[UPDATE] 12-23 8:20AM --
Hundreds of friends and family members gathered near Bethelem yesterday night to remember Brown. They held a standing room only memorial service at Carmel Assembly of God Church. Many are still grasping for answers as to why Brown suffered this fate.
There wasn’t an empty seat or a dry eye in the church.
"She was beautiful on the inside and out and I can tell all of you knew that."
Rather than mourn her death, family member held this memorial to celebrate Brown’s life. They decorated the sanctuary to resemble a wedding banquet, using her favorite color, pink, and her favorite flowers. Friends and family fought back tears as a slideshow played her favorite song in the background.
Mia’s father, Blake Williams, says they are leaning on their faith to carry them through this tragedy.
“And it's tough, we do have our moments, I won't say days, we just have our moments," Blake Williams says.
The family gave each person a small bell to ring, and then played a scene from Mia’s favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
"Look, Daddy, every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings," a character from the film clip says.
"She was a miracle, she was a miracle in so many small ways, she made miracles, she's a part of miracles, I'll always remember the good things about her," Williams says.
Statement from Mia Brown's mother, Nancy Williams:
My daughter Mia was always a cheerful child. She could take anything from a little box to Playskool toys and amuse herself, but her favorite pastime was playing school.
She loved to organize things and loved to draw. One time she drew the Piggly Wiggly we shopped at in every detail, even including the handicapped sign in the parking lot. She paid immense attention to detail. Another time there was a school project in fourth grade where the children drew a shopping mall, with each store drawn on its own piece of paper. I still have that art.
She loved her husband, Brandon, so much. They were childhood sweethearts and had made a vow of chastity to each other when they were dating, and they kept that vow.
Mia was sweet to everyone, including her “store friends” from Charlie’s Store in Esto where she worked. One friend told me that whenever she had a bad day Mia would let her talk about her problems and was always cheerful.
“How come you are always happy,” one person asked her. Mia said that she chose to have a smile for all the customers and not to add to their struggles. That kindness and willingness to help others even apparently led to Mia offering a ride to the man who could be involved in her death.
“That’s why she would give Johnny Mack Skeeto Calhoun a ride home when he said he was going to his girlfriend to take a present to their baby,” Williams said. “I always taught my children to do the right thing and to make the right choice. I taught them to be active in doing good.
This man had no light left in his life and Mia was a bright, shining light. In some way he was trying to capture that light he knew long ago; he was an empty shell. He was drawn to Mia’s light like a moth.
Mia made a choice to do something good. Please don’t take what happened as a reason not to do good.
[UPDATE] 12-22 2:50PM --
Geneva County — The Alabama Bureau of Investigation continues to work with other law enforcement agencies in Alabama and Florida on a case involving a missing Holmes County, Fla., woman whose remains were found Dec. 20 in her vehicle in south Alabama.
Mia Chay Brown was last seen Dec. 16 leaving Charlie’s Grocery and Deli in Esto, Fla. She and her vehicle then were reported missing, and a description of her vehicle was released. On Dec. 20, game and fish officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources located a vehicle matching the description in Geneva County. It had been burned, and Brown’s remains were discovered in the trunk.
Authorities now have suspect Johnny Mack Skeeto Calhoun in custody at the Holmes County Jail. Formal murder charges are expected shortly. The case is still under investigation.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact:
Holmes County Sheriff’s Office: 850-547-4421
Geneva County Sheriff’s Office: 334-684-5660
Alabama Bureau of Investigation: 334-983-5614
[UPDATE] 12-22 10:30AM --
The search for a missing Holmes County woman is now over.
Authorities have confirmed the body found inside a burned-out 2000 Toyota Avalon in Hartford, Alabama, is 24-year-old Mia Chay Brown, but the man accused of kidnapping her has not yet been charged with the murder.
33-year-old Johnny Mack Calhoun had a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon on charges of evidence tampering and obstruction of justice. Calhoun reportedly returned to his mobile home after authorities seized it as part of their investigation into the death of 24-year-old Mia Chay Brown.
"We're still working on a lot of stuff so I prefer to hold off on that, what the tampering is. We're doing everything we can," Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown says. Sheriff's officials have secured Calhoun's trailer in an impound lot at the Holmes County Jail. Calhoun has not yet been charged with Brown's death, but many people including Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown believe he is responsible.
"I feel like we have the right person," says Sheriff Brown.
"I'm 99.9% sure that he killed her. As a character, Johnny Mack, I wouldn't put it past him for five seconds."
Brown was last seen on December 16th at the Charlie's Grocery and Deli in Esto where she worked for several years.
Customer Howard Harrison said he remembered seeing her there that night.
"She was real nice, real nice Christian girl, matter of fact, she was too nice, I hate to say it but that's probably what cost her life," Harrison says.
Calhoun frequently visited Brown at work and allegedly abducted her that night.
Her burnt 2000 Toyota Avalon was found Monday morning in a wooded area in Hartford, Alabama. Authorities confirmed Tuesday afternoon Brown's body was found inside the vehicle.
"She enjoyed everyday that she got up, she always had a smile on her face, she was the kind of person that if you were down, she would pick you up."
Judge Owen Powell set Calhoun's bond at $20,000. If he posts bond, he will be required to check in every other day.
[UPDATE] 12-21 10:30AM --
GENEVA, Ala. (AP) --
An investigation is continuing into the discovery in Geneval County of a burned body and vehicle believed to be that of a missing Bonifay, Fla., woman.
Holmes County, Fla., Sheriff Tim Brown said Monday the 2000
model Toyota Avalon found burned in a wooded area of the Oak Grove
Community matched the description of the vehicle that Bonifay
resident that 24-year-old Mia Chay Brown was seen driving in Esto,
Fla., on Thursday before she was reported missing.
Geneva County Sheriff Greg Ward says game and fish officers with
the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
discovered the vehicle early Monday.
The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, state Bureau of
Investigation, state Fire Marshal and the Geneva County Sheriff's
Office were investigating.
Authorities recovered a burned vehicle just over the Florida line, in Hartford, Alabama and they believe it could belong to a missing Holmes County woman. One man is in custody in connection with her disappearance.
Authorities discovered a burned vehicle in a wooded area off Coleman Road Monday afternoon in Hartford, Alabama.
"Alabama game wardens had been searching and found the vehicle that was also missing, a 2000 Toyota Avalon," says Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown. The description of the vehicle matches the one belonging to 24-year-old Mia Chay Brown.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation confirmed human remains were found inside, but Sheriff Brown would not elaborate on any details.
"I'm not going to get into that just yet; we've got a crime scene in there. They're processing the crime scene out there right now."
Brown was last seen working here at Charlie's Grocery and Deli in Esto. Authorities believe she may have left with 33-year-old Johnny Mack Calhoun. Brown's friend, Missy Epley, says he would often visit her at the store.
"He was up there everyday, just about everyday," Epley says. Epley says she was concerned for Brown. "It's like he had an obsession with her, you could never pinpoint what was going on. It's not what a regular customer would do." Epley and many others are still in shock over what happened. "She never deserved anything like this."
Several volunteers joined Florida and Alabama authorities to search for the missing woman both on the ground and in the air. A few local pilots volunteered their time and fuel to help in the search as well.
If you have any information about this case, please contact the Holmes County Sheriff's Office at (850) 547-4421
Holmes County, FL - Authorities have found a body in the trunk of a burned car in a wooded area of Hartford, Alabama, near the Florida state line. They're working to see if could be a missing Holmes County woman.
24-year-old Mia Chay Brown was last seen Thursday at Charlie's Grocery and Deli in Esto where she worked. 33-year-old Johnny Mack Calhoun is being questioned about her disappearance.
Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown has confirmed the car found this afternoon off Coleman Road is a 2000 Toyota Avalon, the same kind of car owned by Brown.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation confirmed human remains were found inside, but Sheriff Tim Brown would not give any more details.
Authorities say they believe Calhoun asked Brown for a ride from Chalrie's Grocery and Deli.
Brown's friend, Missy Epley, says he would often visit her at the store, saying he had sort of an obsession with her.
While authorities aren't saying whether the body in the trunk of the car is in fact Brown, Epley believes it is her.
Epley says, "I feel really bad for her family because she comes from a good home, good people and she never deserved anything like this."
Several volunteers joined Florida and Alabama authorities to search for Brown both on the ground and in the air.
A few local pilots volunteered their time and fuel to help in the search. If you have any information about this case, please contact the Holmes County Sheriff's Office at (850) 547-4421.
Holmes County, FL - The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance from the public in locating two missing persons that were last seen in the Esto area of Holmes County.
Mia Chay Brown (24) and Johnny Mack Skeeto Calhoun (33) were last seen on the evening of Thursday December 16th in northeast Holmes County.
One or both of these missing persons may be traveling in a white 2000 model Toyota Avalon.
Anyone with information concerning these missing persons is asked to call the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office at 850-547-3681.