Nicole Brown Simpson's tragic murder and O.J.'s infamous escape: 30 years later

It's been 30 years since Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered alongside her friend Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994.

Neighbors found the bodies at Brown's Brentwood, California, townhome, police woke the sleeping children and escorted them out the back door to spare them the grisly sight.

Their father, former NFL player O.J. Simpson, was famously arrested for their killings, then acquitted after what many called the "Trial of the Century." More than 100 million people in the United States, alone, watched his televised not-guilty verdict.


LOS ANGELES - MARCH 16: O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson pose at the premiere of the "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Isult" in which O.J. starred on March 16, 1994 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)

Simpson died of metastatic prostate cancer at 76 years old this April, Fox News Digital previously reported.

O.J. Simpson becomes a fugitive

Hanna Zoey Tur, a helicopter pilot, recalled June 17, 1994, when she and millions of others in Southern California learned that Simpson had failed to surrender to police on two counts of murder for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

RELATED: OJ Simpson dies at age 76, family says

Later that afternoon, Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti held a news conference reaffirming the unbelievable.


A family photo of Ronald Goldman, who was murdered with O.J. Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson June 12, 1994. (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage)

"As of this time, approximately 3 p.m., nobody knows where he is," Garcetti told the press. That’s when the former football legend became a wanted man and was on the run.

"He was a fugitive. I turned to my crew and I said, let's get in the helicopter. Let's find him," Zoey Tur shared.

The low-speed chase

The helicopter pilot, who has been flying planes since 1976 and is a commercial pilot, was in the air that day for more than five hours. The coverage led to one of the most-watched moments in U.S. history.

RELATED: "Let's find him": Helicopter pilot remembers O.J. Simpson chase

"I looked down below us, and there on the freeway, there was a white Bronco. And within a matter of seconds, there was a police unit, a sheriff's unit, another sheriff's unit, highway patrol, and the white Bronco wasn't stopping," she revealed. "We were on the air live ahead of anyone else for about 22 minutes." 

The award-winning pilot is credited with shooting and reporting the very first live police pursuit in Los Angeles and was the first helicopter pilot to find Simpson and televise the infamous chase.

"I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, because O.J. was a larger-than-life character," Zoey Tur said, adding, "He was a beloved member of Los Angeles, he was a Heisman Trophy [winner], he was a sports legend, he was a movie star. He golfed with presidents, and now, just like another criminal, running from the law, there was O.J. Simpson."

Murder trial

The criminal case was a media sensation.

O.J.'s monthslong televised trial, dubbed " the trial of the century," ended up eclipsing his dazzling record as one of the most gifted running backs in football history. The trial touched on fame and wealth, love and hate, the judicial system, the media, domestic violence and racism. It was a Greek tragedy, soap opera and circus sideshow. America couldn’t get enough.

TV comedians satirized the case. Trial Judge Lance Ito was parodied by a black-robed group of " Dancing Itos." Prosecutor Marcia Clark was wooed by an admirer who flew a plane over the courthouse with a banner asking her to marry him.

At the trial, prosecutors painted a picture of O.J. as a jealous ex-husband and a cold-blooded killer. They pleaded with jurors not to be intimidated by his " dream team " of highly paid defense attorneys, his charisma as an actor or his status as a football star.

Evidence found at the murder scene seemed overwhelmingly against O.J.: Bloody footprints in his size were there, as were blood drops seeming to match his DNA and a glove identical in style to one bought by his slain ex-wife and worn by him at televised football games. Another glove, smeared with his blood and blood of the two victims, was found at his home.

RELATED: Where is the O.J. Simpson chase white Ford Bronco?

But the science of DNA analysis was in its infancy, and there were mistakes by police and forensic technicians in handling evidence. When O.J.  tried on the gloves in court, he couldn’t get them onto his large hands, leading to the famous line his attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. later delivered to jurors: "If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit."

What has become of OJ's children 30 years later?

At the time of her murder, Nicole's two children were 8 and 5 years old.

Before welcoming Sydney and Justin into the world with Brown, Simpson had three children – Arnelle, Jason and Aaren – with his first wife, Marguerite Whitley. Aaren drowned in the family's swimming pool before her second birthday in 1979.

Sydney and Justin's aunt, Dominque Brown, told People in May of this year that Brown Simpson's children "would prefer to just stay low-key and raise their families."

Fox News Digital was unable to reach any of the Simpson children for comment – here's what we know about their lives today.

Arnelle Simpson

Arnelle Simpson, now 55 years old, was born when her football player father was 21 years old, on Dec. 4, 1968. 

Before her stepmother's death, Arnelle "tolerated Nicole," Denise Brown said in the Lifetime documentary. 


LOVELOCK, NV - JULY 20: O.J. Simpson listens as his daughter Arnelle Simpson testifies during his parole hearing testifies during his parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center July 20, 2017 in Lovelock, Nevada. Simpson is serving a nine to 33 ye

"Being a girl, Arnelle was more on the side of [her] mom," the elder Brown sister recalled. "'You broke up my mom and dad,' that kind of thing."

Simpson divorced his first wife Whitley in 1979, two years after he started dating Brown.

Arnelle was an ardent supporter of her father, testifying in his 1995 trial that news of Brown Simpson's death left him "emotional," "out of control" and "distraught." She stated how much her father's family missed him and wanted him to return home.

Later, at Simpson's 2017 parole hearing for a 2007 armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel, she asked that her father be released.

"As a family, we recognize he's not the perfect man, but as a man and a father he has done his best to behave in a way that speaks to his overall nature and character," she said, CBS reported.

USA Today reported in 2017 that Arnelle Simpson was living in Fresno, California. She was put in charge of her father's NFL pension, interests and assets after his Las Vegas arrest.

She remained close to her father and managed his assets until his death. 

Arnelle Simpson has appeared in several documentaries about her father's trial, including "OJ: Trial of the Century." She told Georgia Newsday that it has been difficult to maintain a career with her family's reputation, but that she worked for a rapper called Hash and produced some fashion shows.

Jason Simpson

O.J. Simpson's second child with Whitley, Jason, was living a private life as a chef at Atlanta restaurant St. Cecilia, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2016. 

Born in 1970, Jason was at his father's side when he was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 1980. He was also at the premiere of "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" alongside Brown Simpson and his two half-siblings three months before his stepmom's murder. 


Jason and Arnelle Simpson listens to opening arguments January 26, 1995 (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage)

After the infamous police chase where officers tailed Simpson's slow-moving white Bronco, Jason Simpson met with his father at his home in Brentwood. He tried to speak to his father, but was instead handcuffed by police and led back to the house.

The eldest Simpson son has never been implicated in the murders of his stepmother and Ron Goldman. However, private eye William Dear has spent the last 30 years trying to prove that Jason was actually the killer, per reporting by CBS. He published a book on his theory in 2012, which led to the documentary series "Is OJ Innocent? The Missing Evidence."

Sydney Simpson

O.J. Simpson's first child with Brown Simpson, Sydney, was born on Oct. 17, 1985, and was only 8 years old when her mother died.

In Lifetime's just-aired documentary on Brown Simpson's life, Denise Brown gave a glimpse into Sydney's confusion at the time.

"One night I was tucking her into bed and we were talking, she said ‘Denise, is my daddy in jail?’ I said yes," the elder Brown sister recalled. "She said, 'Is my daddy going to die?' I said, ‘No, why?’ She said, 'People who kill other people, don't they kill them?' and I said, 'They already said they're not going to do that, Sydney.'"

She and Justin moved with their father to Miami in 2000, six years after their mother's death, when their father was granted full custody.

In 2001, the FBI raided Simpson's home for drugs due to his connection to drug dealer Andrew Anderson, the Tampa Bay Times reported.


LOS ANGELES - MARCH 16: O.J. Simpson, Nicole Brown Simpson, Jason Simpson, Sydney Brooke Simpson, Justin Ryan Simpson pose at the premiere of the "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Isult" in which O.J. starred on March 16, 1994 in Los Angeles, California.

Regardless, Sydney graduated from Boston University in 2010 with a sociology degree, according to People, and spent some time in Atlanta before moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.

There, she bought multiple properties that she rents out and oversees, the Tampa Bay Times reported in April 2016.

Sydney and Justin were photographed in 2016 at the wedding of Denise Brown's son Sean Brown, according to People.

Days after her father died in April and was cremated in Las Vegas, Sydney was spotted by Daily Mail photographers outside her Florida home, carrying a car seat into her apartment.

Details about Sydney's family are unclear; in the Lifetime documentary, Dominque Brown said her sister's children have "their own families" and "children of their own."

"They just want to live normal lives and happy lives," she said. "They don’t have both parents. It’s hard for them. It’s sad. I don’t know if it’s hard, but it’s sad for them. And I think their privacy is important to them."

Justin Ryan Simpson

Born on Aug. 6, 1988, Justin Simpson was just 5 years old when his mother was murdered outside her home as he slept upstairs.

Days after their father's death in April, Justin's godfather, David Brobeck, told People that Brown Simpson's children had found the "good life."

"They've grown up, and they have their own families now, and they're doing really well," he said. "They're solid, solid people and parents, and we just wish them all the best and give them lots of love."

In 2016, Justin was employed by Coldwell Banker in St. Petersburg as a realtor – he told the Tampa Bay Times that it was "a great place to live."

"Why not St. Pete?" he told the outlet. "It's gorgeous here."

In February 2022, he announced that he and his wife were expecting a daughter.

"We are extremely excited, scared, nervous and in love," he wrote. "In only a few short months we will be welcoming little Lana and can’t wait for you to meet her!"

FOX News and the Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.