It has been 8 years and my sister's passing is still a hard pill for me to swallow. Probably because I haven't dealt with the demons that came with it. I have burning questions about her murder but I simply don't talk about it. To anyone.
Never in a million years did I think I would be without her..
My sister was murdered in a home invasion on the morning of May 1st, 2008. It's now 2016 and her case still remains unsolved. She was 21 years old and 9 months pregnant with my niece Jayme Breann. She was murdered two days before her baby shower celebration. She was the first grandchild for my father and step mother. The first niece to my younger brother and I. It was supposed to be a time of happiness and joy, welcoming NEW life into the world. Instead, we lost it ALL. We ALL broke down trying to understand how someone could murder an innocent woman and her unborn child..
I will never forget the morning I received the news.
The day started off as a normal day. I'm not a morning person so waking up took some time.
Once awake, I'd break off into my morning routine to get ready for school.
But something about that day was just off. My mom wasn't in a hurry like she normally was. She wasn't coming into my room saying "Laina!" "Get a move on." She wasn't saying much to my brother either.
She kept her door closed and I could sort of hear her talking on the phone but she wasn't being her lively self. I thought nothing of it at the time.
I remember checking my phone and seeing I had a ton of missed calls. From numbers I didn't recognize. I had a one voice mail from someone I didn't know but was associated with my sister's at the time fiancé. He said "Laina, when you get this give me a call." "I'm trying to reach your mom." "Just give me a call." I called my dad and step mom. My dad answered the phone with his usual "Hey sweetie!" and I asked "Is everything okay with Brittanee?" He said everything was fine and asked why? I said "I got a voicemail from someone looking for mom." I asked if she had went into labor or something and he went on to say everything was fine. I said okie dokie. We ended our call and I went on about my morning.
My mom and brother finally made it downstairs prepping lunches and snacks before they left for the day. My mom hollered for me to come downstairs, she wanted to do a group hug. We N E V E R did this on a regular day. So this threw me way off. I won't lie, I did the typical teenager mumble down the stairs "OMG!" "Why are we doing this?" "We don't ever do this." "Ugh! She's trippin."
We do this group hug and my mom says "Tomorrow is never promised." Enjoy every day the Lord blesses you with." She goes on to say "I love you" then she and my brother left. I start heading back upstairs when she stops me to say "How about you stay off of your phone today." (in my teenager brain) "Why on earth would I stay off of my phone" .. So I ask "Am I in trouble or something?" She said "No, you aren't in any kind of trouble." "I just think you should stay off of your phone for today." "I mean you never put the thing down." I said "okayyyy mom."
My phone kept going off. I mean my friends and I would always text about meeting at the donut shop and such but it was an unusual amount of calls and texts that morning. I tried to not pay my phone any attention but I just couldn't make sense of why my mom would say something like that if I wasn't in trouble. So I didn't listen and got on my phone. I see texts from cousins saying "Call me! In my head I say alright but I had to finish getting ready because I had a softball game that day. So I get my gear together and keep reading texts about is everything okay with Brittanee. I'm thinking people are trippin so I call my dad again and ask him again "Are you sure everything is okay with Britt?" I'm thinking maybe he doesn't want to ruin a surprise or something for me. He reassures me again she's fine, the baby is fine and to not worry about my phone for the day.
(teenager brain again) "Here we go with the phone thing again."
While walking to school when I get this frantic phone call from my cousin saying "Is everything okay with Brittanee?" "Is the Baby okay?" I'm telling her "yes, she's fine." "I just got off the phone with my dad." "He said she was all good." "What is going on?" My cousin said "I don't know." "I just .. I just want to know if she's okay." Her tone of voice gave my body chills. I get off of the phone with her and just have this unsettling feeling. So I called my dad back. Something just wasn't right.
The phone rings. and rings .. and rings .. He picks up .. I said " Dad, What's wrong with Brittanee?"
I said "I keep getting calls and texts from people asking me about her." I could sense his frustration because I obviously didn't listen to him or my mom about staying off of the phone. I said "Dad, don't lie to me." "Is Brittanee okay?" He sighed... "There's no easy way to tell you this but your sister has been killed."
I dropped my softball gear and I S C R E A M E D!!!! I screamed and I screamed and I screamed. I was screaming so loud people came running out of their houses to help me. I just screamed. I don't think I knew any other emotion in that moment. Tears rolling down my face.
A woman asked "Are you okay?!" I said "My sister is DEAD." "Someone KILLED her." The woman didn't know what to do. She didn't know whether to come and comfort me or leave me alone. I fell to ground and I just cried. My dad remained on the phone. You could hear the hurt in voice. He asked me "Where are you?" Once I could gather myself I told him I was walking to school. He told me to stay where I was and he was going to call my mom to come get me.
I called my cousin back. She rode the bus with my friends and other family members. They all had been waiting for me to call back. When I did I just screamed she's dead. Brittanee has been killed. A rowdy bus went to complete silence. Silence while I continued to cry. No one knew what to say or do. I told them I had to go. My dad called me back telling me to go back to the house and that my mom would meet me there.
I went to my room and just cried. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. My mom finally came home and I started balling some more. She came in the room and gave me a big hug. She knew the pain of losing sibling and she just let me cry. She said "Now you see why I said for you to not be on your phone today." "Your dad called me this morning and told me, but he asked for me to not say anything because he wanted to be the one to tell you."
She said "Let's go get your brother from school." We went up to the school. He was happy as he could be. Who wouldn't be happy to get picked up from school early for no reason. He got in the car and I said nothing. I didn't even look in his direction. Just continued to look out the window. He remained his happy, goofy self the whole ride home. We got home and he got ready to take off upstairs when my mom had him sit on the couch. She called my dad and put my brother on the phone. I'll never forget the look on his face when my dad told him Brittanee had been killed. It was like a mirror to see exactly what I did. He screamed and cried. My mom broke down too. They got off of the phone and we went to our rooms where we cried for an hour. It was like a freight train hit us. I began to sulk and started thinking about all of the wrong things.
My mom asked me what I wanted to do. I told her I wanted to go to school. I couldn't bare to sit in the house any longer. So she dropped me off but said to call if she needed to come back. I don't know why I chose school. The one place I would be bombarded with a million questions. I got a lot of hugs. There was a lot of tears too. People who didn't even know her but could see and F E E L my pain shed tears. I had a game that day and wasn't sure if I wanted to play. I wasn't sure if I had it in me to play. I didn't tell my team until we all made it to the field. Emotions ran through everyone. Their S U P P O R T gave me the push to play the game for my sister and my niece.
I've haven't been the same since the day she was murdered. At my parent's old place we shared a side of the house and I couldn't sleep with her bedroom door open for months. I couldn't think about her without crying. I couldn't make it through anything without breaking down. We went to family counseling but I can't say it did or didn't help any of us. It took years for me to become comfortable walking into her room. Even to this day I struggle with going in her space. Until her phone was no longer on I would call it just so I could hear her voice.
Brittanee was a beautiful woman with her WHOLE life ahead of her. Becoming a mother to a beautiful baby girl, getting married, and getting her degree. She had a smile that could light up the darkest room. She had a love for everyone. Her life was taken before it had a chance to really begin. Not only was her life taken but her daughter's too. Our family was rocked by this tragedy. As long as her killer remains free we will NEVER rest and neither will their souls.
Someone out there knows S O M E T H I N G about that fateful morning.
I want to continue to share her story in the hopes that someone may come across this blog and get the courage to bring some closure to our family. To make the decision to do the right thing for a woman who was taken to soon and for her daughter who never got a chance at life.
If you read this story I ask that you please SHARE it. For every share the story further spreads to people and could end up in the eyes of someone who would be willing to share information.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to come together to help bring closure and peace of mind to a grieving family.
I miss my sister SO much. words cannot express how much I miss her. I've had to miss out on her and my niece. Not to mention they had to miss out on life here. She has a brother in law she'll never get to meet. A nephew she'll never get to meet and spoil. Us being mothers together. There's just so much loss. I pray everyday for justice for our angels.
If you have ANY information that could help with her case please contact Silent Witness at
480-948-6377 or 1-800-343-8477. You can also submit tips online via www.silentwitness.org
If you still have trouble getting through please contact Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (Homicide Unit) at 602-876-1087 or email at MCSO.Major.Crimes@mcso.maricopa.gov.
We appreciate anyone willing to come forward. Thank you for reading and Thank you for sharing!