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Fri April 12, 2013
Family Of Brittany Tibbetts Doesn't Want Her To Be Forgotten
People in Greenland are remembering their former police Chief Michael Maloney. He died a year ago, when authorities say 29-year-old Cullen Mutrie shot Maloney through a basement window during a drug raid.
Mutrie then shot 26-year-old Brittney Tibbetts, who was also wanted for dealing drugs.
He then shot himself.
A year later, the family of Brittany Tibbetts says they don’t want what happened to their daughter that night to define her.
Diesel, a brown mini pincher, is one of the last connections that Donna Tibbetts has to her daughter, Brittany.
“He’s I think maybe three or four. And she loved him to death. We call him our grand-doggy.”
Diesel was at the house in Greenland the night Brittany was killed. And while Diesel seems none the worse for wear, a year after that horrible night in Greenland Donna Tibbetts says the pain isn’t any easier for the family.
"We feel no one should have died that night."
She says the last time she say her daughter was Easter weekend.
She walks me through the living room of their Berwick, Maine home. The walls are covered with family pictures, including one of Brittany hugging her father, Lennie, after a softball game.
“This is probably one of the most special moments and memories we have of her, when she won the Western Maine Championship and a pitcher. Her sister was there. She actually was a catcher in college and she called the game.”
Across the room, on the mantle, are more pictures of Brittany, a vase full of flowers, and an urn.
“We still have her ashes here. That’s how I begin my morning is saying good morning, and kissing her picture. And that’s how we end our night.”
Brittany Tibbetts studied cosmetology and had hopes of opening her own hair salon. Donna Tibbetts likes to think her daughter was with Cullen Mutrie so she could help him. Mutrie spent Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with the family. And Donna Tibbetts says she never suspected Mutrie was capable of killing policemen or her daughter.
“I didn’t, he never gave us any signs that, he helped my dad down the stairs, you know? I know people are going to say that’s a stupid thing to say, that’s crazy, but that’s what we saw.”
Donna Tibbetts struggles with the fact that her daughter’s connection with Mutrie is all the public knows about her. They had been romantically involved, Donna says, but not at the time of the killings. She says she’s been visiting newspaper websites to see how the media is covering the anniversary of the shooting, and says it hurts that many stories don’t even mention her daughter.
“And it’s like she was a victim and nobody seems to care. And that’s really hard because like I said, her life was just as important and she meant so much to so many people.”
Donna Tibbetts says when the family held Brittney’s funeral on the front lawn just days after the shooting and more than 500 people turned out. She said that made her feel good, even if talking to some of Brittney’s friends made her face some uncomfortable facts.
“She probably wasn’t on a good path. I think they said she was straightening things out, trying to get her own act together and he was dragging her down."
Donna Tibbetts says this weekend her family will remember Brittney and reflect on what happened a year ago in Greenland at a location special to her daughter.
“She loved the Nubble Lighthouse in York. That was one of her favorite places to go. And that’s where her vigil was. And that’s one of the places I plan to go this weekend, we plan to go. We as a family.”
More than anything, Donna Tibbetts says her family wishes nobody died that night in Greenland. But she says they also know nothing can change what happened.