BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - We continue to share the stories of four families who faced with great loss, are joining together for good. They have formed a support group under Disaster and Victim Services International.
Brianna Parish was a young vibrant woman who was taken from this world at 21. Her mother, Sylinda Parish is a strong person who is turning this tragedy into good.
Parish had a special bond with her baby girl.
"I couldn't go to Wal-Mart unless she was with me. We did everything together," said Parish.
The Parish's relocated from the Eastern Shores to Galveston, Texas. Their home was destroyed by a hurricane, and Brianna went to stay with a friend in New York while they got settled.
Her mother said she found a school and knew that was the place for her.
"She said ‘Momma, I'm supposed to be a city girl. I'm supposed to go there and stay there,'" said Parish.
Brianna had plans to return to the "Big Apple." Her friend even had a room all painted and ready for her to return.
In the meantime, Brianna moved to Daphne to save some money for her big move.
She made a stop in Texas where her mother packed her daughter's car and prayed that she made it safely.
"I put my hand on the door and said, ‘Baby, if you get in a wreck before you get to where you are going and you get killed, do you know where you are going to be?' And she usually said, ‘Momma, oh yes.' But this time she stopped, looked me right in the face and said ‘Momma, Jesus is in my heart. There is only one place I'll be.' And she pointed up and said, ‘I love you more than life momma.' She drove off waved through the sun roof, and that was the last time I saw her," said Parish.
A week later, Brianna met some friends at a bar. She stepped outside to take a phone call. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.
Brianna was supposed to babysit her nephews the next morning, but never showed up.
"My heart just broke immediately because I knew my heart something was wrong," said Parish.
The next day Parish drove from Texas and joined hundreds in a search.
"We were the last ones to go out. It was me and my husband and my two daughters, two very good friends and two cousins. We got together on our section, and we had actually gone outside of our grid. We were supposed to stop at the power plant down the road, and we came on down the road and on the way back. We went into the woods here, and there's a horrible scream at the front of the line and we all knew what it was. My babies little naked body was in a ditch about six feet down this big drainage ditch, and all she had was her blouse left on because he couldn't get it untied. It had flipped over her face and because the concrete has lifted out. It snagged and held her there, or she would have washed into alligator ally and we never would have found her," said Parish.
It wasn't long before they made another discovery.
"We found the murderer. We found the guy that did it," said Parish.
"I had to listen to all the breakdown of all of the horrible things he did. He actually got on the phone in prison and bragged about all the things he did to my baby, and that was tough," said Parish.
But those are not the images that come to mind when those who knew Brianna think of her. It's things like a video of her ice skating at Rockafella Center the week before she died. She has a sequined dress on and a cape, goofing around with a friend.
"I have the assurance to know that she is in a better place than here. And I tell myself that our life on this earth is nothing but a breath compared to the eternity we will have together," said Parish.
Parish has a website devoted to teaching you how to avoid danger. It's Briannabond.com.
"There is bad out there just waiting for a chance," said Parish.
She also shares her story with others. Parish is part of a support group that helps families cope.
"Anytime I find someone else that has lost their loved one in a violent way, it is a instant connection. We just immediately have a kindred spirit towards each other," said Parish.
Brianna's life and story have touched so many people, and you can see it driving by the Daphne Utilities plant in Daphne
It's the place Brianna's body was found.
"I pass up and down this street three or four times a day," said Parish.
But it doesn't make Parish sad. It's a peaceful place for those to come and remember Brianna for who she was and helping others push on.
‘Bri's Song' written by James Buck said it best. "Every stone's got a rainbow, and every rainbow's got a pot of gold at the other end. And you know you gotta keep on playing."
"As a group and as an individual, we need to stop this horrible senseless crime that's going on. It needs to be done. We need to pull together as a community as Americans. We need to pull together and take care of one another," said Parish.
Parish said her goal is to introduce
every young girl to Brianna's story. If her story saves one life, that is enough.
Macdonald is in prison where he will have to spend the rest of his life living with what he did.
The support group and Disaster and Victim Services is sponsoring a "National Day of Remembrance." It's Tuesday at Cathedral Square in Mobile. It starts at 7 p.m.
If you have lost a loved one, they ask you bring a picture to honor them.
Everyone is invited to join.
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