Cold case: Mother still has hope for missing daughter

LYNNWOOD — Peggy Brady is stuck between hope and heartbreak.

Her daughter, Tracey Brazzel, is missing. She vanished more than 13 years ago.

Brady hasn’t given up hoping her youngest daughter is alive. She prays every day that Brazzel will return home. Brady can’t do anything else until she has proof her daughter isn’t coming back.

“I can’t mourn because there’s nothing to mourn, because I don’t have answers,” Brady said.

Brazzel’s disappearance is part of the state’s first deck of cold-case playing cards. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives have distributed the cards to inmates in jails and prisons around the state in hopes of soliciting leads for unsolved homicides and missing persons cases. A similar program has helped Florida detectives make arrests in unsolved homicides.

Detectives put Brazzel’s picture and the details of her disappearance on the Ace of Spades. Brady later told them that her daughter has a tattoo of the Ace of Spades on her hip.

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Brady said.

Brazzel was 22 when she disappeared in 1995. She was last seen May 26 at Kodiak Ron’s Pub and Grill, then located in south Everett. When she didn’t meet up with her friends, her family began to worry. Then they found her car parked near the Keeler Corner Apartments in Lynnwood, where she lived.

There was no sign of Brazzel.

“She just disappeared into thin air. I wish there would have been something more to work with. There’s a lot of questions and very few answers,” said Snohomish County sheriff’s Sgt. Gregg Rinta, who initially investigated Brazzel’s disappearance.

Brazzel’s family and friends searched for her. They used search dogs and hired a private investigator.

“It’s a horrible feeling thinking about what you might find. You want to find something, but you don’t,” Brady said. “You have to do all you can.”

Brady looks for her daughter in the face of strangers. She takes a second look at young women who resemble Brazzel. She’s always searching.

“It’s hard to move on. You can’t close it. I can’t grieve because I don’t know,” she said. “It’s like you’re stuck.”

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

About this series

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives created the state’s first deck of cold-case playing cards. Each Sunday for a year, The Herald is publishing a story about a case featured on one of the cards. The 52 cards can be viewed at

Anyone with information about unsolved homicides or missing persons cases is asked to call 800-222-TIPS (8477). Up to a $1,000 reward is offered.

Tips also can be left on the sheriff’s tip line at 425-388-3845. Callers may remain anonymous, although tips have been more successful when callers speak with detectives, police said.

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