Brothers charged with murder of Melissa Peacock

Police have charged two men with murder in the case of Melissa Dawn Peacock, who has been missing since November.

1 man also charged in death of Ben Hare, 1 woman arrested in connection of that case

Police have charged two brothers with murder in the case of Melissa Dawn Peacock, 20, who has been missing since November.

Melissa Peacock had been missing since November. (CBC)

Dustan Joseph Preeper, 24, of Halifax, and Joshua Michael Preeper, 20, Kennetcook, Hants County, have been charged with first degree murder in the death of Peacock.

The relationship between both Preeper men was confirmed by Kevin Burke, Dustan Preeper's defence lawyer.

Dustan Preeper has also been charged with second degree murder in the 2010 death of Ben Hare, 26.

He was previously charged in the Hare case, but those charges were withdrawn.

When the charges were withdrawn against Preeper in the Hare case, the Crown didn't offer any reasons.

Hare was found dead outside a Truro apartment July 8, 2010, after a brawl at a party. Police say the two victims didn't appear to know each other, and the cases are connected only by a common suspect.

Today, a 24-year-old woman was arrested in connection with Hare's death. She's currently in custody, confirmed Truro police.

Peacock left her home in Dartmouth at about 7:30 p.m on Nov. 7, 2011. Her mother, Ruth Slauenwhite, said Peacock kissed her, said she loved her, and that she wouldn't be gone long.

Peacock later began sending puzzling text messages, saying she would spend the night in the country, though she didn't want to be there.

Police traced her cellphone, and found she had been in a car headed north on Highway 354 after midnight.

Dustan Joseph Preeper, 24, is taken into Truro Provincial Court Wednesday. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Remains found

Human remains were found at a property in Colchester County Tuesday.

"While the RCMP are working with the medical examiners office to identify the remains, it is the strong belief of the investigators that the remains are those of Melissa Peacock," said Chief Supt. Brian Brennan at a press conference Wednesday.

The Justice Department added her case to the Justice Rewards Program, and offered a reward of up to $150,000 for evidence. That made the difference, police say.

The rewards are only paid if the information leads to a conviction and the informant may have to testify in court. Though it offers up to $150,000, the actual amount paid will be determined by justice officials on a case by case basis.

Peacock's case was added to the program last May and police say a key tip was left on the rewards phone line that same month.

The rewards program began in 2006, but this is the first time the program has helped police solve a crime.

There are now 62 cases on the rewards list — the oldest is an unsolved murder in Halifax back in 1955 and the list includes the disappearance of Kimberly McAndrew in 1989.

Peacock's family released a statement shortly after the news conference.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the police officers involved in the search for my daughter, Melissa, and for bringing to justice those accused in her death," said Slauenwhite.

"On behalf of the family, I respectfully ask for privacy during this traumatic time to allow us an opportunity to grieve and to say goodbye to our Melissa."