To The Wife: Brandon loved you more than anything or anyone. In his prayer journal he prayed to find “the one” and in birthday cards he wrote “I thank God that you are in my life.” He knew all your flaws and yet, he chose you to love, hoping to receive love in return. Eventually, all of those flaws would turn him away, especially the drinking and your “single life” while still married. He took care of you and your daughter and saw her as his own. He loved her very much. Your last words are what destroyed him …if what you said really happened the night of March 6, 2009, had even an ounce of truth to it. Either way, you are largely responsible for my son’s death.You and Jeremy will have to live with what you know and what you did or did not do to save Brandon’s life. Your account of that night will always stick with me….that you jumped over the kitchen counter and hurt your knee…( you showed me like a six year old would do) and YOU JUMPED AWAY NOT TOWARD the husband you claimed to love so much…as he slumped to the ground from a bullet wound to the head. All of your instincts portray you as the selfish bitch that you have always been and will be. Your own words have sentenced you. Remember when you called me while you were drunk one night after he died….you told me that on the night he died you shoved him!! Your whole account was not mentioned in the police report. What else was left out? In your call to me, you listed all the bad things that have ever happened to you in your life…not once did you mention Brandon…who was dead…who had to be hurting to have died by suicide…or did he die that way? You were always about you. Always wanting pity from everyone and anyone….you with that monotone, dry voice…no feelings for anyone but yourself. You called me up and not once did you say how sorry you were for my loss…MY loss…MY son’s death….only crying in your beer about your disgusting pathetic life.
I pray that your life is clouded with the guilt of all that you did and did not do for my son. I hope that these past five years have been as bad as they have been for me…but, I realize that is a hope that will never be. As a Christian, I am to pray for my enemies…as Brandon did in his journal and so naively stated (but I don’t really have any enemies)…little did he know that his wife would be the enemy he never suspected…along with his pal, Jeremy. I pray God blesses you and keeps you sane…that you will thrive for Natalie’s sake….I pray that I never have to look at your smile-less face again and also your tattoos..you know, the one that was emblazoned across your back…BRANDON….
To Jeremy (the “best friend”): I don’t even know where to begin. I just knew you as the “Eddy Haskel” phony polite kid we could not stand. And yet, I felt sorry enough for you to include you in our Christmas one year. In looking at the videos of you and Brandon that were made in your high school years…it was you who was a foul mouthed piece of work. It was clear that you could have been a very bad influence on Brandon from the start but somehow Brandon had upheld a better and genuine character in spite of those around him. You, on the other hand, flirted openly with his wife (during their separation by all accounts of Melinda’s good friend who witnessed it) and had the gall to have her move in with you very soon after the memorial for Brandon. And on that night, according to the police report, you were caught by the officer, washing your hands when they told you NOT to. It did not seem to matter, though. And when you had Melinda move in with you, you were one step ahead and called the dumbass investigator Bob Grapone, and alerted him that you both were moving in together, in spite of what it would look like…and let’s not forget the way you tattled like a three year old to that same investigator that I was harassing you with unwanted emails after we found out that you two moved in together. I sent three….I saved them for some odd reason. Don’t I deserve some kind of retribution for those like you, who are void of goodness? Who killed my son either literally and physically, or mentally driving him to the depression of which he was already prone?
I believe you were getting advice from your father who was politically engaged in the county and knew people…the right people. After all, didn’t he run for office of some kind? You did not cry at the memorial when you approached me, led by your mother. Your insincere face had that “B” actor’s tearless grimace …and I sympathized…not realizing what you would do or had done. I was a fool. I would soon learn the real you in the videos left behind, the police report, and other people’s accounts. Yes, you are a piece of work, Jeremy. I pray that you find God one day…that is as much as I can pray for you now. I have little use for you.
To Bob Grappone, “the investigator”: I will never ever forget how my family and I were treated when we dared to make an appointment with you two weeks after our son died. Firstly, you …a stout, little man with a big mustache….did not extend a hand or words of sympathy for why we had to be there…but instead told us to sit down and asked us what did we want… WHAT??? I called you to make an appointment and you knew we would be there. You imbecile…why would any parent or family member of a loved one who died by violent means be at your office? We had questions….and still do.
Because we did not have the toxicology report or the autopsy report, you called the coroner and you and she laughed at little remarks made over the phone…as we sat silently sitting there waiting…tears stinging my face from the emotion of it all…and you were laughing. It spoke volumes of your character to me. When you got off the phone you insinuated with your snide voice that you would not be surprised if “it wasn’t the steroids”…the first we had ever heard such a thing..in weeks to come we learned from the toxicology report that it was NEGATIVE for any substances at all!!! And yet, in your professionalism, you dared to speculate to a grieving family who were in shock over the coroner’s assumption that it was suicide. You even told us that Brandon and his wife and friend were planning to have a party that night! YOU idiot…it was late at night and there was no party. They were preparing to move into a house the next day. No one knew anything about a party when I asked Brandon’s wife and friend. You lied…and for what?
Your ego was what it came down to as to how we were treated…HOW DARE WE QUESTION YOUR REPORT (which is separate from the police report)…which we have never seen to this day because I have no emotional stamina to endure again the way I will be dismissed as a distraught unbelieving mother. Instead of being compassionate and sympathetic to our situation…you tried to make us feel even worse in your own way by belittling our child…our son…our loved one…turning the questions around to make our son look more like a criminal than a victim. Our son who had never, ever been in trouble with the law and whose death will never be justified here on this earth.
Months later, a close friend of our family, who was a dispatcher for many years at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Dept. told us YOU came up through the ranks of the EMS…you had little to no training in investigations except for the obligatory few weeks required, that you were a creepy, slithering sleaze ball who thought more of yourself than anyone else did, even the four or was it five ex wives…and that you once arrested an eight year old and bragged about it! And from another reliable source within the department, we found out that you were fired twice from your position for falsifying records …but that’s a forgivable grievance and okay as is set by the standards of Okaloosa Sheriff Charlie Morris (at that time) whose own character and reputation would soon be revealed..because on February 27, 2009….a week before my son died…the sheriff and his cronies were all arrested and eventually, sentenced to prison on charges of fraud and embezzlement. Fraud and corruption are the standards by which you live. My son’s death was overlooked and irresponsibly investigated by you. I just wish you would have been one of the ones arrested. Had you been, who knows how the investigation would have gone. No….we will never, ever be heard by the likes of this department. For the record Grappone…it has been recorded that there are more “suicides” in Okaloosa county than the whole state…makes me wonder if they are not all worthy of looking into…it seems suicide is too easy an explanation for those who are in your position and don’t do their investigation properly. I do pray you find God before you leave your fraud filled life, and find the Truth you have long avoided.
Words to myself: I wish I could have that day back…but what would you do, Dale? I would never have picked up on anything bad. You should have said…”Please come to our house right now…get on the road…by yourself. We need to talk to you alone. We need you to know that we love you and want the best for you..even if that means divorcing your wife….she is no good for you. She has brought you down and made your life miserable. There is nothing to salvage. Please listen to us for your own sake. We have plenty of room here…you can stay with us until you can find whatever it is that will make you happy. We are here for you no matter what. Let’s go to the mountains again and breathe in the fresh air… a fresh start…..look for the joy in this life, Brandon. We all love you so very much. You have been harder on yourself than anyone ever has been. Please come quickly…we need you here with us. We love you, we love you, we love you, we love you……..