December 15, 2016

This is a follow up from my last post in October. We met with the newly elected sheriff and his deputy with our concerns about how Amanda’s case was handled by Sherman Police Department, and they assured us they would look over her case with an open mind and fresh eyes. I spent several hours copying pictures, notes, reports, blogs, and records. I left my file with their office for over 2 months to be reviewed, and we finally had our follow up with the chief deputy last week. The emotions were almost overwhelming in anticipation of this meeting, but regardless of the outcome, I knew that if this was not the time or place, God was still in control. Needless to say, this was not the time or place, but a necessary step in this journey for justice.

When we arrived in the conference room in the sheriff’s office, the chief deputy had a pad with written notes. I did not sense this meeting would be in our favor from the beginning, and as it turned out, it was not. He started by explaining that there has to be enough evidence to prosecute a case, and even if Brayan walked into his door, confessed to killing Amanda, and turned himself in, there still would be problems with prosecuting him because the evidence doesn’t support murder. Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure.

Following are some points he made to Justin and me about why it would be impossible to get a conviction:

  1. The issues that I had raised about Amanda’s blood alcohol level and being conscious or even able to hang herself at 384. He said because of her history of alcoholism, that level may not affect her like it does a normal person. He said he had arrested someone with a higher BAC that was driving a vehicle and able to function. He said that point would not hold up in court. My questions then become, she was 120-130 pounds, could that level at least affect fine motor skills? Just because she was drunk, does that make it automatically plausible she committed suicide? What’s normal alcohol level for her? There’s no baseline. I’ve seen her put back a 6 pack of beer not too long ago and she couldn’t even hold a cigarette.
  2. Brayan had a history of choking her “with his hands”, why would he all of a sudden use a cord? Really? No one can vouch for every choking incident she suffered through. He kept her isolated from everyone. How can it be determined that an abusive psychopath will only choke a certain way? He said he would kill her, maybe the hand choking method wasn’t successful in the past (assuming that’s the only way he choked her) why not do it with something more forceful to make sure he carried through with his promise?
  3. If Brayan intended on killing Amanda, why would he attempt CPR for 15-20 minutes before calling 911? Why would he try to save her life if he intended on taking it? His efforts kept her alive to make it to the hospital. Well she was brain dead and her heart had stopped beating, she was only alive because we had her placed on a ventilator.  Question here is, did he really do CPR? The witness (who told me he helped take her down but told the police he didn’t)and Brayan had different accounts of what happened in the moments around this event. Why didn’t he call 911 first instead of letting her lie there not breathing? Why was he and David downstairs when responding officers arrived, and not with her, helping her? Everything that happened in those moments is what Brayan said happened. It takes 5 minutes for anoxic brain death, times just don’t add up. I’m sure with some research, I could come up with men or women who try or even kill their partners and try and stage it as accident or suicide.

I began asking about the marks and bruises on her neck and how it didn’t add up to what Brayan and the police said happened, he said the autopsy supports Brayan and Sherman PD’s ruling. I reminded him that the autopsy wasn’t fair because Dr. Urban didn’t have any evidence, reports, etc. with Amanda; he came to her defense and stated that he knows Dr. Urban and she does a great job. I asked about the threat of murder, Amanda being packed to leave, inconsistent timelines, lies in the detective’s report, Brayan leaving town….he said “I don’t have answers for your questions”….. There was nothing I could say to convince him, and there was nothing he could say to convince me. After reviewing my entire file, there was nothing outside the autopsy that led him to believe that Brayan could have taken her life.

I left there brokenhearted, but not hopeless. I called him after leaving the meeting and asked him what would he do different if this was his wife, daughter or sister….he just said the evidence doesn’t support homicide, it’s been ruled a suicide. He reminded me that I’ve leaned on the Lord so much during this and to keep trusting Him. I can now say that I have gone through all the channels in Grayson County. No one has been willing to help me. I clearly see that everyone to this point have supported Brayan and the Sherman PD, including the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s department.

God doesn’t plan to leave it here. After leaving the meeting at the sheriff’s office, I knew everyone was hiding behind the autopsy and we had to get that issue addressed. One week later, an article about misconduct in the Dallas Medical Examiner’s office comes across my newsfeed on Facebook. I contacted the reporter immediately about my story, and she has agreed to look over Amanda’s file. This reporter went on a talk show and talked about Amanda’s case. Her passion for justice and interest in Amanda’s case gives me renewed hope. She has seen the pictures of Amanda and the crime scene and she is even more convinced of a grievous mishandling of her case by Sherman PD and DME.

Another God thing is an awesome advocacy group, Riding4Justice. They are leaving this Saturday to ride to Austin to bring awareness to the injustices happening in Grayson and surrounding counties. This group has believed in me from the beginning and kept me going in times I didn’t think I could go on. Amanda is one of the cases they are taking to the state capitol. I am so grateful for what they are doing to stand in the gap and help family’s struggling to find answers! And by the way, I just found out this group has worked with the reporter I contacted earlier this week on other cases…there are no coincidences!

Thank you for reading, liking and sharing Amanda’s story of injustice.