It ‘took a toll on her’: Mom found dead never recovered from son’s suicide, friend says

March 29, 2019

Authorities are investigating after two women were found dead of gunshot wounds inside their Wayne County home Wednesday night.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said they received a 911 around 6:53 p.m. saying a person shot themself at 450 Perkins Road.

Authorities found Diamond (Brooks) Lee, 39, and Mary Lee, 58, dead inside the home from apparent gunshot wounds. The two were mother and daughter.

Investigators believe at least one of the women’s gunshot wounds was self-inflicted, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said. The manner of the other woman’s death is still being investigated.

A weapon was found at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

Photos from the scene show that a profanity-laced graffiti message was written on the door of the home where the shooting occurred.

Friends said Brooks Lee had been emotionally distressed for years after her 15-year-old son son, Kaleb Braswell, died by suicide in the same home, and that she wrote the graffiti message because she thought people were watching her online.

“Losing a child is one of the hardest things you could go through. Me being mother myself, I never want to have to put my child in the ground before I do. Over the years’ time of her having to cope with that, it just kind of took a toll on her,” said Kirsten Trantham, a family friend.

Tristen Watchorn, who also knew Brooks, said she blamed herself for her son’s death.

“With that happening, the blame, I guarantee she put solely on herself,” he said. “She was very paranoid, so when it came time she wanted to make it known what she thought was going on.”

Brooks Lee’s boyfriend, Don Cook, called 911. He said he returned from work and she locked herself in the bathroom.

“My girlfriend just shot herself. She just shot herself and her mom is in their dead too,” he said in the call. “I kicked the door in. The door was closed. I kicked the door in and she pulled the trigger. I hear a pow.”

Several people who knew the family told WRAL that both women were suffering from mental health issues and tried to get help through social services.

“At the end of the day the only people who know what happened are those two and God,” said Trantham.