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The Pain of Injustice

Amanda's Story

What Needs to Change?

UPDATED 04/02/2018

I originally wrote this post in September 2016 before meeting with the Grayson County Sheriff and his deputy in December 2016. I’m adding the BIGGEST change that needs to happen — ATTITUDES! Attitudes within the criminal justice system as a whole towards domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental illness, especially for women.

My personal experience has been with Sherman Police Department, and I realize this is a nation wide issue. We’ve met with so many–criminal investigative detective, Sherman police officer, former assistant chief of police, current chief of police, current assistant chief of police, and dispatch; Grayson County District Attorney’s Office–assistant DA; Justice of the Peace; Grayson County Sheriff’s Office; SW Institute of Forensic Science–Medical examiner; Texas Ranger (consulted by assistant DA and current chief of police for opinion)….. everyone we met with thus far has blamed Amanda’s death on her past history. The man she lived with also had a past history of violence, yet he was treated like the victim. I’m angry with the system that failed her more than once.


I often think about the women I’ve lost. I am so sad and grieved for everything they had to endure at the hands of men that controlled every part of their worlds. We grew up enduring domestic violence. I personally lived the cycle of abuse with my parents until I left home at 17, but the damage and pain linger.

I also think about the other women (& men) and children all over the world that suffer at the hands of people that are supposed to love them. How can we have a different outcome? How can we make these tragic stories end differently? It has to be one of three four ways: change in the criminal justice system, stop the abuse, leave the abuser, or the likelihood that someone will die. Those are the only solutions to this senseless, preventable crime.

There must be training, education, and accountability for EVERY area of the legal system–police departments, prosecutors, judges, representatives, and any other person involved– starting with the 911 call. The small town mentality, and attitude toward women, as well as mental health issues, has to be addressed! Until men are held accountable, with prosecutions (no plea bargains) and jail time, women & children affected by DV will not be safe. Domestic violence is one of the most dangerous types of crimes, and needs to be treated accordingly.

Stopping the abuse has to start early. Abusers were most likely abused themselves. There must be early intervention, education, and programs to help the abuser figure out what’s going on inside them. We have this deep need to control our world, but we do not have any right to control the actions of others, whether physical, psychological, financial and/or emotional. We have to break the generational cycles of abuse. We have to be the generation that says ENOUGH! The abuser needs to be loved on as much as the abused if safe to do so. The flip side though is that they have to want healing, acknowledge the problem, and take responsibility for their actions.

Leaving the abuser is a complicated matter. Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most dangerous times. Often women stay because there is so much fear of leaving safely. People often get frustrated at women for staying with an abuser. I know I got frustrated with Amanda many times. As a child, I got frustrated with my mom for staying with my dad. Blaming the woman for staying is NOT acceptable. They get caught up in the domestic violence cycle – abuse, remorse and apologies, calm, & abuse. Not to mention the fear brought on by threats. If we can’t get the abuser to stop, how can we help the abused feel safe in another environment?

If abuse continues, there is a pretty good chance that someone will die. I’ve lost three women in my life to domestic violence homicides (I’m praying that the truth be revealed in Amanda’s case). In the loss of my sister Vivian, she was leaving her boyfriend, and he killed her. My mother went to check on her hours after it happened because Vivian wasn’t answering the phone, and he killed my mom as well. When I asked why he did it, he said he didn’t want to lose her. Amanda was threatened to be killed numerous times if she left Brayan; but the night she suffered brain death, he told her to be gone by a certain time and if she wasn’t he would kill her. He did! It doesn’t have to end this way! Women, please take precautions and find an advocate. Call your local crisis center. Don’t do it alone. If a violent man feels he’s loosing control of the situation or his partner, it is likely he will ensure no one else can have you either. It’s classic behavior.

Please read and share Amanda’s story of injustice and our family’s story of domestic violence.

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Amanda’s Advocate

Someone recently asked me some thought provoking questions about Amanda’s case. What if nothing gets changed? What if the police and medical examiner get the final word on the outcome? What do you want to happen in telling your story?

Honestly, I don’t know. When I started writing her story in May 2016, I wanted someone in the “law” world to say that there were enough circumstances, witnesses, and unanswered questions to warrant another look at her case as something other than suicide. I also did not want her death certificate to read “suicide by hanging” if in fact someone took her life. I did not want that to be her legacy.

Recently, I have removed all expectations, I don’t have an outcome in mind. I have given up control of where this story ends. All I can do right now is tell her story by pouring out my heartfelt words on this Facebook page and blog site. God is in complete control of the outcome, and justice is in his hands. By releasing my control, I have had so much more freedom and peace to speak from my heart and gut.

From the moments I found out that Amanda’s life had been threatened with murder, heard the ridiculous story Brayan told about the evening of May 14, and learned of the police department’s position on her death, I have tried to be her voice. I will continue to be her advocate until we are heard and her death gets a fair, proper investigation. I will continue to gather information, research, and write until someone listens. If we would have accepted the detectives initial report findings, her case would have died on that table during our meeting on May 18, 2015. I’m not going to let what has been ruled as a suicide slide by until we get the answers we deserve about the events surrounding her brain injury and death.

The detective was called in on Amanda’s case because we had recently talked to the officer, who responded to the 9-1-1 call, in social settings about her situation and asked him for help on getting Brayan picked up on his outstanding warrants. Our involvement to help her started way before May 14. It is noted numerous times in the detective’s report of our concerns for Amanda. We were told more than once that we just could not accept she committed suicide.

In his report, he has noted the following statements about our concerns and persistence  of wanting answers on Amanda’s behalf:

  • “On 5/16/15, I started receiving emails that Kim and Justin Mullins wanted to talk to me and believed that Amanda’s suicide was a homicide.”
  • “On 5/17/15, I came to the Sherman Police Department and made some follow-up calls. I spoke with Kim Mullins and she advised that she believed that Espana may have killed Amanda….”
  • I gave him names and phone numbers of witnesses that claimed to know that Brayan threatened to kill Amanda on 5/14 if she was not out of the house by 7:00 pm. Each person gave a statement to the detective.
  • “On 5/19/15, I met with Kim and Justin Mullens at the Sherman Police Department. They advised they had additional information as to what occurred at 1200 E. Lamar.”
  • On 5/28/16, we met with the detective again. “…at 0900 hours, I met with Justin and Kim again at their request. They advised that they are not accepting the ruling as a suicide and wanted me to change the investigation to a homicide.” Actually we asked why with all the circumstances around the event that this could not be even be considered a homicide?
  • “They advised that based on that they did not feel that I had conducted a proper investigation and would be pursuing other avenues to assure the case was investigated properly.”
  • “Kim advised that she was unable to accept my investigation and believes Brayan killed Amanda and covered it up…..”
  • “I later received emails from Kim and Justin challenging what I had told them and questioning pieces of evidence that they were made aware of in the meeting.”

There were a few times he exaggerated my pleas of looking at it more than a suicide. In my heart I feel like Brayan did this to her, but never asked for the ruling to be changed to homicide, only to be investigated as a possible homicide. We don’t feel her case was treated fairly, and there is no one else that cares for her as much as Justin and me; therefore, it is our responsibility to be her voice and her advocate.

I am hearing of similar cases being handled this way. So if my story just helps one other person become brave enough to step out and get justice, then I will be satisfied. If something doesn’t make sense or there are legitimate questions, don’t be afraid to ask! God knows the end of my story, and he has placed a deep desire in my heart to share it through writing.

“This is God’s Message: Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don’t take advantage of the homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering!”  Jeremiah 22:3

Thank you for reading and sharing The Pain of Injustice.

‘Illegal’ Criminal

September 5, 2016

One fact that we were sure the police department would find suspicious is that Brayan left town. Got in his car on May 17, 2015 and drove away. A witness said he carried a small brown envelope under his arm, got in his car, and drove off; that was the last time he was seen. When we asked the detective if that seemed suspicious, he never really thought it was a big deal. When we asked the assistant chief of police the same question, the answer we got was this is typical behavior for illegal immigrants. They want to skip town if there is anything that brings attention to them to stay out of trouble.

Brayan Espana has a criminal record that goes back to 2006; that is 10 years. He has had multiple citations and arrest. In Grayson County alone, under this alias, he has been arrested 6 times.

  1. 2009 assault causing bodily injury/family violence, no license no liability insurance, spent 3 days in jail
  2. 2010 driving while intoxicated, driving with no driver’s license, spent 1 day in jail
  3. 2011 driving while intoxicated, open container, escaped from custody, in jail from 1/29-2/25
  4. 2011 assault family violence, spent 1 day in jail
  5. 2011 display fictitious license plate, no driver’s license, violate promise to appear, spent 1 day in jail
  6. 2014 assault causing bodily injury family violence, no liability insurance, spent 1 day in jail (this is the assault to Amanda witnessed by a Sherman police officer, and that his active warrants are for)

There are other traffic violations, such as no driver’s license or liability insurance in 2006, and bail jumping and failure to appear from 2014.

He apparently hasn’t been too worried about attention being drawn to himself over the past 10 years. What makes this different? He had been pulled over numerous times and never had a driver’s license or insurance, he has been in front of a judge with no legal paperwork, he has sat in the Grayson county jail numerous times, he drinks and drive’s on our local streets with no worries about harming other’s lives, and he has escaped custody and jumped bail and failed to appear…. I don’t think he has been too worried about getting into trouble. How is this time different? What was he so worried about to just drive away and left everything he owned in that ratty house they lived in? After all this time in Grayson County, working at gas stations and STARR aircraft, living here, beating on women, why leave now? I think I know why, but police say otherwise; it’s just not suspicious behavior according to them.

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

Police Department’s Conclusion–Part 2

September 4, 2016

Part 2 of the Sherman PD official conclusion of Amanda’s Case: Assistant chief of police official conclusion to close the case on 5/18/2016, over 1 year later. Continued from previous post:

Possibility of other causes:

The bruise on the right side of her chest was observed by (witness) prior to the incident

Pierce reportedly claimed the bruise was caused during an altercation with Espana several days prior to 5/14/15

Pierce’s initial condition (unconscious but alive) as reported by SPD Paramedics tends to support Espana’s account of the events

Dr. Cardenas examined Pierce upon her arrival at Wilson N. Jones hospital and confirmed her condition was consistent with the evidence and circumstances found at the scene.

According to SPD Paramedics and Dr. Cardenas, Pierce’s body showed no other signs of trauma at the time of the incident.

No other person was believed to be in the home at the time of the incident.

 None of the items listed are even ‘possibilities of other causes’. Espana told the ICU staff that the bruise was from CPR he performed on her. Her initial condition was unconscious and asystole, that IS NOT alive, that’s not just ‘unconscious’. That means NO heartbeat. He stated he did 10-15 minutes of CPR before calling 9-1-1, why do that much CPR if someone is alive? I intend to speak with Dr. Cardenas about his professional opinion and forensic knowledge, to say the picture of an iron cord matches the trauma to her neck, if he even said that at all. There was someone else in the home, it was the housemate who gave inconsistent statements to the police and me. His story is all over the place and doesn’t make sense either.

Espana as a suspect:

Time lines established during the investigation confirm Espana’s reported whereabouts prior to and at the time of Pierce’s hanging.

Espana immediately took steps to resuscitate Pierce and quickly contacted Paramedics.

Witness statements from (housemate) and (witness) tend to corroborate Espana’s account of the incident.

There is insufficient evidence to charge Espana with any criminal offense related to this incident.

There is virtually no physical evidence that indicates Espana contributed to Pierce’s death.

 Where do I start…timelines during investigation confirm his reported whereabouts. Which one? The one where he clocked out of work at 1709, verbally told the detective that he got off work, stopped by the gas station and tried to use debit card for cash but declined, got on 75 South, then Lamar Street, got home and walked in the back door and talked to the neighbor for 5-7 minutes? That timeline or the one the detective WROTE about him not getting home until 1900 (15 minutes before he called 911) after he hung out with friends after work? Which one does he get to use? There are many more discrepancies in the timeline. Immediately took steps…after going downstairs and getting a witness, then attempting CPR for 10-15 minutes before call 911? I am confident that one of the witnesses did not corroborate his story and the other one told different stories to different detectives. Your position on the case is noted—no sufficient evidence that he contributed to her death.

Confusion in the case:

Due to a history of abuse, Espana was suspected of possibly causing or contributing to Pierce’s death.

In the days following the incident, theories were voiced by uninvolved and/or misinformed individuals which may have caused confusion and concerns for the Pierce’s family.

Alternative conclusions raised during the investigation of this case are unsubstantiated and fail to implicate anyone of a crime.

The definition of abuse is to treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly. He was suspected by the family because he threatened to murder her that day if she was not out of the house by 7:00 pm, not solely on the abuse; also that he had an active warrant for domestic violence and multiple witnesses to that ‘abuse’. I cannot wait for comments by “uninvolved and/or misinformed individuals”! Who exactly are you referring to? The witness, her friend, who she called for help out of desperation? Or her ex-husband she spoke to that day who confirmed what Amber said, that she was scared for her life and needed to get out of the house. The one that was giving her a place to go after her life was threatened with murder? Our confusion comes from the police’s disregard to that information days after she suffered brain death. That they jumped on the suicide wagon and put blinders on to any other possibility. This whole ‘confusion in the case’ section infuriates me!

Conclusion:

All verifiable evidence in this case indicates that Pierce’s death was a suicide by hanging. My review file, containing photos, copies of recordings, and documentation were submitted as evidence with this case.”

That is the lead detective’s supervisor’s official report on Amanda’s case. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the turning point we were hoping for, but definitely gave us an idea where the Sherman Police Department stood on her case.

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

Police Department’s Conclusion — Part 1

September 4, 2016

The final person we met with from the Sherman Police Department was an assistant chief of police. This was a meeting that we were hoping would change the direction of the investigation, or actually start an investigation. We had met and poured our hearts out to so many people since May, and felt we had enough circumstances, legitimate questions, and discrepancies in the detective’s report to warrant a fair investigation into Amanda’s death.

We told him our concerns with the detective’s investigation. One being that Brayan got in his car 2 days after it happened, leaving everything he owned, and drove away; illegal immigration documents, family photos and letters from his home country, clothes, computer, etc. He said that was ‘typical behavior’ of illegal immigrants because they don’t want any attention brought to themselves. He obviously wasn’t scared in the past after being arrested and cited multiple times in Grayson County. I carried a 5 foot long piece of extension cord similar to what was allegedly used and asked him to demonstrate how, based on his professional opinion, that her injuries could have been caused with no knot and at that length; and also to show me how Brayan could have broken the cord with his bare hands.

We discussed other issues and he assured us he would look into the case “thoroughly” and get back to us. That was last September, still haven’t had a follow-up meeting or even a courtesy reply to my multiple emails. Following are notes from his report I received in May 2016. That is when I found out his official position on Amanda’s case.

He notes that he spoke to the medical examiner on 9/30/15. “Dr. Urban again confirmed the findings described in the autopsy and added she was, ‘more sure since reading the report.’” He continues in his report to say, “In comparing the autopsy photos with photos taken and later provided by Kimberly Mullens, Pierce clearly had ligature marks (deep grooves) around her neck. The clearly defined marks coincided with the skin folds in her neck and remain consistent to the back of her neck (consistent with hanging).” Problems with this:

  • Dr. Urban said ‘more sure since reading the report’—what report? When did she read it? I thought the detective spoke to her extensively prior to autopsy?
  • He states “receipt of autopsy photos was initially delayed, therefore a second request was sent”. He did not receive autopsy photos until February 1, 2016.
  • Yes there were ligature marks in the autopsy photos and my photos. THEY WERE NOT DEEP GROOVES! A deep groove is indication of hanging…. There were NOT deep grooves, there was deep tissue bruising of the front strap muscles on both sides on the LOWER part of her neck, and on one side of the back lower neck. There were abrasions and multiple levels of marks going horizontally. There were two marks going vertical, but the way the cord was tied to the rod, there is NO way enough contact was made to make those abrasion marks. Nice try, this was the only place “deep grooves” was mentioned!

 

Next page of his report…

”Based upon my review of the case, my findings are as follows:

Prior History:

Pierce suffered from mental health issues and substance abuse for a number of years.

Pierce was involved in a troubled and abusive relationship.

Piece was reportedly trying to leave the relationship, but felt she had nowhere else to go.

Pierce expressed some level of desperation in that she believed she had to be out of the house that evening

Problems with ‘Prior History’ section: First thing he states she suffered from mental health issues; she was involved in a troubled and abusive relationship and was ‘reportedly’ trying to leave the relationship, but felt she had nowhere to go—SHE HAD SOMEWHERE TO GO! She needed one more night so she could get her paycheck the next day and that’s where the conversation was left at with her friend Amber at 5:20 pm that day. Amber was expecting a return phone call that night letting her know if she could stay that night or had to leave. That plan was in motion 4-5 hours before. There is a witness to that conversation and the detective was aware of it. And, her expressing some level of desperation that she had to be out of the house….so she was so desperate that she walked across the street at 5:20pm after making arrangements with her friend to move out, to wait for Brayan to arrive home to ask permission to sleep one more night in the house she paid rent on, and decided, screw it, I’ll just take my life…MAKES NO SENSE! Again, she was scared for her life—no phone, no car, no money because he stole it the day before, no place to live….she was not hopeless!

Evidence at the scene:

Evidence at the scene indicated Pierce may have been intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Pierce’s injuries were consistent with being hung by a thin ligature around her neck.

The iron cord collected at the scene is consistent with Pierce’s injuries.

The photos depict injuries consistent with her reported body position.

There were no other visible injuries or signs of a struggle.

 Evidence shows that blood alcohol level was 384. That’s .384! 0.40 is usually death level. With a 0.384 level is most likely she was severely impaired, poor or if any fine and gross motor skill, or unconscious. Her injuries were consistent with thin ligature—does that cause ‘deep grooves’ as he claimed earlier in his report? An iron cord in my opinion is not ‘thin’. The reported body position was by the man we suspect may have done this to her. No other visible injuries—if someone squeezes the breath out of you and your blood alcohol level is 384, don’t think there would be much of a struggle.

I will continue Part 2 of the department’s conclusion on the next post.

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

 

Forensic Science — Part 2

September 1, 2016

After Amanda was pronounced dead on May 20, 2015 and her organs were harvested for donation, her body was sent to The Southwestern Institute for Forensic Science in Dallas, Texas for autopsy. This is what we pleaded for, in hopes to get confirmation of what we suspected; at the same time wondering if we were wrong.

I have told the story before, but will recap. After her death she was sent for an autopsy. In the detective’s report, he stated “At about 2145 hours, I received a call from the intake clerk at SWIFS who gathered information for the doctor to conduct the autopsy on 5/21/15.” We got notice on Friday, May 22 from the funeral home that Amanda had arrived back in Sherman, and that we needed to make some final arrangements. They told us the initial cause of death was suicide. We had to get permission from JP to talk to medical examiner’s office because we had questions to how she determined it a hanging death versus strangulation.

The doctor informed us it was based on 1) no defense wounds to the neck, like fingernail marks trying to fight against a ligature from strangulation; 2) the hyoid bone was not broken. We questioned her about the circumstances around the case and about possibility of boyfriend strangling her then staging it to appear to be suicide, and about the ligature used matching marks. She informed us that Amanda came to the facility as female possible suicide by hanging. There was no other evidence sent with her, such as ligature, photos, blood work, circumstances, witness statements, family concerns, etc. Our questions then became how can a complete and accurate autopsy be performed when the only information provided was suicide by hanging? Wouldn’t that limit your focus to one cause of death? What is the possibility she would call the detective and say ‘hey this is suspicious of homicide’? Is that how forensic pathology works? I don’t know but am open to input.

In a book by Dr. Dinesh Rao, a forensic pathologist, he explains that death due to strangulation has some general features. “Evidence of violent compression or constriction of the neck during life is obtained from the presence of bruising or ecchymosis about the neck, haemorrhages in the strap muscles, under the skin…..” All of that was present. In my opinion, it seems impossible for her to have all the trauma present by her sitting on her knees, leaning forward into a cord (not tied) for less than 10-15 minutes (per Brayan). He told me he saw her sitting in the window when he drove up to the house. So with a blood alcohol of 384, she managed to do everything he said happened. I’M NOT BUYING IT!

In a follow up meeting with the detective, he said he didn’t know why the medical examiner said she didn’t know anything about the case. He stated he spoke extensively about it to her. Their stories do not match up about what he said he reported to her personally and what she told us on May 22. In his report, he stated “On 5/21/15, SWIFS assigned case # for Amanda…..At 1445 hours, I spoke with medical examiner Dr. Jill Urban. I discussed in detail the investigation and she advised that based on the information provided and her autopsy that her official ruling was ‘a suicide’.” That’s odd, because we spoke to the same doctor on 5/22/15, the day after the autopsy, and she said she didn’t know anything about the case. I sent her all my photos I took along with police records and explained what witnesses came forward and told us while she was in ICU. Also, the autopsy was performed at 10:00 am on 5/21, and he spoke to her according to his report, at 1445…that’s almost 5 hours AFTER the autopsy.

There are so many things that don’t make sense about this autopsy. It went back and forth between us, Sherman police department and medical examiner’s office for 4 months. Our meeting with the assistant chief of police in September ended with him promising to thoroughly look into the case. He told us he would personally call the medical examiner’s office, and asked me to send him all the pictures I had taken of Amanda immediately after with all her injuries and the day she passed away with the healing that had taken place. Tomorrow’s post will be details from his report and what his findings were concerning Amanda’s case. Let’s just say, he backs the detective 100%.

Thank you for reading, liking, commenting and sharing Amanda’s case of injustice!

Forensic Science — Part 1

August 28, 2016

No one can imagine how much research I have done on the topic of forensic science and autopsies. I do not claim to be an expert, but have discovered it is not an exact science and mistakes can be made. Justin and I begged and demanded that an autopsy be performed on Amanda after we discontinued life support. It is amazing at what we were put through to get this done. There was so much confusion during her week in the ICU with trying to preserve any evidence and at the same time wanting to help others through organ donation. We could not get the detective to come see us after we learned of the murderous threats on the day she suffered anoxic brain injury. We were forced to take the situation in our own hands and become Amanda’s voice and advocate, and praying an autopsy would answer so many questions.

I vividly remember that Saturday after it happened, and realizing that maybe she didn’t do this to herself. The ICU staff had taken Amanda’s neck collar off after any cervical neck fractures were ruled out, which is common in hanging victims. The moment I saw her neck, I was baffled at the trauma I saw, compared to what the detective and Brayan had told us 2 days before that she was sitting on her knees. At this time I was not aware of specific details as I am now, but the patterns did not match with what I logically thought of typical hanging victims. It would make sense that most of the trauma would be higher above the larynx, just below the jaw line. That’s not what I observed. Some notes that I wrote while sitting at her bedside Saturday were:

  • “ligature marks, multiple marks-varying in intensity and cross each other – not consistent with hanging marks”
  • “Mark completely encircles the neck, front marks, deep bruises in front lower muscles, do not encircle the neck”
  • “Sloping marks – very faint, either pulled up from behind or post mortem to appear hanging”
  • “Abrasions – scabbing across the encircling mark, maybe some struggle”

On that Saturday, we did not know how long Amanda’s heart would beat. I began emailing the detective because Sherman PD dispatch said he didn’t work on weekends and would be back in on Monday morning. The house supervisor even called the Sherman PD on our behalf. Someone suggested we contact the justice of the peace because they were ultimately responsible for ordering autopsy after deaths. We had left messages for him to call us concerning Amanda’s case. He returned our call and I explained what we knew so far, and he advised “that based on her past history, there would not be an autopsy ordered”. I then asked what history, and he said something about her past mental health issues and previous attempted suicide – (alleged attempt). I could not believe what I was hearing on the other end of the phone. At this point, the attending ICU physician took over the phone call and I could hear him telling the justice of the peace about their concerns as well about foul play. He proceeded to tell him that the family was suspicious and could not reach the detective, and there should be an autopsy, but at that point nothing was done. Hospital procedure at this point is that if law enforcement does not ask for an autopsy, it would have to be at the family’s expense if done, which would exceed $6,000.

In the detective’s report from 5/16/2015 he noted that he had indeed talked to the justice of the peace that day and acknowledged receiving our emails, but had not bothered to call us back. His note from that day:

“On 5/16/15, I started receiving emails that Kim and Justin wanted to talk to me and believed that Amanda’s suicide was a homicide. I also received a call from Justice of the Peace Atherton inquiring about the case because he was asked by the family to order an autopsy. I told him what I had learned thus far. He advised that he was not ordering an autopsy at this time because the family still had Amanda on life support.”

So, he admitted to seeing our emails on Saturday 5/16, but did not call us or come see us; and the justice of the peace did speak to the detective before calling us back on Saturday evening and telling us he was not ordering an autopsy based on past history.

One of Justin’s co-workers personally knew the DA and put a phone call in on our behalf. I can’t remember if we personally talked to him or one of his representatives. I had also contacted the victim’s resource advocate at the DA’s office on Monday the 18th, asking for help. We exhausted every avenue we could think of, and it paid off in getting the autopsy ordered.  In the detective’s report, “Earlier in the (d)ay {5/18/15}, I received phone calls from District Attorney Joe Brown, Assistant District Attorney Kerye Ashmore and Justice of the Peace Larry Atherton. I was advised that they were ordering an autopsy after the family decides when to take Amanda off life support. The body will be taken to Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences for autopsy.” So an autopsy can be ordered before a person is deceased? That was three days of extreme anxiety in waiting for the okay for an autopsy and praying her heart lasted long enough to get the order.

As mentioned in other posts, we met with the detective and another police officer on 5/19/15. Our meeting was fruitless to say the least. At one point we were told “this is not television CSI mam”. What an insult! A statement from his report is worthy to note, “I explained to the Mullen’s that the investigation was still ongoing and asked them not to do anything else to jeopardize the investigation.” I’m just throwing that in for giggles; honestly, me jeopardize the investigation, really? Leaving the meeting it was clear that his investigation hinged on the autopsy. He made it clear that nothing pointed toward homicide at this point and wanted to wait on the autopsy results.

In the following posts, I will go into the issues surrounding the autopsy and it’s results. Thank you for reading, liking, commenting and sharing Amanda’s story of injustice. I will continue to be her voice!

Domestic Violence

August 23, 2016

Domestic violence incidents, reports, and references were made over 44 times in the detective’s 11 page report. Numerous people came forward with story after story of violence and abuse by Brayan, an illegal immigrant that Amanda lived with. She lived in fear and terror no matter if she stayed or left him; there were threats to kill her multiple times if she left him, if she didn’t come back after she left him, or if she didn’t leave him, which is the case on the night she suffered anoxic brain death. He had so much control over her life that she lost any sight of the person she was.

Below are some examples that were reported to the detective days after the incident concerning Brayan threatening to kill Amanda. This does not include the abuse she endured, only threats of murder in months leading up to her death:

“Brinlee told her (me) that Amanda called her to tell her that if she was not out of the house by 1900 that Espana was going to kill her”

“Amanda told Brinlee that Espana put his hands around her neck one too many times. He told her to be out of the house by 7. I’m tired and I can’t take this any longer. If he chokes me again, he will probably kill me.”

“Brinlee says that Amanda called her at 1715 hours saying that she was scared for her life and needed to get out of (t)he house by 7. She said she was scared to death that Brayan would choke and kill her because he had been choking her a lot lately and if he did it again, he would not let go.”

“She (Maranda) said about 6 months ago Amanda called her asking her to come get her because Brayan was abusive.” “She said Amanda told her that Brayan was going to kill her and would not let her out of the house.”

“When Williams told Amanda to call the police, Amanda told her that she did not want to call the police because Brayan would kill her or get someone to.”

“She said after a few weeks, Amanda begged her to take her back to Brayan. Williams told her that she needed to stay with her. Amanda then told her that Brayan called and told her that he would kill her if she did not come back.”

“Amanda told Williams that she was afraid that Brayan would also kill Williams and her family if she stayed with her.” This included my sister Vivian’s children because Maranda was their step mom.

“(co-worker) said that Amanda told her that she felt trapped and could not leave Brayan and that Amanda told her that Brayan told her ‘I’ll kill you and get away with it and I’ll chop you up like your mom and sister were’”.

The detective’s attitude toward the violence is disturbing. He knew all of the above information before Amanda actually passed away. We also have reason to believe he had been made aware of the outstanding warrant for domestic violence. A couple statements from his report reflect his attitude toward the abuse Amanda endured:

“Numerous assaults by Brayan in which only one of them was reported to the police on 05/25/2014. This was only due to an officer driving up as they were arguing in the street”. The officer observed Brayan assaulting her and he was arrested. They advised Amanda to go to the hospital because of her severe injuries but she refused because she was scared of Brayan and the repercussions of law enforcement getting involved. His point of “this is the only one” and because “an officer driving up” makes me so angry.

“I asked him (Dustin) why none of this had been reported to the police and he advised that Amanda did not want the police contacted.” Do you think detective that is because in the first 8 pages of your report she had been threatened with murder over 8 times? That her contacting the police for help could result in her or her family being murdered! Of course he didn’t have an answer to that when we asked him!

Again, why couldn’t this death be considered as something other than suicide? That is the only question I want answered. I don’t understand the detective’s reasoning that “there are no indications of homicide”. What does it take for homicide to be a possibility? That is the question I asked the detective, a Sherman police officer, medical examiner’s office, DA’s office, and the assistant chief of police. Also, what was the purpose of the press conference called in May of this year concerning Domestic Violence and Homicide by Sherman PD and the District Attorney’s office? Didn’t it address situations such as Amanda’s? Statements were made that everything would be done to deal with domestic violence. Just wondering where’s Amanda’s justice?

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

Unfair Assumption

August 18, 2016

It is unreasonable and unfair to assume that just because a person has an addiction to alcohol and history of depression, that they must have taken her own life. The tone of the detective’s report was apparent from when he walked into the room she lived, and also interviewed Brayan about Amanda and her past. A profile was painted of a person that suffered with mental health issues and addiction, by what he observed walking in the room she called home, and by a man that terrorized and traumatized her daily—‘so she had to have done this’ is what I honestly feel he assumed. Nothing in his report suggest otherwise. A few statements from just the first two paragraphs in his report are:

  • “The room was dirty and cluttered. I saw no signs of a struggle”
  • “The room was littered with alcohol containers and cigarette residue”
  • “There were several open alcohol containers in the floors, chairs, and table and several plastic bags of empty beer containers”

I do not live in denial about Amanda’s struggles. They were real. She had used alcohol since she was in her teens. She self-medicated and numbed anxiety, unresolved grief, and depression with alcohol over the years. Some days after the death of all our family members, it was hard, actually a lot of days it was damn hard for both of us. She talked me through times of not wanting to live, and we shared addictive tendencies. This woman fought for everything she had. There were no other attempted suicides; only one other event reported by her boyfriend as an attempt, which is also surrounded by many questions on this side of her life. This girl worked hard from January 2015 saving money to get away from Brayan and the abuse. She was caught in the vicious cycle of domestic violence.

Brayan was interviewed by the detective later after the incident. Again many references to Amanda’s problems:

  • “He said that Amanda has an alcohol problem and she drinks all the time”
  • “Amanda had been depressed and had been drinking”
  • He went through all the deaths of our family members
  • “Espana said on top of that Amanda had lost her husband and children because of her alcohol and pill abuse about 3 years ago.”
    • Brayan specifically told the detective that she did not take pills or drugs, only alcohol; the detective added that to his report on his own.
  • “He said that Amanda drinks she gets mad and they argue”
  • “He said that she tried to overdose on pills about 4-5 months ago and he made her thrown up and called her sister Kim Mullens to come and take her to the hospital. He said that Amanda’s family did not like him.”
    • Again, this is all questionable, as he was with her during that time frame and would not take her to the hospital. She was scared she was going to die when she called me that night. I told her to make herself throw up and go to the hospital. I begged Brayan to get her to the hospital. I was 8 hours away in Mississippi and felt helpless. When I told him I was going to call an ambulance and police, he said he was taking her, but never did. Her intentions, I feel based on talking with her afterwards, was not a suicide attempt. In an interview with one of her friend’s Maranda, she told of an incident where Brayan and some other Hispanic males were drinking together and she passed out. She felt like she was drugged when she regained consciousness; her vaginal area and legs were bruised and there was a needle mark in her arm. She told her that she thought Brayan had drugged her.

 

 

Statements about our meeting in his report were fabricated as well.

  • “Mullins said that Amanda called her about 1530 hours today wanting her to come and get her” 
    • I never spoke to Amanda that day, only through text message that morning around 10 am when she was looking for Amber’s phone number. Amanda never expressed to me or Justin that she was in grave danger and needed help, she never asked me to come get her. She hated to be a burden to people but she did reach out to her close friend, and did have a way out and a plan.

 

  • “Mullins said that she told Amanda that she could not help her and believes that she attempted suicide out of desperation”.
    • LIE!! Desperation over what, being scared for her life? I may have used the word desperation during our initial meeting at the hospital that night, but it was a cry of guilt on my part that she didn’t call me for help if she was that depressed and hopeless. That night at the hospital, I had no idea what had happened in the previous 24 hours. This conversation that he refers to in his report that I told her I WOULD NOT HELP HER never took place. It is another LIE! If she would have reached out to me that day and told me that Brayan threatened to murder her, I would NOT have hesitated. Again, she had a plan that started working out after 1200 that day, she was scared, not to be confused with desperate.

Other examples of the detective placing emphasis on Amanda’s mental health and addiction in his report:

  • “(Brinlee) knew that she had been depressed and that Espana was abusive to Amanda”
  • Housemate: “….but he knows Amanda drinks a lot of beer and gets argumentative”
  • Housemate: “Amanda comes home every day with beer” Actual interview the house mate called her a ‘weekend warrior’
  • Royal Case HR director: “She said Amanda came to work nearly every day with alcohol on her breath. She had recently been promoted.” HR director denies she ever said that to the detective. If someone comes to work with alcohol on their breath, why would they be in line for a promotion? Who told him she came to work with alcohol on her breath EVERYDAY? The only person interviewed was the HR director.

 

Did Amanda ever have a fair chance at an investigation that would prove or disprove Brayan’s involvement in her death? Just because a person has depression, anxiety, addiction, or grief, do they not deserve a fair investigation into family and friends’ questions and suspicions? Can’t the risk of murder be equal to the risk of suicide, especially with circumstances surrounding a death? I feel that her past mental health history played a huge role in the suicide ruling by Sherman PD and the medical examiners office. I will continue to be her voice.

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

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