The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information from the public. Anyone who might have information that can help solve the case is encouraged to call sheriff’s Investigator Walter Deal at (912) 764-1788 or email an anonymous tip to email@example.com.
“She didn’t deserve this. I would like to ask the person, ‘Why? What did you do this for? Why?’”
That’s the question that haunts Madeline Haley, whose 39-year-old daughter, Joylee Ann Brown, was killed a week ago.
Bulloch County sheriff’s deputies found Brown’s body inside a trailer in Oak Hill Mobile Home Park, in the 25000 block of U.S. Highway 301 North, after responding to the report of an open door at the residence at 12:35 a.m. Jan. 26.
After an autopsy conducted Monday in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Coastal Regional Crime Lab, Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said Brown was the victim of a homicide, but no other information has been released, such as how she was killed or a possible motive.
Haley did say that Brown’s pocketbook, which had her identification, credit cards and other personal belongings, was stolen when she was killed.
“They took away a beautiful, wonderful woman,” Haley said. “Her family loved her a whole lot. It’s crazy. It’s too much.”
Brown was originally from Washington, D.C. She attended Howard University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She has been a nurse ever since, most recently a home health nurse in Bulloch County. She was a member of Whitesville Full Gospel Worship Center.
Haley said Brown moved to Statesboro around 1999 or 2000, after her then-husband’s father left him a trailer home. Even after the marriage ended, she stayed in the area.
“She liked it here in Georgia, and she stayed,” said Haley, who still lives in Washington but was in town last week to help take care of her daughter’s affairs. “I tried to talk her into coming back home. She wanted me to come to Georgia and stay.”
Brown’s father, Joe E. Fowler, who lives in Bulloch County, said he got a call from her boyfriend around 4 a.m. Sunday saying there had been an accident, and that Brown was dead.
“I said, ‘Are you playing jokes on me?’ Because that’s my baby, and I don’t joke like that,” Fowler said. “He said, ‘This is no joke, Mr. Fowler.’”
Haley described her daughter as a “very delicate person,” smart, extremely organized, one who would “take care of business,” yet with a voice that, while matter-of-fact, was soothing and pleasant.
“She’s the kind of person that, when you meet her, you’ll fall in love with her,” Haley said. “She talked so gentle and had a cute little walk. Everything about her was so delicate – her voice, the way she walked, the way she talked, the way she ate her food. Everything was delicate. That’s what I’m going to miss.”
Debbie Rodriguez, of Bulloch County, counted Brown as a “dear friend.” Rodriguez is left asking the same questions as Haley.
“How can someone take her life, so precious and dear, and be able to sleep at night?” Rodriguez said. “I just don’t understand.”
The last time Rodriguez spent time with Brown was at a New Year’s Eve “passion party,” which Rodriguez hosted.
“She had all of us rolling,” Rodriguez said of Brown. “It was a blast. I will never forget. It was just like (it happened) yesterday. We stayed up most of the night, having girl talk and laughing, talking about men and friendships. That was the best time I had with her, not knowing that would be the last time I (would see) her.”
Haley said the last time she heard from her daughter was Jan. 25, the last day she was alive. Brown left her a voice mail.
“She had spoken about getting a rental application” so Haley could move to Statesboro, she said. “I was waiting on that. I had talked to her earlier that week, too. She was telling me certain things she wanted to do.”
She had moved into Eastview Apartments within the last few months. After Brown and her husband separated, she ended up moving in with a friend for a couple of years until she was able to get her own apartment, which “thrilled” her, Haley said.
“She treated her dogs like people,” Haley said of Brown. “When she ate, they ate. She had a dog (a Chihuahua, named Rocko) who liked oatmeal cookies and watermelon.”
She had had to give up Rocko when she moved in with her friend.
“She said, ‘Mama, I want a big house with room for a lot of dogs,’” Haley said.
While she might have been delicate, Brown also had a tough constitution. She was a cancer survivor. In her six-week checkup after she gave birth to a son 20 years ago, doctors detected cervical cancer.
“She went through a lot. She lost weight, her hair fell out,” Haley said.
Brown also survived a stroke and, 14 years ago, she gave birth to a girl who was stillborn.
Rodriguez, referring to Brown’s stillborn daughter, said: “I’m glad that you and your baby girl (will) be together again and that being absent from the body is being present with the Lord. Save me a seat at the table in the mansion in the sky. I want to see you at the gate on my homecoming, have a big celebration together.”
Haley summed up her amazement that her daughter had survived so many health problems, and then was killed by someone else.
“And then this happens to her. It doesn’t make any sense.”