"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
–Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family friend speaks after Valley dad kills daughter, self (video)


Reported by: Nicole Beyer

Email: nbeyer@abc15.com

Reported by: Lori Jane Gliha

Last Update: 6/23 8:41 pm

Video Click the play button on the video window to the right to see the story

JACOB LAKE, AZ – A Gilbert dad is accused of shooting and killing his 3-year-old daughter on Father's Day in a remote part of Northern Arizona before shooting and killing himself.

The murder happened north of the Grand Canyon Sunday, near Jacob Lake, according Mesa authorities.

Police identified the toddler as Teigan Peters, but her loved ones later referred to her as Teigan Brown in a statement to the media.

"She was just the light of the room, the kind of kid that as soon as she walked in the room just lit up the whole place," said James Gierke, the family's spokesman.  "She was really energetic and always happy and smiling.  She loved to sing.  She always sang little songs to herself and anybody who would listen.  She was just a really joyful, happy little girl."

Gierke said Teigan's mother filed a missing person report with police after she went to pick her daughter up from daycare and discovered Peters had not dropped her off there during his court-ordered custody visitation with her.

"It doesn't fit in your head that somebody would murder their own child," said Gierke.

He said two days after she went missing, Peters called his ex-wife and let her talk to her daughter, who seemed to be happy at the time.  He said that was most likely before he killed her and then turned the gun on himself.

Authorities said the father, Ryan Peters, 29, had been despondent after his divorce and recent custody battles, but his neighbors said the allegations against him are unbelievable.

"He loved her.  I don't know why he would do that to her," said Olivia Groves, Peters' next-door neighbor. 

"He seemed like a great guy who loved his daughter," said Kelli Rogers, a neighbor.  "I feel terrible."

Neighbors told ABC15 Peters was a friendly person who frequently played in front of his house with his daughter.

Several neighbors said Peters, an electrical expert, installed lights at their homes.

"I'm just shocked," said Rogers.  "He's just a nice neighbor."

Mesa officers said Teigan's grandfather contacted them on Sunday night.

Authorities said he told them he was worried Peters was suicidal.

Mesa police said that grandfather last talked to his son at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

During the conversation, Peters reportedly told his father, "It would be all over" if police showed up.

After an alert was sent out to all law enforcement to look for the two, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office found the bodies of the 3-year-old and her dad at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, Blair said.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crime as a murder-suicide.

Authorities confirmed the girl's mother filed a custodial interference report in Gilbert on Friday after her ex-husband never returned their daughter to her custody.

Court records show the girl's mother, Tisha Brown, had also filed petitions for an order of protection against Peters a few times.  Most recently, she filed a request on June 16, 2009.

She stated, "He (Peters) is stalking me, and harassing (sic) me.  He has threatened to come to my boyfriend's home, and he accuses me of living there with our daughter, which he doesn't want... I am afraid since he has threatened to kill me in the past, and has also threatened to come to my home and pick a fight that he will attempt to hurt me or have someone harm me or my boyfriend."

On June 18, 2009, Peters filed a petition for an injunction against harassment, against Brown's boyfriend, Matthew Romero, stating, "I believe he will come to my home and try to hurt me and or harbor my daughter from me."

Gierke said Teigan's mother, Tisha, wants to use her tragedy to send a message about the impact of domestic violence to the community.

"If they're in a situation where they're not safe, or their kid's not safe, to reach out and get help when there's time to do that, before something tragic happens," he said.

The family is asking that people make donations to their local domestic violence shelters in lieu of sending flowers.  Those who attend Teigan's funeral are asked to bring white and pink roses, Teigan's favorite flower.

Meantime, Teigan's family members released a statement, honoring their loved one, which can be read below this article.

Public statement from the Brown and Bailey Families

Teigan Brown was a lively, beautiful young 3-year old girl who brought joy and laughter to every life she touched during her brief journey on earth.  She loved singing Mother Goose nursery rhymes and The Wiggles.  Yesterday, her precious life was taken from us in an act of domestic violence.  We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we struggle to understand and cope with this tragic and horrible crime. 

We hope to honor Teigan's memory by helping to raise awareness about domestic violence in our community and ask that in lieu of flowers that you make a donation to a local Domestic Violence shelter. 

Thank you for your thoughts and outpouring of compassion for our loss.


The Brown and Bailey Families

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