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Clarity on Shooting Death of Brandi Celenza in F-Section May Take Weeks, Possibly Months

| April 24, 2018

Brandi Celenza lived most of her 25 years in Palm Coast and graduated from Matanzas High School. (Facebook)

Brandi Celenza lived most of her 25 years in Palm Coast and graduated from Matanzas High School. (Facebook)

A memorial service for Brandi Celenza is scheduled for noon on April 27 at Parkview Baptist Church, 5435 Belle Terre Parkway in Palm Coast, with visitations at 11 a.m.

It has been 17 days since Brandi Celenza was found dead of at least one gunshot at her home at 23 Felter Lane in Palm Coast. It may be weeks, possibly months, before the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office concludes its investigation in the 25-year-old woman’s death, Sheriff Rick Staly said.

“I believe that there will be a conclusion to this case, but whether it’ll be two weeks, six months, I don’t know,” the sheriff said. The agency has been extremely tight-lipped about the investigation starting from the day when Celenza was found at her home and the sheriff’s supervisor of detectives called the incident “definitely suspicious.”

Suicides, including suicides by gun, are frequently determined in a matter of hours or at most days.

The only documentation the Sheriff’s Office has released so far is the five-line initial case report on the shooting, which merely states, in the reporting deputy’s words, that at 10:40 a.m. the morning of April 7, “I made contact with reporting party Keith Johansen who advised his wife was involved in a shooting incident. A crime scene was established and the incident was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division.”

Celenza and Johansen had, according to Celenza’s Facebook page, married a year ago, and Celenza went by the name Brandi Johansen, though Celenza’s obituary in the News-Journal notably does not recognize the marriage nor does it name Johansen among Celenza’s survivors, pointing to a rift between Celenza’s family and that of Johansen.

The sheriff’s case report points to Johansen as the one who reported the death. There was a 911 call, apparently placed by Johansen, but the call has not yet been released.

The incident report notes that Celenza’s 6-year-old son provided a verbal statement to law enforcement, as did Johansen. The boy is Celenza’s son from a previous relationship. Both the boy and Johansen were at the house at the time of the gunshot or gunshots, though that exact time, if known, has not been released. The boy is no longer with Johansen, though the house, after remaining off limits for several days as investigators processed its interiors, was turned over again to Johansen.

“There’s just nothing that we can release at this point. It’s a very active investigation,” Staly said last week in an interview he gave during the grand opening of the Family Life Center, the shelter for victims of sexual and physical abuse. “We’re doing what we have to do.” He added: “Time is on our side and we don’t want to rush any conclusion or any investigation.”

Another telling detail in the obituary the family wrote about Celenza was this: “In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Brandi’s honor to the Family Life Center at PO Box 2058, Bunnell, FL 32110 or online at”

Johansen was arrested on a violation of injunction charge in September 2015, involving the mother of his daughter, who had previously received a friends request from Celenza and seen her with Johansen in the parking lot where she (the daughter’s mother) worked. She told police she later saw Celenza take video of her at Walmart. The charge was dropped.

Explaining the time the investigation is taking, Staly said: “We rely on a lot of other people, like the Medical Examiner’s Office for example. We don’t have a formal report from the Medical Examiner. We’re still waiting from other providers that we’ve served search warrants on.” Every scrap of information gathered requires analysis. “It just takes time, unfortunately.”

Celenza’s obituary states she was a resident of Palm Coast for 20 years and had graduated from Matanzas High School and its ROTC program, “loved being with her family and those closest to her,” and considered her son “the center of her universe.”


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14 Responses for “Clarity on Shooting Death of Brandi Celenza in F-Section May Take Weeks, Possibly Months”

  1. Linze says:

    Something fishy going on

  2. Anonymous says:

    There should have been an arrest made already… P.O.P unfortunately

  3. Anonymous says:

    My deepest sympathies to Ms. Celenza’s family–especially her young son. May she RIP. And, if her husband was complicit in any way with her death, may he receive the justice he deserves.

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Too many cases of young women killed by their significant or not related males in this county.
    Bova murdered an innocent Rte 100 gas station clerk while she was at work to sustain her kids as a single mom and still has not been sentenced playing the insanity BS.

  5. Outsider says:

    So sorry for the family of this young woman. I hope the sheriff is keeping close tabs on this Johansen character. I hate to assume, but I’m assuming.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It seems obvious when they were the only ones there besides the kids.

  7. ConstantlyAmazed says:

    Seriously, months?

  8. HonkeyDude says:

    My thoughts prayers and condolences to all those affected. For all those who have judged I hope you are wrong. I also hope the child wasnt involved. Thoughts and prayers all around. May the void be filled with love and joy.

  9. Shoregal says:

    Yes it’s pretty obvious but obvious isn’t going to hold up in court it has to be proven in court. Tragically she is not on this earth anymore, nothing can change that. It must be heartbreaking to the family and the cops that resolution will take time but By the cops taking their time doing it right, dotting their “I’s”crossing their “t’s”.
    So if and when charges are placed it won’t be thrown out or pleaded down because they took their time and got something solid.. This will take time and I’m pretty sure he has a lawyer and probably not being forthcoming with helpful information.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There’s not much hope in this case if Flagler County is handling it. The family needs to request an independent investigation by another jurisdiction perhaps in Duval or Orange County. There is no excuse for this to take months…..if Sheriff Staly would get off the soap box and get down to work something may get done….in the meantime his agency runs itself.

  11. jim says:

    like Orange Co. and Duval Co. dont have enough homicides of their own to investigate!!! ” Oh yea boys lets drop our cases and run to Flagler County cause they have a tough one”!!! I do AGREE about the soap box though and YES homicides can take up to a year to close!! especially traffic homicides

  12. Jenn says:

    My heart breaks for this family and for her son. 17 days and they still have not been able to have a funeral, that is horrible I hope Justice is served and it’s pretty obvious who the shooter was especially if they held the body this long. Prayers going out to the family and they Brandy rest in peace and her son be watched over by his mom and protected from that monster.

  13. FlaglerBear says:

    Those of you who feel the case should have already been resolved one way or another need to march right down to the Sheriffs Department (the sooner the better) and tell the person at the front desk that you DEMAND a meeting with Sheriff Staly and his homicide detectives immediately! Once this meeting is granted, which I’m sure it will be, you be sure to tell him that you need that case cleared IMMEDIATELY if not sooner! Why? Because you are HOMICIDE EXPERTS! I’m sure the Sheriff will see to it that your orders are followed forthwith. Why? Because YOU are the REAL experts! Tell em FlaglerBear sent you. Who? Right.

  14. dma says:

    Prayers and love to this family! I hope her parents are getting information directly from the Sheriff’s office, or whoever exactly is investigating, and not just reading the progress of the investigation online. It seems that may be the case from a Facebook page and, if that’s true, that’s just sad. I like and trust Sheriff Staly and I am a big supporter. However, I hope the family hires an attorney to do an independent investigation on a contingency bases. There could be many reasons for a gun firing other than a husband with a past. I am not saying he or anyone else is innocent, I just find it suspicious and curious that this is expected to take so long. Something seems askew and the family should have a voice and possibly a law suit if the gun was defective and possibly fired while being moved or cleaned or something else. The delay makes one think of many possible angles. They can also sue the person who did this if it is found to be caused by someone. I hope they get a lawyer or, at least, get independent legal advice. God rest her soul and God bless this family.

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