TACOMA, Wash. — Debora and Dennis Underwood are still struggling to come to terms with the pain over the loss of their daughter, Syretta Brown.
“She was a mother, she was a daughter,” Debora Underwood said. “No mother, no parent, no family deserves this.”
Brown, 35, is survived by her 9-year-old and 3-year-old sons.
The Tacoma Police Department said Brown’s body was found Nov. 13 in a field near the intersection of McKinley Avenue and East 38th Street.
The Underwoods learned of her death on Nov. 16, and say detectives told them her body was found under a tree near a homeless encampment with a knife wound and a broken jaw.
But they were devastated to learn that Brown’s body was in the field for what Tacoma Police Department described as “an extensive amount of time.”
“She was there, four to six weeks before they found her,” Debora Underwood said, referring to a conversation she had with detectives who notified her of her daughter’s death. “Her body was very badly decomposed, and they had to get the flesh on her hands to get the fingerprint and the dental work, and that's how they got the identification.”
A Tacoma Police Department spokesperson said the department is waiting for the medical examiner to determine the cause of death before deciding whether it will be investigated as a homicide.
The last time the Underwoods said they saw their daughter alive and well was Thanksgiving 2020 when she came home.
The Underwoods said although Brown struggled with homelessness, mental health and drug use, she was still a person and deserved better.
Debora Underwood also said more resources should be devoted to addressing Brown’s underlying issues with mental health and addiction, which she said aren’t available for people Brown’s age and may have prevented her from landing on the streets.
“We don’t have a place for people like my daughter,” she claimed. ”Everybody that’s out on those streets don’t need to be in jail. If you have a mental problem or a drug problem, that’s the worst place to be.”
The Underwoods are now asking for the police to find the people responsible fast to prevent the pain they’re feeling to be passed on to another family.
“My biggest fear is that I don’t want this to happen to nobody else,” Debora Underwood said. “Because someone did this, and it was very savage, and I don’t want no other family to go through what we’re going through.”