights his crimes.
July 2001, and 44-year-old Lori Jones was last seen in Bailey’s Lounge in Olympia , Washington, where she’d decided to go for a Saturday night out alone after an online date fell through. There she met Braae and the barman later told police that the pair drank and danced together all night, he said they seemed very familiar.
However, when Jones’s 11-year-old daughter Elisa came home from a fishing trip on the Sunday she could not find her mom. When the apartment complex manager opened the door to their home, they found Jones’s body hidden under her bed.
Jones was naked except for a pillowcase over her head and an autopsy revealed she’d been raped and then strangled to death.
Braae was a drifter who liked to pick up women in bars, sometimes even serenading them with his guitar. He usually wore cowboy boots and hat, earning him the moniker of “Cowboy Mike.” He was also on the radar of the police after several women went missing after last being seen with him, including some of his ex-grlfriends. After Jones was found he was a wanted man and police started a search to hunt him down.
He was captured a few weeks after Jones’s murder, following an early morning car chase and shootout with police, where he also tried to escape by jumping 40 feet off a bridge into Snake River. About two miles downstream police sent in a dog, that despite Braae’s attempts to drown it, managed to hold on to him and allow officers to drag them both onto a boat.
In May 2008, Braae was found guilty of the murder and rape of Jones, with his DNA found on her body and his fingerprint on a window blind in her home. He testified that they’d had consensual sex and that he had nothing to do with her death, but the jury did not believe him.
Braae was sentenced to almost 48 years in prison, with many familiar with his history suspecting him of several other rapes and murders.
Shattered – Cowboy Killer airs at 6:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.More: Shattered, True Crime