Victim's father: 'I'm afraid of it becoming a cover-up'
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A Jackson County family says justice has not been served in the death of their 16-year-old daughter.
Kaytlynn Brann was struck by a truck while walking on Pointe Aux Chenes Road the evening of February 22nd. She died the next day. The driver of the truck was an off duty Pascagoula police officer.
Now, family members, are using words like "cover-up" to describe the situation.
Keith Brann sees the painful reminder of his daughter's death every day when he leaves for work: these crosses on the side of Pointe Aux Chenes Road. Her ashes rest on the mantle.
"Sadness, pain, the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It's like our lives have stopped," Keith said.
As their daughter lay dying, the Branns met with an investigator at the hospital who told them about the accident and the man driving the truck that hit her - an off duty Pascagoula police officer.
"He told us that the man had left the scene. He came back 16 minutes later. That he refused to blow, then 45 minutes later he did blow positive, and four hours later they did a blood draw. That he would be arrested and he would stay in jail until Monday morning. He would bond out and then we found out the next day that that was not, in fact, true," Kristen Brann said.
The day after the accident, Sheriff Mike Byrd said alcohol probably played a role in the accident.
"I don't understand any of it. I don't understand why he's not in jail."
After three months and no arrest in the case, suspicions run deep for the Branns.
"I'm afraid of it becoming a cover-up. That's what I'm afraid of," Keith Brann said.
"The police officer at the hospital said they weren't going to show preferential treatment, but that's exactly what they're doing," Kristen Brann said.
Family friends also question the handling of the case.
"If it were me, I would be straight in jail. And that's not right. There shouldn't be a double standard," family friend Alison Melton said.
Sheriff Mike Byrd said this has been a complicated case, and that's why the investigation has taken so long.
"We had multiple witnesses that had to be interviewed. Obviously, that takes a lot of time," Sheriff Byrd said. "We had things that had to go off to the crime lab. That took time for that to come back."
He also has a promise for the grief stricken family.
"I want to ensure them that justice is going to be served. We're fixing to present this to the grand jury."
But right now, that pledge means little to the Branns.
"No, I'm sorry. I hope. I hope," Kristen Brann said.
WLOX News contacted the Jackson County District Attorney's Office for comment. DA Tony Lawrence declined to be interviewed on camera, but did issue a written statement.
In essence, it said state law prohibits him from commenting on any case being presented to the grand jury. It also said the 20 members of that grand jury will have the final say about any allegations of criminal wrong doing involved in this case.
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