Christopher “Alan” Brown’s story is coming to Investigation Discovery’s television series Suspicion. Tonight’s show will recount the tragic story of Brenda Simpson and her 11-year-old son, Alan Brown, in the episode titled “Murder In The Family.” The Michigan boy was murdered by his stepmother, Rosalind Brown, and her brother, Montel Pettiford, more than 30 years ago.
In addition to ID’s Suspicion, the case has been featured on Dateline NBC and TV One’s Justice by Any Means. On the show, viewers will hear from the victim’s mother, Brenda Simpson, and law enforcement officials who had the grim task of solving the case.
Suspicion: “Murder in the Family”
When a mother’s young son disappears after a visit to his biological father’s home and is later found floating in Flint River, she launches a relentless search to bring the woman she believes is responsible for her son’s death to justice. Meanwhile, it will take two decades of hounding the local police to make them re-open the case and re-classify it as a homicide.
Circumstances in the death of Michigan Boy
A body was found floating in Flint River in 1985, which was later identified as Christopher Alan Brown, aka Alan Simpson, an 11-year-old boy who had disappeared from his father and stepmother’s home. His mother, Brenda Simpson, told police that her son was visiting his biological father at his 1066 Harvard Street home, stating that her son was excited since his dad promised a day of fishing.
The autopsy report conducted on the African-American boy suggested that his death was the result of accidental drowning. However, Alan was not dressed in swimming clothing. Plus, he was unable to swim. Another disturbing find was that two kinds of alcohol was found in his system: beverage alcohol and rubbing alcohol, according to MLive.
Accidental Drowning or Murder?
Later, Brenda learned that her son was left with his father’s new wife, Rosalind Brown, and was last seen getting into a vehicle with her. She also learned something more disturbing. Her boy had cried and begged his aunt not to allow Rosalind Brown to take him anywhere. However, not knowing what to do, the aunt didn’t stop Alan Brown (Simpson) from getting into the vehicle.
The aunt’s last vision of Alan was seeing him looking at her with tears in his eyes. He later disappeared until his body was recovered from the water. His aunt, Ella Jean Watson, told Dateline the following.
“He was just crying and bawling his eyes out; he didn’t want to go with her. It was like, she’s hollering at him, forcing him to get into the car. I’ve never seen him act like that before. He was beating on the back of the window, screaming and hollering, ‘Aunt Jeannie, please don’t let me go. Don’t let me go.’ Eventually, they drove away.”
Precious Child — Gone Forever
The grieving mother knew all along that someone in the family had killed her son. She didn’t know how, but she felt in her gut, way deep down, that Rosalind knew more than she was telling. She pursued Rosalind for years, demanding that she tell the truth about what happened. And it appeared that the original investigators were of no help to her. The case was finally re-opened many years later, and Alan’s body was exhumed, and another autopsy was performed.
This time, they found that Alan had been poisoned and murdered. The truth was finally revealed. Rosalind Brown and her brother, Montel Pettiford, had been sexually assaulting the boy. The day of his disappearance, they tortured him by poisoning his food, and then tossed him into the river to hide their secret.
It is alleged that Christopher Alan Brown loved spending time with his real dad, but did not like staying at his father’s home when Rosalind was there, but no one knew why. He only wanted to visit that day because his dad told him about the fishing trip, which never happened, Alan’s stepfather, Harvey, told Dateline.
- “He would come in and he would be kind of down, a little depressed. We’d ask him, ‘What’s wrong?’ and he’d say, ‘Nothing.’ We used to call it the over-to-my-daddy’s-house syndrome. And it would pass, by the next day he’d be back to normal.”
The story of Alan Brown is gruesome and tragic. He was murdered by those who were supposed to protect him, leaving his mother with only memories of her precious child.
Fifty-year-old Rosalind Brown and 43-year-old Montel Pettiford were sentenced to life in prison. To watch Brenda Simpson’s gripping story unfold, tune into Suspicion at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Last week’s Suspicion was about Brenda Sue Gere.
[Featured Image by Michigan Department of Corrections]