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The Life and Death of Tiane Brown

Tiane Brown

Wayne State University law student Tiane Brown had a long list of accomplishments and a bright future, but on Wednesday the 33-year-old mother of three became the 275th homicide victim in Detroit this year. “She was exactly what we like to put up as a model,” said WSU president M. Roy Wilson. “Words cannot express the loss her family must be feeling. It’s tragic for everyone; the entire university community feels this loss.”

Brown’s body was found just before 11 a.m. Wednesday in a vacant lot on Detroit’s east side, Police Chief James Craig said, who said two “persons of interest” are in custody. Investigators said she had been shot but added they have not determined a motive for the slaying. “This should not have happened,” Craig said during a news conference at police headquarters. “We, Detroit, owe Tiane and the other homicide victims in this city more. We need to be angry about the level of violence in the city of Detroit.”

Wayne State students on Wednesday said Brown’s slaying was disconcerting. University officials said they have beefed up campus security. A vigil for Brown was held at the law school Wednesday night with her family and dozens of her classmates in attendance. It was not clear whether Brown was accosted or killed on the university’s campus, and, because of the open investigation, Craig would not say whether police used campus surveillance video to help with the case.

A Detroit Police source familiar with the investigation said Brown logged onto the Internet in the university’s library hours before she was reported missing. The trail then went cold, the source said, until Brown’s credit card was used at a gas station. That discovery led to the two suspects, who were arrested Wednesday in Highland Park with the victim’s cellphone in their possession. One of the suspects told investigators where to find Brown’s SUV, the source said. Investigators still are not sure whether the killing was random, or if Brown knew her attackers. 

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