We all process grief in different ways, we all do different things to feel “at peace” when losing a loved one. As a surviving sibling, I wanted to do everything in my power to bring justice to my brother’s death. I had been there from the very...
We all process grief in different ways, we all do different things to feel “at peace” when losing a loved one. As a surviving sibling, I wanted to do everything in my power to bring justice to my brother’s death. I had been there from the very beginning and it seemed like I was the only one that cared about it.
In this episode I’m talking about how miscommunication with my father led to me being frustrated with him, how I started to move on with my life and my career, the start of my entrepreneurship journey, the birth of MaYapinion, feeling frustrated for the lack of progress the detective had made on my brother’s case, hiring a Private Investigator and letting him go and how I found a lead before the PI did.
In this episode I’m covering:
For full episode show notes and transcript, click here
YouTube | Andreas Roffler
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Website | The Surviving Siblings
[00:00:00] welcome to the surviving siblings podcast. I'm your host, [00:00:10] Maya Roffler as a surviving sibling myself. I knew that I wanted to share my story. My brother's story. I lost my [00:00:20] brother to a homicide in November, 2016. And after going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to share my story [00:00:30] and his story.
[00:00:31] And it's taken me quite some time to come to the mic to tell it, but I knew it was an important one to tell. So here I am to share [00:00:40] his story and mine with you. And it's important that I tell the story of the surviving sibling, the forgotten Warner, the story that is [00:00:50] not told enough. So thank you for coming with me on this journey and thank you for listening to my story.[00:01:00]
[00:01:03] On my way back from Mexico as I landed, I [00:01:10] had a conversation with my father via WhatsApp. And so it was very interesting because I had this conversation with my mother [00:01:20] as I was in LA and doing that filming and kind of. Weird chapter of my life out there. And it kind of felt okay with where [00:01:30] I was at with her, even though it ended so oddly and traumatically with her.
[00:01:35] And then with my father, we had been chatting [00:01:40] and we had been talking and I had discovered that my father had returned home to officially [00:01:50] marry the woman that he had been. With for, I mean, I guess at least a decade at that point over a [00:02:00] decade. And he had officially married her. And so there were just a lot of conversations happening, but my father was really [00:02:10] intrusive and persistent about me getting help.
[00:02:14] He wanted me to get help. He was worried about me. And there was a lot of [00:02:20] breakdown in what that meant. And I was really confused and I remember asking Walter many times and even some of my other friends. [00:02:30] Um, my really close friends, like my grieving girlfriend as I call her. And she's so much more to me than that, but, you know, like what is he meaning by this?
[00:02:39] [00:02:40] And, you know, there's also language barriers, as I mentioned before with my father, but I thought he was asking me, he wanted me to like go away or like go on a trip. And so I was explaining to him that I had [00:02:50] gone to Mexico when, like I was in a better. And like I'm refreshed. And like, I need to go back to work.
[00:02:56] Work is an identity for me, which is not [00:03:00] a hundred percent healthy. Like it's really not. And it wasn't healthy also because I wasn't always doing, there are parts of my work that I [00:03:10] really loved, but it wasn't really my own. And I didn't realize that. Later. And that I think was deeper than something [00:03:20] than he even really understood, but I think he was trying to tell me, like I needed balance.
[00:03:25] I needed time off. I had been working so hard for so many years. I was so [00:03:30] career-driven and it was kind of. Really badly because he was telling me to go to like some kind of rehabilitation place. And I can, I was confronting him. I'm like, [00:03:40] what are you talking about? And it was, it turned out, it was a communication breakdown.
[00:03:44] He was telling me that I needed some help. Like I needed like to, to go somewhere [00:03:50] for my mental health. Because of what I had seen and what I had gone through and I was taking it, like I was asking questions. I was like, do you think I [00:04:00] have an issue with like drinking or drugs or this or that? Like, what are you talking about?
[00:04:06] But he was referring to my, the [00:04:10] post-traumatic stuff that I had gone through. So we kind of got in a bit of. In argument via WhatsApp. And that was a little bit of [00:04:20] a buzzkill to be going through, or as you were coming home from Mexico, but. He had been discussing that with me for a while. He'd been pushing that [00:04:30] for awhile, and I knew that I had post-traumatic stress syndrome.
[00:04:34] It's why I had been proactive with going to my doctors and, you know, being [00:04:40] on medication, going to talk therapy, going through the things that. Could control as fast as I could, but I also just didn't think [00:04:50] he was really getting it, which really broke my heart because here he was coping with a totally different way, going back home.
[00:04:58] And finally marrying, you know, this woman [00:05:00] he had been with for a really long time. And so that hurt my heart. That was a heartbreaking moment after having these really [00:05:10] positive experiences. And it was like so weird because everything was so negative with my mother for like the entire experience. [00:05:20] And then with my father that took such a weird turn in such a sad turn.
[00:05:27] And I. I [00:05:30] realize now, and even very quickly after that, I'm like, no, it was a breakdown in communication. That's not what he was saying. He really was genuinely concerned about my [00:05:40] mental health, because again, I saw things and witnessed things and went through things and I was also taking things very [00:05:50] differently than my two other siblings.
[00:05:52] And even I think him and my mother. And I look at it now and I realized, I think it's because I started to [00:06:00] process right away pretty quickly. And I think. From what I've learned and what I've seen. [00:06:10] I went through post traumatic post traumatic stress syndrome. I think everybody goes through things differently.
[00:06:15] Like I didn't really suppress. And so I had to take the medication to kind of help [00:06:20] calm it down. Cause I was really, I was just allowing myself to process. So I dunno, it was just, everything was kind of. And it was too much. It was too [00:06:30] much for everyone around me, except for people who understood it. Like friends.
[00:06:36] Um, You know, my girlfriend, [00:06:40] she, she understood it. She was processing hers in her own way. And she had already lost her father said that she's lost her mother. And so it was something that she was able to deal with. She [00:06:50] didn't understand sibling loss was, she has lost a sibling, but you know, it's, it's a different type of loss, but still she understood.
[00:06:58] And it was, there was a sudden [00:07:00] his, to her mother's loss through the different components. So there was an understanding there. And then also, you know, And my friend Walter, who I refer to quite often, [00:07:10] he was understanding because he had been in military and gone through, you know, actually seeing quite a few people die, [00:07:20] which is tough, very tough.
[00:07:23] And I'm never going to understand that I'm never going to understand seeing that, but he understand the suddenness and the [00:07:30] post-traumatic stress of that type of. And, you know, my dear friend, Kayla, that I've talked about on the podcast, [00:07:40] he understood that as well from being in the military too. So it was an interesting thing to kind of come back to, [00:07:50] but I was actually happy with how I dealt with it with my dad.
[00:07:54] I kind of shut down a little bit for awhile. I think we all want to deal with things [00:08:00] perfectly when we're going through. And loss. And so I guess my, my advice, I'm not an expert. [00:08:10] I'm just here with you, grieving and surviving with you is just that, you know, you're doing the best that you can. And that's all I was doing.
[00:08:18] And I have a father [00:08:20] who is a foreigner. And so, you know, I was born here in America and he was not, and he. Lives in another country. [00:08:30] Now, again, this man speaks more than one language, and so there's going to be a breakdown, especially when you're WhatsApping each other best communication I've ever [00:08:40] had with my dad and ever will have with my dad is when we're face to face.
[00:08:44] And so. I can look back on that five years from now and realize that. But in the moment, I mean, [00:08:50] those messages were like heartbreaking. I'm like, what does he think is wrong with me that I need it wasn't about that. It was actually genuine concern, but it can come out really terrible. [00:09:00] But I remember coming back from that trip and I'm like, how did we come?
[00:09:04] So full circle, how do we go from these two different trips? Both [00:09:10] ended beautifully, both. Two totally different things out of them. One was like a drama filled, chaotic ending thing God has done. And the other one is like this beautiful [00:09:20] Zen. I felt the spirit of my brother with me. I have hope that like, God is with me again.
[00:09:27] On the previous episode, I spoke about how I really [00:09:30] do believe in that. I do believe that our loved ones are with us, but like I was really struggling. I was really struggling with that. I did not necessarily boogie of [00:09:40] that. Yeah, I didn't believe in a lot of things. I lost faith in a lot of things. I was questioning God.
[00:09:46] I was questioning life. I was questioning the universe, whatever you believe in, [00:09:50] I was questioning it all mentioned at all, questioned at all. It was questioning at all. And that really enlightened me [00:10:00] again, that that week I spent in Mexico, because I was just able to feel clear and free and feeling free for me has always been.[00:10:10]
[00:10:11] A place where I can connect again to myself and knowing that now is so important. And I [00:10:20] guess that's another piece of, you know, I guess connection I'd give to you as a surviving sibling, or if, you know, you're trying to help someone who's lost a sibling, [00:10:30] where do they connect? And like, where do they feel free because you feel so suffocated and lost and just.
[00:10:39] [00:10:40] Depressed and so dark there's just so many it's indescribable, it's really indescribable. And so the fact that I was even able to [00:10:50] feel light or feel, feel it all was huge. And so coming back to the conversation was very difficult, but I'm glad that I was able to [00:11:00] sort through that. And, you know, I kind of left things just where they were with my dad.
[00:11:06] You know, I love you. And. But she had the best [00:11:10] and that's kind of where I left it. I was happy. He got married. It was happy things, you know, moved in that way for him. I mean, it was about time. I mean, we've been together for, I don't know how long, [00:11:20] and he took care of the daughter and so it was like a whole thing, but I was ready to move on and I did, I did, I moved on with my life and I [00:11:30] started this new job and it was way too fast.
[00:11:33] I know that now, but we don't know that. And in grief sometimes we don't know that we're moving [00:11:40] too fast. We don't know that we're moving too slow. We don't know anything. How are we supposed to know? And unless we dive in or we hold back, how do we know how if we're [00:11:50] moving at the right speed? And all I could do was go too fast because that's typically what I do with work.
[00:11:58] And I did. [00:12:00] It was a job, funnily enough, based in LA. And I really enjoyed my time and it was fun. And I was, I really [00:12:10] accredit my entrepreneurial. Final nail in the coffin as to why, like, I didn't go back to [00:12:20] full corporate America to this job because I got an experience to like real nitty gritty startup, like in the art district.
[00:12:28] So that was really cool and [00:12:30] fun, but it was too early for me, I think, emotionally to go back. To work, even though I enjoyed it, I had a great time traveling again. Cause I've got the [00:12:40] travel bug and she probably her and we talking about, but, and then there were also some things going on there that were really unhealthy emotionally.
[00:12:49] And when [00:12:50] you're not healthy, emotionally yourself, and you're going through so much, you're not going to be able to handle those situations. And I [00:13:00] wasn't able to, it was, uh, not, uh, healthy and a lot of, a lot of ways. And so I resigned, [00:13:10] I resigned, um, only a couple of months into the job, and that was the fastest I've ever done that.
[00:13:15] And that was actually a really proud moment for me. [00:13:20] And it took a lot of courage. 'cause I've stayed at jobs for a years and years. I had so much tenure and, you know, [00:13:30] leaving the job when my brother passed and then doing this for I'm mental health.
[00:13:37] And that's when I decided to launch [00:13:40] my first podcast, which is a podcast is still lives today. The, MaYapinion podcast is just see bald. I talked about the podcast like earlier, but that podcast [00:13:50] talked about my show. I was on the experience and I talked about my brother's death a little bit on the show or on the podcast, [00:14:00] but it was not to this level, not to this level.
[00:14:03] Like I'm talking about it all. And so here I was doing this podcast, didn't know how it would do and ended up doing great. [00:14:10] And Walter encouraged me to do it. He had been in radio for like 25 years or something at the time, 20 years, something like that. And so I just kind of hit the mic and we [00:14:20] did it. And so kind of focused on that and did consulting work and went out on my own and was just focusing on my [00:14:30] myself or at least trying to, and I.
[00:14:34] I found myself going through extreme [00:14:40] highs and lows. And I had to watch the season of the show that I was filmed on come out [00:14:50] in April. And when our podcast came out, this was, this was simultaneous, obviously because we're commenting on the show. And [00:15:00] because of that, I felt like I was reliving everything that had happened.
[00:15:05] I felt like I was like meeting up to the events [00:15:10] of what happened to my brother. And even, even just talking about this two guys right now, like, and talking through this, like you, you might [00:15:20] be able to relate to this. I'm sure you can. It, it gives you a sense of anxiety. But I'm watching this. Like just, I mean, I'm [00:15:30] not even like, I'm just a little contested on this show, like, but it would give me anxiety.
[00:15:36] I wouldn't do, I would go to watch parties and things like that. And as [00:15:40] the like reunion episode got closer and closer, it was me watching the chain of events. Closer and closer, like in [00:15:50] my life going on. And so I was doing again, contractual work and, you know, trying to get things off the ground for myself while doing a podcast.
[00:15:57] And it was really exciting for me [00:16:00] because I knew, I knew I'd gotten the entrepreneurial bug bit in me and I knew this is what I was meant to do with my life. I've been an entrepreneur [00:16:10] and really been doing this for other companies. And I'm like, I know this, but like, Also struggling. Like I was there, had this internal fight, I've got post traumatic stress [00:16:20] syndrome.
[00:16:20] Like this is hard and I'm also calling a detective nonstop and this detective was a nightmare. [00:16:30] It was awful. I called him, you know, when I see a call called him all the time, that might be. Sound a little crazy, but [00:16:40] I, some of you may really relate to this. Like when I said called him, I would get like, scared to call him because like he wouldn't answer.
[00:16:49] And then when he did [00:16:50] answer, he would have different stories and conflicting stories for me. And he would tell me, you know, oh, Nope, the guys are changing their story [00:17:00] now. Like, it sounds like, no, definitely you're right. It's off. It's definitely off what happened to your brother? Nope. It's not lined up the gun that he was [00:17:10] shot with.
[00:17:10] No, it doesn't sound right. He's like, don't worry. I'll get back to you. And then he would never get back to me. He was the least communicative person like I've ever dealt [00:17:20] with and it just felt so, like I felt so defeated and the ignored phone calls he would have [00:17:30] constantly has. Inbox would be full. And I just felt like giving up all the time.
[00:17:37] I felt like giving up all the time. And [00:17:40] meanwhile, the show's airing about me and people are saying all these horrible things on social media about me because they have no idea what's really going on in my personal life. [00:17:50] And then the reunion airs. And I ended up having this really, really bad. Moment. I think it was [00:18:00] one episode before the reunion, I went to like a watch party.
[00:18:04] There was always a watch party and I, we were always [00:18:10] drinking, always drinking, which is not a good situation. I was definitely not on the amount of medication I was before, but we were always drinking and. I was [00:18:20] just kind of trying to have fun and bring levity to my life because my day-to-day was very dark, very dark.
[00:18:26] And I remember coming home [00:18:30] obviously never drive me, obviously not guys, not condoning that. I was, no, we don't do that. Um, but I remember coming home [00:18:40] and this was, this was a rock bottom moment for me and I was walking. To my condo and I like walked straight into the door. [00:18:50] And again, I cannot hang so hurrah, but this was awful.
[00:18:56] And I literally just like put the key in the door and I just like [00:19:00] fell and like smashed my like nose and like everything. It was just, it was so sad. I was just like crying. And this is when, uh, Walter would stay with me [00:19:10] when I was not at his place. And he was an amazing friend to me at the time. Like, I'm amazing for him.
[00:19:17] And he came out and he was like, oh my [00:19:20] God, what is going on? I mean, I had, like, it was like not a pretty scene. It was like blood. Like I hurt myself and [00:19:30] I just started crying and I was like, I don't know if I can. Like process, what's going to happen like next. And he's like, what are you talking [00:19:40] about? And obviously, you know, the drinking has not a good combination with these things.
[00:19:44] And I was talking about the fact that I was reliving. What happens [00:19:50] next and what happens next is I have to go talk about the loss of my brother and that was just, and I just broke down and like I thought I had [00:20:00] broken my nose. I smashed. It was crazy. I actually broke my key in the door. It was so bad. It was really bad.
[00:20:07] When I look at the shoes that I [00:20:10] was wearing now, I also kind of give myself a little bit of grace because they were huge heels, like huge. Were a huge Christian, a little Baton. So [00:20:20] yeah, I mean, huge honkers there. So I like don't think that was a great choice either, but, uh, yeah. [00:20:30] Uh, I got a laugh guys with some of this stuff, and I know some of you that have dark humor can laugh at that, but that was a wake-up call for me.
[00:20:37] I remember sitting in the 48 of my [00:20:40] condo that night with him for a while and just going, I am. Really worried about me right now. Cause it was like, I went [00:20:50] back down the dark place that I was at before. It was like back like back down this like dark, I don't know how to describe it. And I'm [00:21:00] sure those of you that have felt this, like, and I've gone through this experience.
[00:21:04] Like there are it's ebbs and flows. It is not like this straight [00:21:10] line up or straight line down and then backup. It's not that way. And then watching yourself on TV and like, realizing that like you replay the [00:21:20] moments of life happening behind, and meanwhile, people are ripping you apart on social media. So it was just like, and then meanwhile, I had no family support.
[00:21:29] [00:21:30] It was very lonely. It was a very lonely time for me. And that's when I realized, okay, I probably need to chill it out on the drinking because that's not helping [00:21:40] and really, um, take care of your mental health, you know, be aligned with more of my medication. And, um, I mean, [00:21:50] beyond some of this medication, you know, really looking at a lot of those things and really tap into myself cause I was.
[00:21:59] [00:22:00] Kind of losing it again. And I did, and I was really proud of myself for that. I kinda got it back together for a little bit. Cause that was really hard [00:22:10] to watch and I kind of freaked out again. The reunion was hard to watch because I got torn apart for that because I was, I looked totally out of it. It was terrible.[00:22:20]
[00:22:20] And that was a dark time. It was dark. And then all of a sudden it was like release people knew it happened. It was. [00:22:30] It was very similar. It was like kind of justice again. And it was like, okay, now what? But this was like, [00:22:40] okay, now that's over. Now. I can really like focus on myself. It was like a breath of fresh air.
[00:22:46] And I just was very grateful for the [00:22:50] friendships that I developed with these women. So crazy because if you watch the show, you would never believe that like, never, [00:23:00] but there are very supportive and caring, but that was just a very dark, low moment. And I think it's really important that I share that on this [00:23:10] podcast and be very real and honest because I think people are too hidden and, and don't really share these dark things that go [00:23:20] on because they're real.
[00:23:21] And I see a lot of people in, in groups, really private groups and really intimate groups sharing, you know, they're [00:23:30] struggling with sometimes, you know, drinking or drugs or different things and they're coping or they're trying to get sober or dealing with this and that. And I can't say it was that [00:23:40] serious for me.
[00:23:42] But I was definitely struggling with some things or, you know, definitely drinking too much with some tea, you know, things I shouldn't have been [00:23:50] doing. And definitely just wasn't self-aware some of this stuff and let it get out of control. And I think it's, I don't want to hold anything back. I w I [00:24:00] want you to know that my story is different from yours, and your story is unique from mine, but we all struggle and we [00:24:10] all go through grief.
[00:24:12] In our own way. And I don't think it's right to beat yourself up. And I wish I knew that I wish I had had somebody [00:24:20] telling me that I really did. And I really do because it's. I beat myself up for every mistake, like [00:24:30] fully falling into the door, which I shouldn't be like laughing at, but I have to bring levity to it because I'm okay.
[00:24:35] Thank God. Okay. I had a good friend taking care of me. [00:24:40] I had, you know, other friends around me, thank God that were giving me love. And that's why I think your grief support system is so important, but [00:24:50] life, life was going on for me. And, you know, I. Was surrounding myself with some people that were, were quite negative.
[00:24:59] [00:25:00] And I was continuing to try to kind of work and do contractual stuff for myself also while trying to track down this detective that just wouldn't give [00:25:10] me the time of day. And I felt sick about it. I felt sick about the whole thing. And I think the lowest of the low for me [00:25:20] was when I decided to. Trust some people in my life.
[00:25:26] And, you know, I started dating again [00:25:30] that took me awhile. It took me a while and I started dating and I started seeing someone and I started seeing someone that [00:25:40] put me in a really horrible situation. And I was. So this, [00:25:50] this happened in like the fall of 2017. So we're almost going on a year and I was very vulnerable and [00:26:00] it was not anything serious, but this person, you know, wanted me to take a trip with him and I ended up.
[00:26:08] You know, I went, I [00:26:10] went on a trip and I ended up leaving his hotel because I didn't trust him. I wasn't thinking like, and [00:26:20] thank God I didn't. I got bailed out PI my trusty friend. And I really realized at that time it was [00:26:30] like, it was just a Miami, the guys from Atlanta, but still, I. Really needed to kind of reset and realize, [00:26:40] what am I doing?
[00:26:41] Like, what am I doing? Am I escaping like, am I just so frustrated that like, I'm [00:26:50] not getting the answers that I want? Like, what am I doing? And I sat in a hotel room that, um, you know, Walter, thank God helped me book [00:27:00] and. I sat there talking to him and I'm like, what's going on with me? And he's like, you're processing this.
[00:27:06] You're really, he's like, stop, like pressing [00:27:10] other people though with this stuff. And I'm like, okay. And I came back, I flew back. It was a real wake up call for me. And I ended up [00:27:20] deciding to just kind of stop calling the detective so much for a while. And sometimes I regret that sometimes I [00:27:30] don't. But when I say a while, it was like two months and I ended up going, you know, to work, um, just for a little while for a company.[00:27:40]
[00:27:41] And I created a innovative program for them doing this stuff that I do. Like I just, I think I needed some normalcy back in my life. I really did. And [00:27:50] cause that was just a crazy ride. Like here I was on this crazy ride, like after. Um, losing someone like I'm sitting here going, what now? We'll [00:28:00] know, then this became like this crazy kind of, yeah, literally a shell, like I'm on a show being showcased everywhere.[00:28:10]
[00:28:10] So. And that was tough, but, so I created a more positive environment for myself and I was hanging out with the girls from, from that and, and my [00:28:20] life and friends that would support me. And I created a new friendships from this work environment, and I did start dating again and nothing [00:28:30] serious, but, you know, I felt strong enough to start calling the detective again.
[00:28:36] And he started telling me the same kind of lies again. [00:28:40] And so finally, what happened was I hired a private investigator and that took about a year for me to do, give or take maybe 11. [00:28:50] And this private investigator was referred to me by one of my friends. Uh, she said that she knew him through some work they've done [00:29:00] before.
[00:29:00] She said she was like, I'm not really sure, a hundred percent like what, you know, he can do for you, but he's done great work for us. I trust him. [00:29:10] He wants to help you. He's asked, he wants to help you. And so I met with him and he ends up telling me he's like, I saw you on the [00:29:20] show. He's like, I really want to help you.
[00:29:23] Uh, Probably, you know, hindsight's 2020, and it probably should have been a little bit of a red flag for [00:29:30] me. I don't think he's a bad guy. I don't at all still to this day, but I was like really excited that he wanted to help. Like, that's all I cared about because I kept telling [00:29:40] him, I'm like, look, I'm not getting a response from this detective.
[00:29:42] His inbox is full. His stories have changed multiple times. You know, it was. You know, in the hospital, these are [00:29:50] upstanding men. Now they're not, they're terrible guys. They do these, you know, these, they've done a couple of things here and there. Now they're telling, you know, different lies. Now they're [00:30:00] saying they had real weapons and they, they had fake weapons and like, literally guys, these are the, the crazy stories I was being told.
[00:30:06] Can you imagine, and maybe you can, [00:30:10] maybe you're going through this right now and I'm so sorry if you are. Orderable, but this is the stuff I'm being told and you know, my parents didn't want anything to do [00:30:20] with this. And I'm like, oh my God. Like, it was messing me up so much. And I'm like, I can't do this alone.
[00:30:24] Like I need a private investigator. So I'm hiring this private investigator. It must have been like, uh, [00:30:30] early October. So yeah, it was right before the year and I'm like, okay. So I give him, you know, all the information I have and he's like, okay. He's like, what can you [00:30:40] get for me? You know, I know. That certificate, you know, records in the hospital, all these things.
[00:30:45] And I'm like, I don't have all these things. I'm not, I'm not [00:30:50] his wife and I'm not his mother or his father. And he said, well, he's like, can you get them? And I'm like, okay. So [00:31:00] I go on this, like quest to go get these documents. And I searched to realize. [00:31:10] It's exactly that, unless I was his wife or his mother or father, I wasn't getting them because his mother and father were both living [00:31:20] and unless they were deceased and I was, then I would be the next of kin.
[00:31:28] Then I couldn't get those [00:31:30] documents, which was crazy because I was the one in the hospital that was. You know, declared to be the one to do the, do [00:31:40] the DNR and you know, what was going to happen to him. All of those things, because I was the person in the hospital. I was a family member in the hospital. I was the [00:31:50] kin in the state, like, yes, he had his girlfriend, but like, that was his girlfriend.
[00:31:57] That was 21 and [00:32:00] they weren't married. So I'm allowed to do those things, but I'm not allowed to get him. Public death record, like a piece of [00:32:10] paper. I'm not allowed to get his hospital records, all of these things. So I had to go to an attorney. So this is what I find out. I had to go to an attorney. He's a friend of mine [00:32:20] and I had to get her to write a letter, get it notified, you know, get a notary, sorry, get a notary.
[00:32:27] And. [00:32:30] Then get the hospital records, then also take that to go get the death records. I had to get all these different records and basically get her to state that [00:32:40] my father lives in a different country. So that's why, and that my mother wants nothing to do with the situation, because that was the absolute truth.
[00:32:48] And. [00:32:50] It finally worked, but it was so much work just to get these simple things that like literally your mom or dad or your husband or wife or whoever is [00:33:00] your like person could just walk in and do. And I was. Fighting so hard to get information. Meanwhile, where's this [00:33:10] detective, he won't even answer the phone.
[00:33:12] His and why? His, his, like his inbox is totally full. Like what is wrong with our justice [00:33:20] system? Like, don't even get me started there guys. Like, wow. I just, it still gets me fired up today and I'm tall. I'm, I'm still sitting in like [00:33:30] 2017 going into 2018 talking about what I was doing and it was terrible.
[00:33:36] It was terrible. And one of the reasons I [00:33:40] got really fired up, so I'll go back into some family stuff here. In 2017, what, after I kind of went through this, you know, [00:33:50] wake up, call for myself, like, what am I doing? Why am I traveling? You know, with someone I'm dating and like nothing happened between me and this person, but like, you [00:34:00] know, and my friend bails me out, but I needed a wake up call and kind of got it together.
[00:34:06] And I go visit my youngest sister [00:34:10] and she was living in Savannah at the time with her husband. Uh, and for Halloween, and I saw my [00:34:20] big brother, Kayla, which is not my biological brother, but he I've talked about him in previous episodes. He lost his brother and I talk about the connection that we all have with that, [00:34:30] but he comes to the visit as well.
[00:34:33] And. You know, my sister at my youngest sister and I, you know, we're sitting outside [00:34:40] talking for a while prior to Caleb getting there and. You know, I asked my sister because my mother and I obviously had no [00:34:50] relationship whatsoever at the time. Our last conversation was not just the LA conversation. She ended up like cussing me out [00:35:00] a month.
[00:35:00] Or so after that, because of some like cell phone situation, it was absolutely insane. So that didn't last so long. [00:35:10] Um, but sometimes I know that. You know, people deal with grief differently. And I think that's how she was dealing with it. So this is why this part came as a shock to [00:35:20] me. So here we are, like not even a year anniversary.
[00:35:25] And my youngest sister is telling me, she goes, well, you know, [00:35:30] mom is really at peace with everything and I'll never forget just looking over at my sister. Cause we had like our dogs out, you know, [00:35:40] Potty and playing on this plate area that she had out there. Cause you know, she was married and you know, we were outside and we're waiting for my friend to get there, [00:35:50] to go out for, it was Halloween 2017.
[00:35:52] So we're just coming up on the anniversary November 21st is when he passed. And I remember my stomach, like [00:36:00] I'm sick to my stomach talking about this right now. And it's 2022 when I'm recording this. And I was like, she is at peace. With the [00:36:10] fact that her son was murdered. She's a piece of that. And she was like, well, yeah, like that's just, she's said she's at peace with it.
[00:36:19] And [00:36:20] I don't blame my sister at all. For that reaction. I was the one reacting a lot at the time. I mean, she was [00:36:30] so young. I was 30. What? 31 at the time she was 21. Yeah. Come on. I don't even know what I would've done at that time. I'm still [00:36:40] processing this and I'm 35. I mean, come on. I wasn't mad at her. I couldn't believe this.
[00:36:46] I couldn't believe I was sitting here and listening to this, that a mother [00:36:50] was at peace with the fact that her son had been murdered and I kept repeating it. It was like such a trauma, like reaction. I was like, [00:37:00] she's a piece of this. Are you like using. Freaking kidding me. I was saying things much worse than that.
[00:37:07] And she was like, yeah, like, and then she starts to tell [00:37:10] me the story about, you know, my brother and I share a birthday and she's like, yeah. You know, we were together on Andres, his birthday and my birthday, by the way. But, and you know, she's [00:37:20] like a light was flickering and she was like, yeah, that's Andreas.
[00:37:22] And like, well, I believe in that too. I'm like, okay. I'm like, and that wasn't [00:37:30] emotional to her. That wasn't. A lot for her. She's like, no, like she's, she's good with it. Like she's accepted and she's at peace with it. She said, she's okay with Everett. What [00:37:40] happened like here? Hi, I am calling this detective fighting for going to attorneys, going to private, like [00:37:50] detect unlike I am like, oh my God.
[00:37:56] And when Caleb spent the night with us on Halloween [00:38:00] night, like we stayed out in the living area and I, I just told him, I said, Caleb, I said, uh, how can I care so much? And I feel [00:38:10] like no one else cares in this family. I said, how, how is that normal? Why do I feel like everyone else just wants to pretend like this didn't [00:38:20] happen?
[00:38:20] And I am like, Am I obsessing about this? Am I like, but I can't get, I can't just get over this. Like, and that wasn't [00:38:30] was not the first time I had seen my sister, like her husband had her had come up twice during, for hurricane things. And then also for my 31st birthday party that I had [00:38:40] thrown at like a whole Housewives, like theme and had all the girls from the show over and all my best girlfriends and like, you know, whole thing, like it was a whole, you know, I, I had seen [00:38:50] her so.
[00:38:51] This wasn't like a thing where I didn't see my sister-in-law on time. And like was you just went off on her. She was the only family member that I was actually having an active relationship with [00:39:00] because you know, my youngest sister is someone that I, we have a 10 year age gap. She's someone that I helped raise.
[00:39:09] We have a different [00:39:10] dynamic and I didn't want to like ruin that, but like I just was in shock and I really felt like she was leaning towards that side. [00:39:20] Leaving that trip, you know, Kayla looked to me and he was like, yeah, this is probably not going to be the same for awhile after this. And I was like, yeah.
[00:39:29] [00:39:30] And he's like, don't worry, she'll understand one day, like, it's, this is a lot more than I think what she can realize right now. And I do think he was right. I do think so, [00:39:40] but I remember leaving her house and it was so tough because I knew we wouldn't talk for a long time and. It wasn't because I didn't want to, but it was because she just couldn't [00:39:50] understand why I was struggling at the level that I was.
[00:39:53] I really was struggling. No one got it. And my family, I think [00:40:00] now maybe my dad was, but I didn't know that at the time. And I think that's, what's important. I think that's some advice that I would give here is [00:40:10] that. I wish I would've known that people do grieve differently, but I do think that, and this might be unpopular [00:40:20] in H in what I say, but I do think it's inappropriate in some ways that people grieve.
[00:40:27] I don't think, I don't think what my mother [00:40:30] said was appropriate. I just don't. And it might be unpopular opinion time, but I don't know how you can. [00:40:40] Except the fact that your son was murdered and it was an open case and you had not made any inquiries and you didn't care. I mean, [00:40:50] maybe you did, but you weren't showing that you cared and you were quote unquote at peace with it and telling your you're very impressionable 21 year old daughter that, [00:41:00] and I'm still, yeah, this still affects me to this day.
[00:41:04] It really does. And. I think when, when you go through [00:41:10] something that emotional and that traumatic hearing, something like that, even second hand, I kind of learned to push through and kind of love someone even through that, even if it has to be from afar, [00:41:20] because what kind of lack of coping mechanism and what kind of lack of self-awareness and tools have you been given in your life [00:41:30] that you can't admit that you're struggling.
[00:41:35] And so I think that's why it's so important to me that I make this [00:41:40] podcast and I'm as raw and open and honest as I possibly can be, because I know that was a bunch of bullshit. There's no [00:41:50] peace in that. There's no mother in the world that can say that you're a peace 11 months after your son was shot.[00:42:00]
[00:42:00] And his killer walks through. And the detective has not been called by you once and the detective doesn't [00:42:10] respond truthfully or honestly to your daughter who calls him incessantly and has now hired a private detective. So yeah, it definitely affected my sister [00:42:20] and I's relationship in my opinion. And that was hard.
[00:42:23] And I knew that driving away, I mean, what a feeling to like drive. I guess I have a thing with trips, a lot of travel on my life [00:42:30] and driving from Savannah back to Atlanta. And I just knew I was like, I'm not going to talk for awhile cause I'm sure she didn't like the fact that I have, I have a very strong personality if you can't tell [00:42:40] from listening to these episodes.
[00:42:41] And I was even like more reactive with those things at the time. And I had a lot to [00:42:50] kind of sort through and so. I went back and, you know, I, I was held bound, determined to get [00:43:00] the hospital records, get his death records, get the, the PI private investigator, everything he wanted. And I met him. [00:43:10] And it was either early 2018, by the time I got it.
[00:43:14] I think that's when it was yeah. Early 2018. So made it through the holidays, pendant with my [00:43:20] friends and then, yeah, I think that's when I finally got everything, cause it took some time. As it does, you know, my friend's a great attorney. It's not that it's, you [00:43:30] know, walking in there and being like, yep, mom's still alive yet.
[00:43:32] Dad's still here. Nope. Didn't have a spouse, but here's why so, but I finally got it [00:43:40] and that's just the kind of person I am. And I think that's the advice I'd give you if you're going through something like that, or if you're really determined on doing something for your, your [00:43:50] sibling that you've lost, or you really want to do something, or if you want to grieve in your way or.
[00:43:55] And whatever it is that you're fighting for the don't give up because [00:44:00] it's important that you do that for you. And so I did, and I got that information. I handed it over to the PI and we met [00:44:10] again and he went and did his research. And he was really obsessed about talking about me doing this show. And I look back [00:44:20] on that now and I'm like, okay, but what's going on with the detective?
[00:44:24] And like, did you talk to the previous, you know, the detective that I actually liked in the hospital, like, did he have anything to say? And [00:44:30] like, it was so. Disheartening because months went by and chasing of him happened. And I saw him posting on social [00:44:40] media and like, he would like, you know, stuff from my podcasts and things like that.
[00:44:45] And I remember going back to my friend that referred to. It was also an attorney [00:44:50] telling her like, Hey, I don't think this was like a genuine thing. Like, I think he's not taking this serious. And so long, the short, like I ended up meeting with [00:45:00] him again and I'm like, are you take, he's like, no, I'm taking it serious.
[00:45:02] I'm taking it serious. And I didn't believe him. So I ended up having to fire him as a private investigator because he [00:45:10] never got me enough information. I ended up getting more information than he did because. I would ask him questions [00:45:20] and he wouldn't know, which was really crazy. So in early 2018, I started to get a few weird [00:45:30] messages throughout 2017, but I didn't think much of them, but in early 2018, I got a very cryptic, [00:45:40] like a message from a woman about my brother.
[00:45:46] Just saying that she told my brother to stay [00:45:50] away from these guys that took his life. And there was one particular guy, obviously that did it, but she said that, and she had tried to reach [00:46:00] out to me before, as I saw the messages, but it was very cryptic. Her profile was very odd and she used the name of Nicole.
[00:46:09] I [00:46:10] don't know if that was her real name. I'll say it now because it doesn't, I don't think it's really. It doesn't really matter, but she was afraid to kind of say anything well, [00:46:20] time passed. And then in March of 2018, I ended up finding this whole blog [00:46:30] written about. By this gentlemen that apparently my brother had produced music videos for and had been friends with.
[00:46:39] [00:46:40] And he was talking about how he found out about it and found out about how my brother died and he was shocked and brokenhearted, [00:46:50] and I just felt like, oh my God, I have a lead. I have a lead. Oh my God. Like, I've got to find this guy. And so. [00:47:00] It wasn't like his. It was hidden. It was pretty easy to find. I Googled my brother's name all the time.
[00:47:08] I was like a dog with a [00:47:10] bone. You guys, like, I wanted to know all the time what was going on. And for those of you who have siblings that have passed and you don't [00:47:20] have answers and you don't have closure and you don't have. All the things that we will talk about, you know, what I'm talking about. And so when something [00:47:30] like that comes up, you're like, oh my God, this person knows my brother knows my sister.
[00:47:36] You know, whatever it is, a brother, [00:47:40] sister, her and I hate and your sibling. And like, this is like, it's everything, it's everything. And this person and up [00:47:50] agreeing. And obviously for his privacy, because he did agree to speak with me. I want it. I was like, will you meet me in person? We often have probably [00:48:00] like freaked him out a little bit.
[00:48:01] I think so. I'm so sorry. And I hope you listen to the podcast at some point, but I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart from, for [00:48:10] speaking to me. But for your privacy will never mentioned who you are. He did agree to speak to me. I wanted to meet him, but I'm sure I freaked him out so [00:48:20] bad.
[00:48:20] Cause I just wanted to talk to someone that was around my brother around that, around that time. Right. To understand. Anything. And [00:48:30] this was really one of the, like, like the last again nails and like the coffin in, in firing my private investigator, detective, you know, [00:48:40] he was clearly not getting the job done because if I can find this stuff, like, come on, it was out there.
[00:48:47] Now the private messages, I had [00:48:50] received a few cryptic ones as well before from just weird different profiles that would pop up. People telling me things saying, I [00:49:00] told your brother not to hang out with those people. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your brother should never hung out with them. And then they would like disappear.
[00:49:08] So it was very cryptic. This went on [00:49:10] like throughout 2017. So I was able to provide that information to the private investigator, including. Elusive like Nicole failure. [00:49:20] So that was all very weird. But then when this blog popped up and this guy was real and we chatted on social media and then we spoke on the [00:49:30] phone, even though again, I really wanted to just meet him in person because it just like, I think I just needed that connection to my brother.
[00:49:36] Again, it felt so long. Even though his [00:49:40] girlfriend and I would still text from time to time, but I felt like it was really important that she moved on with her life. You know, she was so young. She is still so young, but [00:49:50] like, you know, I, I am grateful to this day that she did that for me. She's just a beautiful person.
[00:49:57] She really is. I have nothing but wonderful things to [00:50:00] say about her and. Speaking to this gentleman though. So the blog was very, um, detailed, not about his like death or any, but anything but about [00:50:10] him and then him finding out about him being shot. And so I'm like, okay, this guy knows something. And so I, he agreed to speak with me on the phone.
[00:50:19] I [00:50:20] think the meeting in person, again, freaked him out and we spoke on the phone for a while. I mean, not hours, but it was. Longer than I [00:50:30] might speak to some crazy, like sister, like helped me, what is going on? And he gave me a lot of information, a lot of information that, [00:50:40] you know what I did pass this on to the PI, this was like, right before I fired the pie, because it was like he was sitting on everything.
[00:50:46] He had to send it all back to me. And before I moved on to someone [00:50:50] else and he did tell me that, you know, Andre. This was, this was so eerie guys. This was so [00:51:00] airy. So he told me that my brother Andreas was shooting, you know, his music, videos for him. They had a very close relationship. Um, he was telling me, um, just so many [00:51:10] things about my brother that were true spot on just simple things, simple things.
[00:51:14] But then I, you know, kind of got into some things, you know, I asked him if I could ask him some like complicated, [00:51:20] complicated, maybe hard questions. And I asked. You know, if he knew of him hanging out with, you know, maybe some people that would want to harm him or, you know, [00:51:30] some groups and things like that.
[00:51:32] And it did, it did come up that there was, you know, a group of people that seemed a little, [00:51:40] not so great. And, but he, this kid was obviously not affiliated with them if, if he was I'm. Yeah. [00:51:50] Definitely would be shocked, but I mean, who would, who would write a blog about that then? I mean, he's not featured in any of the video [00:52:00] evidence or anything like that, and yes, it exists by the way.
[00:52:03] And so. He then proceeds to tell me like, well, what was weird to him was that my [00:52:10] brother was supposed to shoot him like the next day or the following day. And he never heard from them, my brother. And that was unlike my brother, [00:52:20] which for me, that's not like my brother, but for my brother, work-wise, I'm sure that wasn't like my brother.
[00:52:28] Cause he was a hustler. [00:52:30] Was in is I'm sure I'm still up there watching over is a hustler. And we're very much alike in that [00:52:40] way, but we're different types of the hustlers, but my brother was a hustler. So if he said he was going to be there to shoot his video, I'm quite sure he was going to be there. And he said that, [00:52:50] you know, he was like, he was always there.
[00:52:51] So he knew something was wrong and it took him a long time to find out what happened. And then he mentioned, you know, a few names and a few [00:53:00] people, and then this particular woman's name came up and I asked him to connect me, you know, to some people. And he did. And what was interesting was [00:53:10] the people that he connected me with to speak with was this woman again.
[00:53:15] And she disappeared again. And the [00:53:20] other individuals that he connected me with, they were scared to do. And one of the last things that they said to me, [00:53:30] including this woman, Nicole, which I know is not her real name. That's why I'm saying it. I know it's not her real name. And they all said the same things.
[00:53:38] They said, we told her undressed [00:53:40] not to hang out with this group. We knew they were, you know, not, not good. We knew they were scary group. We knew the same [00:53:50] things. It was so weird. Same things. This guy said it to. And, you know, they said, you know, we told him to watch his back, this wasn't worth [00:54:00] it. It wasn't going to be a good situation.
[00:54:02] And I asked them, I, I like pleaded with all these different people. I said, you know, and all these eerie messages I'm like, can you tell me [00:54:10] something, please tell me anything. You know, a name, anything that you could can lead me there, even though the detective had all this information and like, we technically know who it is.
[00:54:19] Like [00:54:20] I wanted information, I want to just like one step away, one person away. So I could just, I don't know what I was even trying to do. I don't know, do the [00:54:30] job of my PI. And I remember every time that would happen. They would either [00:54:40] disappear or they would say like, I can't, I can't, I'm sorry. Like I'm scared of these people.
[00:54:45] Like these people are not good people. I can't. They freaked me out. [00:54:50] Like it was similar comments every single time. And that's how I knew that I was getting really, really close. But at the same time, I felt like I was [00:55:00] so far away and that's why I had to let my PI go. How could I have gotten so close? And he sat on all this stuff for months and [00:55:10] months and months, and he's still sat on the evidence for another, I think three, four months.
[00:55:14] And then he finally physically sent it back to me. And I still continue to receive [00:55:20] some of these messages that I had shared with him during this entire time. And so that was very disheartening and challenging [00:55:30] because I felt like I made this connection. I made like 10 steps forward only to fall like 20, 30 steps back.[00:55:40]
[00:55:40] And all I wanted to do was just find out what reasons. Happened to my brother, even though I think in my heart, [00:55:50] I knew the whole time what really happened.
[00:55:56] Thank you so much for listening to the surviving siblings [00:56:00] podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, as much as I did creating it for you, then share it on your chosen social media platform. And don't forget to tag us [00:56:10] at surviving siblings podcast so that more surviving siblings can. Remember to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast.
[00:56:19] [00:56:20] And don't forget to follow us on all social media platforms. We're on Instagram, Twitter, and tick talk at surviving siblings podcast. All [00:56:30] links can be found in the show notes. So be sure to check those out to thank you again for the support until the next episode. Keep on surviving [00:56:40] my surviving.[00:56:50]