Media Advisory                                              

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2005
Contact: Nicole Wagner
(850) 609-3028 or
Catherine Dokey
(850) 651-7420 

Hit & Run Driver Arrested

The Okaloosa County Sheriff ’s Office has arrested a suspect in connection with the 2002 hit and run death of Kymberly Dawn Thomas. Paul Edwards Branchcomb, age 35 (11-02-1969), of 159 Bent Arrow Drive in Destin was arrested this morning after confessing to investigators that he struck Thomas with his 1997 black Chevrolet S10 truck on January 6, 2002. Branchcomb is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death.

Thomas was seriously injured when she was struck on Airport Road in Destin at approximately 3:20 a.m. She was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola where she later died. The driver of the vehicle called 9-1-1 from a payphone at a nearby gas station and identified himself as “Joe Black” but never returned to the scene. The entire two-minute 9-1-1 call was posted on the Okaloosa County Sheriff ’s Office web site for the public to hear in an attempt to identify the caller’s voice.

      An anonymous tip called in to Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers helped investigators develop Branchcomb as a possible suspect. Long hours of investigative work lead to Branchcomb’s arrest.