Brandy and Graham say they have no idea how to control their 16-year-old daughter, Caitlin. The teen admits that she has made some mistakes, but insists that she is mature enough to make her own decisions. Dr. Phil has some tough questions for Caitlin — and for Brandy and Graham about their parenting choices. Then, in September 2012, 21-year-old Brienna says intruders broke into her apartment, shot her in the head, execution style, and then shot her brother, Remi, and shot and killed her roommate, Alex. Brienna says she is still struggling to cope — and even sleeps with a loaded gun by her bed every night. How can she begin to heal? Plus, hear from Alex’s father, Rafael — who says that the shooting should never have happened. Why does he say more lives could be at risk, if the law doesn’t change?
This program contains strong language and strong sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised
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Brandy and Graham say their 16-year-old daughter, Caitlin, has been a problem child since elementary school, failing sixth and seventh grade once and failing eighth grade twice. They say she’s been in trouble with the law and runs away from home whenever she has the opportunity. “Caitlin has been in jail seven times. The first time she was in jail, it was for stealing our car; Caitlin has stolen the car at least six to eight times,” says Brandy. “We have tried several things to get Caitlin to change: There’s been jail, boot camp, family therapy, she’s even had a GPS ankle device that would track her every move.”
Caitlin says, “Nothing’s going to stop me from doing what I want.”
Recently, Caitlin went missing for four days and her parents appeared on the local news asking the public to help find her. “Caitlin texted me and said that she was going swimming at a friend’s house and that Mom said it was OK,” Graham recalls.
“By 8 p.m., I think we realized she’s not going to come home today. They next morning, still no Caitlin. Two days passed before I called the police,” Brandy says.
Caitlin says she was with two older boys and a girl friend. “I ended up breaking into a house with these people — that was fun,” she recalls. “We left that night, because this 35-year-old guy was supposed to give us both tattoos, which didn’t happen. He would try to get us to smoke and drink.”
Brandy says she found Caitlin and her friend walking down the road in her friend’s neighborhood. “I grabbed her, and I put her in the car. I yelled in her face: ‘Four days, I’ve been completely beside myself with worry and panic, and you’re just walking down the road, right now, like nothing ever happened,'” she says.
“I came home alright. I’m not dead. They should just not even worry about it,” Caitlin says.
Dr. Phil reviews Caitlin’s arrest record, including stealing a car four times and going to jail each time, breaking and entering twice and going to jail both times and recently violating probation and spending three weeks in jail. “You said something that I thought was really interesting,” he says. “You said, ‘I am mature enough to make my own decisions. I am mature enough to do what I want and don’t need anyone to tell me what to do.’”
“I think I’m very mature. It’s just, I make stupid mistakes sometimes. Everybody makes mistakes,” Caitlin says.
“I was 12 when I first had sex. I think I’ve slept with about 17 or 18 people,” Caitlin reveals. She says that when she was 15, she had sex with a 25-year-old. “I was high on Oxy when it happened,” she says. “There was one time it
was me and one of my guy friends and another one of his friends, and I
ended up sleeping with both guys. There was one time I had gotten so
drunk that I had sex with three boys. I was told that that had happened,
but I don’t remember any of it.”
Caitlin says she doesn’t worry about getting pregnant. “Honestly, I don’t think I could get pregnant because of how many times
I’ve had scares like that and never ended up pregnant,” she says. “Sex isn’t really
that big of a deal.”
Brandy says, “I do think it’s hard to control a teenage girl when it comes to sex and boys.”
Dr. Phil questions Caitlin about her behavior. She responds, “I don’t like people telling me what to do.”
Dr. Phil asks Brandy and Graham, “What are you doing that’s run this off in the ditch so bad?”
“I have completely, apparently, failed,” Brandy says, admitting that she has screamed, yelled and slapped Caitlin, and that she has grabbed her by the arm and thrown her around like a rag doll. “It’s horrible. I’m absolutely, 100 percent, in the wrong,” she says. “I get so angry, and I try to use words, and those don’t work, so my next instinct is physical aggression.”
Dr. Phil asks Caitlin how she feels when she’s being slapped by her mother, and she says, “Like I’m no good, like I’m the dirt under her feet, like I’m just nothing.”
Dr. Phil reviews a list of Brandy and Graham’s parenting. “Her behavior is not good, and yours is no better.”
Brandy reveals that last year, Graham had an affair. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything so horrible in my life. It’s been very hard to focus on anything — my kids, my job, anything — because the thoughts never leave,” she says, adding that she told Caitlin and her older son about the infidelity. “There’s no way they would have understood why I was so upset, and why their dad was leaving and why are you lying in bed for four days.”
Caitlin says her mother has blamed her. “She has told me, ‘Caitlin, you are a giant reason why me and your dad are getting a divorce,'” she says.
Dr. Phil asks Caitlin, “What do you think about all of this?”
“It’s just really hard to deal with, and they don’t really understand they’re not the only ones who have to go through it, everybody in the family has to,” she says, wiping away tears. “I don’t think they realize how much it affects everybody, not just them.”
“At 16, you should be having fun,” Dr. Phil tells Caitlin. “That’s one of your jobs. I want you to do that.”
Caitlin says that won’t happen. “I’m either in jail, or I’m home or at school,” she says, fighting back tears. “When I get home, usually, I’ll be able to stay on the phone for maybe an hour, max. I can’t leave, ever. Most of the time, nobody’s allowed to come to my house. How am I supposed to have fun with friends, and go play and have fun with friends when I’m stuck at my house all day?”
“If we worked really hard to change that, are you willing to work really hard to change your part of it?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Yes. I would do anything I had to. I just want my life back,” Caitlin says.
“I want you to get to the point where you value yourself enough where you won’t do some of the things you’re doing,” Dr. Phil tells Caitlin. “You are being reckless, because you look at it and say, ‘What the hell? It doesn’t matter. I’m miserable otherwise.’ And so you get reckless, and you make yourself at risk.”
Dr. Phil takes Brandy and Graham to task. “This girl isn’t even really defiant; she’s just surviving your craziness.”
Lucky to be Alive
Brienna says that in May 2012, two men with guns barged into her home and forced her, along with three others, to lay face down on the floor at gunpoint, while the men stole all of their electronics. One of the cell phones had a tracking device, and police were able to quickly find and arrest the men. However, months later and the night before the victims were due to testify in court about the robbery, something unimaginable happened.
“One individual walked by and said, ‘It looks like one of y’all is going to die tonight.’”
Dr. Phil mentions that Rafael is very upset about the system and how he believes the young adults were put in harm’s way.
“Orange County and the state of Florida, more or less, failed my son,” Rafael says. He explains that one of the alleged shooters was on home confinement, wearing an ankle monitor at the time. “During the period between June and September 10, he broke confinement 109 times.”
Brienna and Remington recall the night of the shooting and describe how they were shot in the head.
“So, this was an execution?” Dr. Phil asks the siblings.
“Yes,” Brienna replies.
Brienna, Remington and Rafael are joined onstage by their attorney, Jose Baez. “It’s a breakdown on every level.”
Dr. Phil offers the victims advice. “You can’t go through something like this … and just move on.”