VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A grieving mother says that even before her daughter’s death, she was experiencing domestic violence and so afraid of her accused killer that she didn’t want to leave the house.
Family members described Amy Desiree Layne Humphries as kind-hearted and intelligent but her mother, Suzanna Humpries-Reep, said she was fighting a secret battle.
“The pain that I’m going through is not only just losing my daughter but knowing that she was going through this domestic violence emotions for six weeks,” Humpries-Reep said.
It was about six weeks ago when Brandon McLean was released from prison after serving a nearly 10-year sentence, according to authorities.
Humpries-Reep said McLean wrote letters to her daughter while incarcerated and when he was freed, he wouldn’t leave her alone.
“That he knew where she lived at, she was scared to walk out of her house,” Humpries-Reep said.
She said her daughter was too afraid to let her family know what was happening.
“Amy was a big girl but she just felt she couldn’t let her family in on everything that she knew about him because she was scared of him,” Humpries-Reep said, adding that McLean “haunted” her daughter.
According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Humphries was stabbed multiple times before her body was dumped on a trail off Osteen Maytown Road, where it was found Tuesday.
“I can tell you that the wounds that she suffered were -- a deep passion inflicted those wounds,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
While McLean is considered a suspect in the case, he hasn’t been charged in connection with Humphries’ death. He did, however, appear during a virtual court hearing Friday afternoon for charges related to a shootout with deputies in Sanford.
In that incident, McLean is accused of running from Seminole County Sheriff’s Office investigators who tried to approach him when they spotted him outside a laundromat Wednesday driving a 2021 Volkswagen Jetta Humphries had recently leased, records show.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said his deputies shot at McLean when he pointed a gun at him but McLean, uninjured, continued to run until he was involved in a shootout with deputies a short time later.
“At least two eyewitnesses at one time said that (McLean) was firing at the deputies that were standing without cover, quite literally in the middle of the street. The deputies then again returned fire at that location, striking the suspect at least five times,” Lemma said.
McLean was taken to a hospital to receive treatment, which included being intubated. He remained hospitalized during the court appearance Friday afternoon.
A judge ordered that he be held without bond. In Seminole County, he’s facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer, two counts of aggravated assault on an officer, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and using a firearm during a felony.
While Volusia County deputies build their case, Humpries-Reep is hoping for answers in her daughter’s death.
“We have to find out where this child was murdered,” she said.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help with Humphries’ funeral expenses.
Victims of domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-799-7233 or in Central Florida the Harbor House 24-hour crisis hotline at 407-886-2856.