Woman found dead in Tacoma. Police investigation in progress

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Syretta Brown, 35, was found dead on Nov. 13 behind a Tacoma fire station in east Tacoma, her family said.

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The decaying body of a woman who had suffered a broken jaw and a stab in the face was found in Tacoma’s Eastside earlier this month, according to her family and friends.

The woman’s mother, Debora Underwood, is demanding justice for the death of her 35-year-old daughter, Syretta Brown. She also wants to know how her body was not discovered for so long. By the time he was found, Brown’s remains had been decomposing for four to six weeks, Underwood told the News Tribune.

“Someone should have seen something and heard something,” Underwood, 58, said. “They claim she was alone, so no one heard anything. My main goal is to make sure whoever did this gets caught.

Underwood said her daughter is survived by two children aged 3 and 9.

Brown’s body was found on November 13 behind a Tacoma fire station near the intersection of East McKinley Avenue and East 38th Street, according to Underwood, who spoke to police and officials from the medical examiner’s offices. Pierce and King County regarding the death of her daughter.

The Tacoma Police Department confirmed it was investigating Brown’s death, but a department official could not confirm whether police were investigating a homicide. Patrol Officer Gary Wurges said police have yet to determine how the investigation will unfold.

An investigator told Underwood that police showed photos of Brown to people at a homeless camp near where his body was found. The people there recognized Brown but didn’t know much about her.

A Pierce County chaplain called Underwood about Brown’s death on November 16. She said authorities were able to identify Brown using dental work and fingerprints taken from the remains.

Brown’s body was taken to the King County medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death, Underwood said. James Apa, spokesperson for Seattle and King County Public Health, confirmed that Brown’s body was there awaiting a forensic anthropology consultation.

Underwood said it had been a while since she spoke with her daughter. The last address where she knew Brown resided was a boarding house near South Yakima Avenue and South 37th Street. Brown was kicked out for behavioral issues. Underwood said her daughter had mental health and drug use issues.

Brown had collected income assistance checks from the Share & Care House on McKinley Avenue, which provides social services. Police told him that the last time Brown collected a check was September 29.

Ina Smith, 35, said she has known Brown since they attended grade 7 together. Brown was like a sister to her, she said.

Smith said she was frustrated that Brown’s family were not allowed to view Brown’s body or see photos of where she was found. She feels the police are not prioritizing the case. She said she planned to get people together to start sharing photos of Brown to see if anyone knew more about what happened.

“If they’re not prioritizing this case and looking for the answers, I mean they’re treating it like it’s nothing,” Smith said. “How was she behind that fire station on this open ground and no one sees her?” None of this makes sense.

This story was originally published November 25, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Peter Talbot covers crime and the latest news in Pierce County. He started with The News Tribune in 2021. Prior to that, he obtained his BA in Journalism from Indiana University. In college, he worked as an intern at the NPR in Washington, DC. He also interned for the Oregonian and the Tampa Bay Times.

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