Families identify bodies of missing Hamtramck women

“She’s in the kingdom of heaven,” said Lois Brown of her daughter, Abreeya Brown. (Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News)

BrownBrian Christopher LeeAshley Conaway

Brown                              Brian Christopher Lee      Ashley Conaway


Detroit— Fathers of the missing Hamtramck women identified the bodies of their daughters this afternoon at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office

Preliminary reports indicate each woman was bound, gagged with duct tape and suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, according to Wayne County spokesperson Brooke Blackwell.

Shortly after the two bodies were found Sunday in shallow graves, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said they “fit the description of” 18-year-old Abreeya Brown and her best friend, 22-year-old Ashley Conaway.

The positive identification came less than 24 hours later.

Lois Brown, the mother of Abreeya Brown, was in court this morning for a preliminary hearing for Brian Lee, one of two men believed responsible for kidnapping the two young women Feb. 28 from in front of the home the pair shared with Brown’s stepdad in the 2200 block of Andrus Street in Hamtramck.

“She’s in the kingdom of heaven,” said Brown of her daughter, Abreeya Brown. “I am very glad we have the suspects in custody; now we don’t have to chase them down.

“Now I am in mourning.”

Lois Brown and other family members and friends conducted their own search three weeks ago near the area of where the bodies were found.

Earlier this month, police also conducted a search of the area as well as the Eliza Howell Park, a few miles south of the area where the bodies were found.

On Monday, Lois Brown talked about her daughter following the adjournment for Lee, who was to appear Monday morning before Judge Roberta Archer on charges he was involved in the shooting, and slight wounding, of Conaway in separate incident on Feb. 8. Lee’s preliminary hearing was moved to Friday.

Lee, along with defendant Brandon Cain, are persons of interest in the disappearance of Conaway and Brown.

Inside 36th District Court, friends and family of the women could be seen crying and hugging before Lee’s case was adjourned. Outside the court, Latrina Conaway, sister of Ashley Conaway, also spoke.

“We should not lose our daughters to evil and nasty men,” Latrina Conaway said. “Two beautiful young women who never had the opportunity to grow, to have families, to have life. It’s just a shame. Everyone should be touched by this traumatic thing.

“We are going to walk the judicial system down to the wire…we know justice will prevail.”

The two women were taken from the front porch of the Andrus Street home while Conaway was allegedly snatched before she got out of Abreeya Brown’s car by two suspects.

Cain, Conaway’s ex-boyfriend, is expected to undergo a preliminary examination in the Feb. 8 matter also on Friday.

Family and witnesses said Brown and Conaway were taken by the two men who forced them into another car as Brown’s stepfather exchanged gunfire with them.

An hour later, the family received a text message from one of the women saying they were in the trunk of a car and giving the names of their abductors.

The abductions, the family said, were a ploy to prevent the women from testifying on the Feb. 8 incident. According to reports, Brown and Conaway had been offered $5,000 not to testify against Cain in the earlier incident.



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