Mother of domestic abuse victim wants teens to speak up
INDIANAPOLIS - A teenage girl's life was in danger, and her family didn't see it coming. It is a tale told all too often with a national rise in teen dating abuse. Now an Indianapolis family is reaching out to save other teens despite their pain.
Brittany March's family loved her. Family pictures tell a story of a young life full of promise.
"Brittany was very outgoing. She was never shy. She had a lot of friends," said Dawn Brumley, Brittany's mother.
She was a teenager full of spirit, spunk and sass.
"That's show and tell and she's got a snakeskin. Oh my gosh, of course, she had a snakeskin!" said Brumley.
Brittany was passionate about family. She was the only girl with two older brothers. They called her the family princess.
"We are short a lot of things, but we are not short pictures of Brittany," said Brumley.
A family video celebrates Brittany through the years.
"She was the light of my life," said Brumley.
But her light was extinguished and her years cut short at the age of 18. Dawn Brumley remembers the night before Brittany died.
"I hugged her and kissed her and told her I loved her and went to bed," she said.
The next morning, Brittany headed to the Greenwood apartment of an on and off again boyfriend, a rocky relationship that worried her Mom.
"Some of her friends did tell me that there was some verbal abuse; that it was more mental," said Brumley.
That day, Brumley received texts from Brittany from her boyfriend's cell phone.
"She said that he had broken her cell phone and took her keys and wouldn't give 'em back to her and wouldn't let her leave," said Brumley.
But shortly after that came another text.
"'We've figured out that this is not going to work and we're going to go our separate ways.' and that was the last I heard from her."
When Brittany didn't come home, Brumley sent her son to check on her. He found a devastating scene at the boyfriend's apartment.
"He kicked in the door, he looked over and the bedroom door was shut and he kicked in the bedroom door and Brittany was lying on the end of the bed. She had been shot twice in the head and the boy had then shot himself in the head," said Brumley.
The murder-suicide happened on December 10, 2009. Brittany March and her 19-year-old boyfriend Corey Dix were killed.
"I knew he had killed her. I knew she was trying to leave and go home, and he killed her," said Brumley.
That was a year and a half ago, and the shock of losing her daughter to abuse has led Dawn Brumley to speak out to warn others.
"I've said it a million times, if it could happen to Brittany, it could happen to anybody," she said.
She urges parents to talk to your teens about abuse and watch for signs that they are being controlled emotionally, verbally or physically.
"I have learned that the kids don't tell you. They don't tell you. They tell their friends," said Brumley.
She wanted to take us to a place where she feels close to Brittany again - her graveside, with a beautiful teardrop headstone.
"I miss being her Mom. I miss talking to her every day. I just miss everything about her," said Brumley.
The headstone has "her picture on it and a beach scene 'cause she loved the beach." Etched in the stone are lyrics of a song by her favorite artist, country singer Kenny Chesney. The words bring comfort to Brittany's family: "She's on the coast of somewhere beautiful running with our hearts."
Call 211 if you are in an abusive relationship and need help now.