RANBURNE — Yellow crime-scene tape and daffodils of the same color lined the driveway at Bryttanie Russell’s residence Wednesday morning — Russell, 25, was killed Monday night after being struck by a truck allegedly driven by her boyfriend in the driveway, according to Russell’s mother, Tonia Russell.
Bryttanie and her three children lived with her grandmother off of County Road 710, just a stone's throw from her mother’s house next to County Road 46 near Ranburne.
Tonia Russell, 45, had stopped by her daughter’s residence Wednesday morning to get photographs for today’s visitation. She doesn't know why her daughter’s life was taken the way it was.
Wednesday afternoon, Cleburne County Sheriff’s investigator Joseph Freeman said the investigation is still ongoing, and that he was waiting for evidence to be processed.
On Wednesday, Tonia Russell was still searching for answers, as well.
“I don’t know if it was an accident or if it was out of anger and he did it on purpose, I don’t know. I feel as if he did it on purpose,” Russell said.
“I feel as if they were arguing and he just got mad and instead of leaving he took actions and took it into his own hands to do what he felt like he wanted to do,” Russell said.
The corner of the mobile home shows damage where Bryttanie’s body hit the structure after being struck by a four-door GMC truck, according to Russell.
“The underpinning, the block is busted where she hit the trailer, the mobile home, she hit it. There’s blood on the trailer, there’s blood on the leaves, there’s blood on the brick, there’s some red brick there, there’s blood there, she was laying probably four foot, maybe, from the trailer,” Russell said.
Bryttanie leaves behind three children — Konner Jayse, 2, Brohdi Jayke,1, and four-week-old Axell Jaysten.
Tonia Russell works in a nearby hair salon and was tending to a customer Monday evening when Bryttanie’s boyfriend entered the business.
“He came to the shop and opened the door, he had blood on his hands, he opened the door and said, ‘I need you to come help me,’ I said, ‘Come help you do what?’” Russell said.
“He said, ‘I need you to come help me, Bryttanie’s hurt,’” Russell said.
Russell’s customer drove them to where Bryttanie was lying on the ground.
The boyfriend pleaded with Russell to help Bryttanie.
“I said, ‘Have you called 911?’ He said, “my phone won’t work’” Russell recounted.
Russell got on the ground with her daughter and tried to communicate.
“I told her to please don’t leave me, to please stay here, to don’t die, I told her that I loved her,” Russell said.
Russell said she tried in vain to ask her dying daughter a question.
“If he did this on purpose, shake your head ‘yes’ or if you can blink your eyes ‘yes,’ but she couldn’t respond, she wouldn't respond, she was just gasping for air, I guess it was her last breaths,” Russell said.
Russell said her daughter was heaving, and blood was running out of her mouth and nose.
The customer from the beauty salon called 911.
“She flipped over on her back again and I made her get back on her side and the 911 told me to put her on her side and do chest compressions, and I did chest compressions until first responders got here and then they made me move,” said Russell.
Bryttanie was taken to the ambulance when it arrived, where EMTs tried to save her life.
“Somebody came back and told me they had bad news, and she was dead,” Russell said.
Bryttanie’s two youngest children have no idea of what happened to their mother, according to Russell.
“The 2-year-old just yesterday was wanting to call his mommy and we told him he could try to call his mommy,” Russell said as tears formed in her eyes.
Russell reflected on Bryttanie’s life and said she was “a character of her own.” She was loving, strong-willed and strong-spirited person but could make a person mad as well. She described the on-and-off six-year relationship Bryttanie had with her boyfriend as rocky.
“It was a co-dependent relationship. It was a relationship that they depended on each other for what purpose I don’t know,” said Russell.
Russell said they fought most of the time but would patch things up and Bryttanie would then think he was the best thing in the world.
“She carried black eyes, I can’t sit here and say she didn't fight back because she’s a fighter,” said Russell.
“I don’t know if she loved him. I can’t say she did love him, I can’t say she didn’t love him,” Russell said.
Russell said she’s reached out to other family members and friends to make sense of it all.
“We’re pretty much all believers that when it’s your time to go it’s your time to go but I also believe that you can prolong your life as well,” said Russell.
Russell said she thinks it might not have been God’s intention for her daughter’s boyfriend to take her life.
“Pretty much the majority of the people have said the same thing, she didn’t deserve to die the way she did,” Russell said.