Dear "Hit List" personnel:|
The following are excerpts from the 9/22 and 9/23/96 editions of
the Peoria Journal Star (byline: Phil Luciano):
"Search for enlightenment preceded death"
"Nine months after her mother's death, Diane Jordan still wonders what
After Teddi Nelson Brown died Dec. 18, an autopsy showed she had
suffered no injuries or serious medical problems, and her 66-year-old
body proved free of drugs and alcohol. The final, nebulous verdict from
the Peoria County coroner's office: death by natural causes.
But Diane Jordan and several of her mother's friends don't think
anything natural ended the life of Teddi Brown.
In her last several years, she had shed what she felt was a stifling,
conventional housewife coil to experiment with an endless series of
practices, beliefs and theologies some would call New Age.
In the 1980's, Brown became disillusioned with the (Roman Catholic) church
and began attending the Unity Church of Peoria, (which)...stresses
positive thinking in prayer. It also does not dissuade members from
exploring other belief systems; thus, the church afforded Brown the
opportunity to meet people of diverse beliefs, and her social circle soon
included New Age devotees of different stripes.
Eventually, her new lifestyle drove a wedge between her and her husband,
and they divorced in 1990.
Meanwhile, at Unity Church, Brown met Robert M. Brown of Peoria, now 58...
who shared some of her New Age interests. They wed in October 1991...
(Connie Cook) Smith (named the executrix of Brown's will) called the
pair, who later divorced, "co-dependent" and "co-delusional" in their New
Age quests. In 1992, they began hosting..."angel gatherings", Smith says.
According to Smith, Brown repeatedly said her angel group had been
"chosen" by "higher beings" to take part in an "ascension."
Apparently, Brown's communication with the "higher beings" gave her
enough confidence in 1993 to tell Smith "she was leaving and would I like
Bob Brown also talked of making a similar ascension with his wife, says
Apparently, Brown never gave up the idea of ascending. Last December
(1995), according to friends and family, she decided to test the theory."
"Search for answers eludes family, friends"
"Teddi Nelson Brown thought she could live on air.
...she had discussed (another) step: giving up food altogether and
living on the air she breathed, says her friend, Connie Cook Smith of Canton.
To achieve that goal, however, she would have to undergo an 'ascension,'
whereby she would try to live a double existence on earth and in the
afterlife, Smith says.
Brown and her then-husband, Robert Brown, both talked of ascending as
early as 1993.
On the night of Dec. 18, the Peoria County Coroner's Office received a
call from Robert Brown. Teddi was dead.
...by late 1995, Teddi had decided to move out (of a home she'd
continued to occupy with Robert Brown, even after their divorce), says
friend Mamie Dixson.
By Dec. 18, Dixson hadn't seen Teddi in two weeks. That
day...she...knocked on the door, but no one answered, she says.
Later that night, she got a call from Carol Thierer, a mutual friend of
hers and Teddi's. It was bad news.
According to Coroner Dan Heinz, Brown told (a deputy coroner) he had
returned from a day at work to find Teddi dead.
An autopsy of Teddi's body later showed no signs of injuries or notable
medical problems, nor did it find any signs of alcohol or drug use. The
death was officially attributed to 'natural causes,' and Teddi's family
had her body cremated.
However, (Coroner) Heinz soon started getting numerous calls from
friends of Teddi who wondered about her manner of death.
...he (Heinz) admits, 'This is a weird case.'
That's why Teddi's loved ones are still searching for explanations.
...around 8:30 p.m., Dixson walked to Teddi's home and found Brown and
his sister, who lives in Colorado. Dixson asked Brown what had happened
(According to Dixson) He said, 'I helped her die.'"
The article goes on to indicate Robert Brown contradicted himself on
more than one issue, including his whereabouts that day.
It also indicates the recollections of Dixson and a deputy coroner are
at odds with one another concerning the incident scene.
I'd be glad to mail you copies of both columns, and a letter of
reaction printed in a local alternative publication, "The Citizens' Journal."
The author of that letter apparently believes Robert Brown is criminally
culpable, and that his motivation was monetary.
Kevin Lyons, Peoria County State's Attorney, had not examined the case,
according to columnist Luciano.
Interestingly, but not incidentally, the only forensic pathologist in
central Illinois was quoted in the article as saying, "Self-inflicted
death, be it suicide or some failed New Age experiment, is a personal
decision and should not be the subject of police investigation or
I trust your staff will find enough in this abbreviated version of the
situation to take a closer look at it.