2004 cold case of missing Quakertown man solved with killer’s confession

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announces that Daman Smoot has admitted to the murder of Adam Brundage, closing a 16-year-old cold case. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announces that Daman Smoot has admitted to the murder of Adam Brundage, closing a 16-year-old cold case. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

After 15 years, the family of a missing Quakertown man finally has some answers regarding his disappearance.

Adam Brundage, a 26-year-old father of two, was reported missing in October 2004. The case was cold for more than a decade, until Daman Smoot — Brundage’s roommate at the time of the disappearance — led authorities to Brundage’s remains in January.

“It has to be a bittersweet feeling, but I think [Brundage’s family] can now know that Adam will be resting in peace,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub.

Weintraub announced charges in the case Tuesday, less than 10 miles from H+K Materials Quarry in Hilltown Township, where Smoot confessed to killing and burying Brundage in 2004.

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Adam Brundage, a 26-year-old father of two, was last seen alive on Oct. 4, 2004. (Bucks County District Attorney’s Office)

Brundage was allegedly killed during an argument with his new roommate. Smoot confessed to taking a bat to the back of Brundage’s head and then suffocating him as he laid unconscious and started seizing.

The quarry where authorities excavated Brundage’s remains was Smoot’s former place of employment. According to authorities, heavy machinery was used to bury Brundage.

Smoot, who is already in a state correctional facility for a separate domestic assault, will plead guilty to third-degree homicide as part of a deal with the prosecutor’s office.

Weintraub said the body could not have been found without Smoot’s cooperation and precise instructions.

Bucks County law enforcement search the H&K Materials Quarry in Chalfont for the remains of Adam Brundage, who disappeared in 2004. (Bucks County District Attorney’s Office)

The district attorney likened Smoot to “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” someone who coveted Brundage’s life and was driven to kill by jealousy.

In addition to moving in with Brundage weeks before the murder, and where he continued to live briefly after Brundage was reported missing, Smoot had started to drive his roommate’s car.

According to the criminal complaint, Smoot gave different descriptions of Brundage’s whereabouts, claiming Brundage had gone to Iowa, and later West Virginia.

Smoot was considered a suspect at the time but the case went cold.

Weintraub was vague about what sparked renewed interest in the case last April other than saying some “old-fashioned police work” that led his office to pressure Smoot.

“There were a lot of markers, throughout the years, that indicated that our suspicions that Damon Smoot was Adam Brundage’s killer [were] accurate, and so we really narrowed the focus on Damon Smoot,” Weintraub said.

“They said ‘let’s give this a go,’” Weintraub explained. “We have enough evidence here that we can revive this, and use certain extraordinary tools that are uniquely at our disposal to try and breathe new life into this investigation.”

Keith Williams, Smoot’s court-appointed attorney, said his client wanted to “unburden his soul.”

“I think the 2020 Daman Smoot is not the 2004 Daman Smoot,” Williams said. “He’s a different person now. That person in 2004, as described to me, had a large chip on his shoulder, was angry at the world, was angry at everybody.”

This is the third cold case homicide that Bucks County law enforcement has solved in recent years.

“That just empowers us and reinvigorates us and encourages us to continue to do this in the future,” Weintraub said.

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