Victim’s family reacts to charges filed against accused murderer

SALT LAKE CITY — Relatives of a woman who was murdered in a brutal attack remember their loved one as a loving mother with a big heart.

Investigators said Valerie Brantzeg was killed by her estranged husband Walter on August 22.

“She loved her children with everything she had,” Valerie Brantzeg's sister Jeanne Long said. “She stepped up to help others with everything she had.”

Valerie Brantzeg's teenaged daughter was also beaten, but survived the attack. She suffered a fractured skull. Relatives believe Valerie Brantzeg helped save the girl.

“She made the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter, trying to keep her from being beaten,” Long said.

Court documents show Valerie Brantzeg filed for legal separation from Walter Brantzeg and she informed him she was seeking to obtain sole custody of their 13-year-old daughter. Investigators said Walter Brantzeg carried out his savage attack only days later.

“One of the most horrific domestic cases I’ve seen,” Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said.

Valerie Brantzeg's family wishes something could have been done to prevent this crime.

“We never knew what was going on,” Long said. “We tried to get her out of her house. He had enough control that he brought her back.”

Now the family is focused on helping Valerie Brantzeg's two daughters heal.

“Those girls are going to be survivors. They are not victims, they are survivors,” Long said.

Long hopes people will hear Valerie Brantzeg's story. Long urged anyone who is trapped in an abusive relationship to get help.

“We would really want anybody else in this type of situation to please do whatever you can to get out. It’s not worth your life. It’s not worth your children’s lives. It’s not worth the horror that we as a family are going through right now,” Long said.

Victims of domestic violence can call the domestic violence hotline at (800) 897-5465.