Law enforcement believe 16-week-old Lyrik Aliyana Brown had been dead for hours before her body was retrieved from the Red River on Tuesday, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the Register.
Lyrik Brown was still strapped into her car seat in the rear of a gray 2011 Volkswagen Jetta that was submerged in the Red River when she was found Tuesday, June 9, law enforcement said. The Red River is along the Texas and Oklahoma border.
Law enforcement records state that the vehicle's condition indicates it had been driven into a stationary object at a “relatively substantial speed” before entering the river and coming to rest on its roof, completely submerged. The Jetta had extensive front end damage.
The affidavit states there was no evidence to suggest the infant’s 30-year-old father, Jeremy Brown, had attempted to rescue her.
Lyrik Brown was the subject of an Amber Alert broadcast early Tuesday morning after her father got into a dispute with her mother. The public was asked to look for her and Jeremy Brown, who authorities believed had abducted her in the Jetta.
Officers with the Gainesville Police Department responded to a report of an altercation between the couple around 9 p.m. Monday, June 9, in the 700 block of North Howeth Street.
Police say Jeremy Brown physically assaulted the mother, an 18-year-old Gainesville woman, before he fled the scene in the Jetta with the infant in the back seat. The mother reportedly pleaded with Jeremy Brown not to take the child.
The affidavit states that Jeremy Brown called Gainesville Municipal Court Judge Chris Cypert at 9:14 p.m. indicating he planned to take his own life.
The Gainesville Police Department and the Cooke County Sheriff's Office searched for Jeremy and Lyrik Brown throughout the night and into Tuesday without any luck.
At 3:41 p.m. Tuesday, a witness saw Jeremy Brown underneath the I-35 bridge on the south bank of the Red River, according to the affidavit.
Jeremy Brown talked to the witness and during the conversation he said he had wrecked his vehicle, was stuck at the river with his daughter and needed to borrow a cellphone.
Jeremy Brown reportedly called his ex-girlfriend and during that conversation, the affidavit alleges, he denied having his daughter and claimed to have been in a car crash.
The girlfriend, according to the affidavit, immediately contacted GPD to relay the location of Jeremy Brown.
The information was passed on to the CCSO and multiple surrounding agencies responded to the scene.
Previous Register reports state GPD personnel arrived at 3:51 p.m.
When first responders arrived to the scene, Jeremy Brown was in the water near the southern bank of the Red River. As deputies and officers approached, Jeremy Brown began swimming closer to the middle of the river, according to law enforcement.
“As he reached a location further north of the river bank, he grabbed onto a vehicle that was clearly submerged in the river,” the affidavit states. “Attempts were made to communicate with the defendant to determine the location of the child but the defendant refused to advise where she was at.”
The affidavit states Jeremy Brown resisted arrest when deputies tried to detain him. He had to be subdued and handcuffed, court records state. He also reportedly “made the Res Gestae statement that he forgot she was in the car.”
Res Gestae means law enforcement believes the statement would be admissible as evidence in court.
Jeremy Brown was taken to North Texas Medical Center, 1900 Hospital Blvd., before he was booked into the Cooke County Jail on a third-degree felony assault charge from GPD, according to Sheriff Terry Gilbert.
The vehicle was retrieved and that's when officials found Lyrik Brown's body still in the back of the Jetta.
The body was taken to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas for an autopsy.
Court records show the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office reported to law enforcement that Lyrik Brown had been dead for hours — likely since sometime overnight.
Gilbert said Wednesday, June 10, that the cause of her death was drowning. However, the manner of her death was still pending, he said.
Court records show that Jeremy Brown had talked multiple times in the past about wrecking his vehicle into something to take his own life, had tried to kill himself at least once by driving into a stationary object and had on at least one previous occasion assaulted a former girlfriend by trying to drown her in the Red River near the bridge.
The Gainesville man has a long criminal history dating back to 2009 which includes charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia, firearm smuggling and aggravated assault, Cooke County Jail records indicate.
Jeremy Brown was served a warrant Wednesday for capital murder of a child under 10 years of age, Gilbert said. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Brown's bonds for the murder and assault charge total $1.25 million, jail records showed Thursday, June 11. It’s unclear whether Brown has an attorney.