The weather was cold, as it usually is in Colorado in February, but in the home at 705 West Brome Place in Lafayette, there was partying afoot, and strangely, the windows were always open.The neighbors had not seen Linda Damm, the owner of the home, in at least 3 weeks. But her kid was going wild. Tess Damm had boys over at all hours. It appeared her boyfriend was living there. The black Acura Linda bought for Tess was being driven by the boyfriend. The kids were even doing stupid “jackass” stunts, like car-surfing with the Acura. Linda kept a neat house. But now it was a mess, those open windows and cigarette butts in the yard. Just what the hell was up at 705 West Brome Place, no one seemed to know. From blog.myspace.com/blindian781, a poem posted February 19, 2007:
The Post through quotations, as they did with Bryan’s weblog), blog.myspace.com/harmonylala, a post made January 19, 2007, titled “My life”:
who am I?i dont even know anymore…
i did something that i shouldnt have…
i did things that i shouldnt have…
but i did them…
with my two hands…
and one foot…
i hate myself for it….
i think i have been forgiven…
it still kills me to know…
i just want to take a hammer to my head…
a needle to my veins…
i just want to drink a barrel of cyanide…
to make this pain go away…
its what i deserve for what i did… [for those of you who dont know what i did] [message me if you wish to know]
Everyone knows the story of me and my mom… and everyone knows how much I’ve tried to fix it my whole life. And everyone knows how it never works. I tried to get her help. I tried moving to California. I tried moving back to Colorado. I tried moving in with CJ, Hassan, Jermy and Bryan, then Burt and Bryan. Then moving back home with Bryan. And its just never enough. I could write a book about how confusing it is trying to please that woman… and trying to do whatever I can to get her to stop drinking. Like honestly, I’d do anything. But nothing really ever works. And the shit that goes on at home, frays out and effects every part of my life.(…) Bryan… me and him, we’re great. We get into stupid little fights a lot, but then again, who doesn’t? We love eachother, I can honestly say that we do, but sometimes I wonder about us. I treat him like shit, I know that and everyone else does too, but I’m trying to change for him. We live together now, and I’ve realized that like, literally, I can’t live without him. Believe me. I’ve tried. We have to be together, no matter what, and I like that. I miss him so much when he’s not around… and I take that as a good sign. With Bryan, I really don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. I love him, he loves me, and thats all that matters. So, this stuff that I’m about to write, it might be kinda of confusing, cuz I have no idea how to word it. But I’ll give it a try. Today… I didn’t go to school. I know, I’m stupid. But like, I can’t help but think that my mom and my boyfriend don’t want me around during the days. They tried to wake me up this morning but I wouldn’t, and I can see me getting shit from my mom about not waking up… but Bryan? No way. I thought he liked spending time with me, and he was trying to convince me to actually go to school. Which is kinda wierd because he never really has before. But I’m probably making a big deal out of nothing. And my mom, I don’t even know whats up with that. She cries, and begs me to move back home, then I do, and she goes back to treating me like shit, like she doesn’t really want me here. [[Background INFO= =I’m Bi-Polar.]] And I feel bad staying here during the days. How does that work? I don’t even feel at home in my own home. Today, I got so pissed at my mom, she puts me under so much stress, honestly its insane, and I couldn’t handle it and I freaked out, my Bi-Polarness came out. And I can’t help but wonder if Bryan is looking at me get so angry and is like, “Oh, damn, this is not something I want to be with.” So I try to contain it. But anyone with Bi-Polar knows that the more you contain your anger, the worse it becomes. But I try anyways, and it kills me. (…) So this is about half of my life, theres still so much going on, but I’m just gonna leave it at this: I’m going to get through this life, regardless of whos behind me or not.
On an earlier incarnation of her MySpace profile, Tess wrote about Bryan with apparent frankness. The following quote was on her profile when it was cached by Google on February 10, 2007:
My one and only… Bryan. God, I love this boy with all of my heart. When I met Bryan, I was like, “No way, this guy isn’t like you. He’s not your kind. Your preppy, he’s like, gothic. It’ll never work out, stay away from him, your worlds won’t fit in together… he wouldn’t even consider you anyways.” And I know he was thinking the same kinda shit. And I have no idea what happened, but whatever it was, I’m so thankful for it. Bryan and I are in the best relationship either of us has ever been in… with eachother. We have the kind of relationship that people envy. The love we have for eachother is the kinda that most people only dream about their whole lives. Bryan is honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything…
A still-earlier cached version of Tess’s profile from November of 2006 gave further insight into Tess’s view of the relationship she had with her mom and other family members. Perhaps she removed or edited what she wrote later because it felt too revealing — that, or family read her words:
My name is Tess… And I’m an alcoholic. Let me start from the beginning. This is my story. Since before I was born, my mom has been an alcoholic. An angry, raging, functional alcoholic. Until I was eleven, I had no idea what an alcoholic was. I thought that everybody’s parents acted like that, 24/7. But they don’t. And they shouldn’t. But my mom did. Sometimes it got violent. Other times it just got annoying. Having to take care of her all the time. Making sure she didn’t drink and drive, or do other things that could be possibly harmful. Then I stopped caring as much. I went out at night, didn’t come home til noon the next day… and I guess that made my mom drink even more. The more she drank, the worse I got. I started to drink too. I thought, “Hey, my mom does it every night… there must be something to it.” And there was. Drinking was like, a different world for me. I drank with friends, strangers… everybody. And it was GREAT. Drinking actually did really get my mind off of everything. All I was concentrated on was the boys, my friends and my shots of tequila and vodka. I partied all the time. Life was great. Except my home life. It got worse. Much worse. My mom had lost her job, and we were slowly running out of money. She drank. Only more. And since she had no job, the drinking wasn’t limited to nights and weekends anymore. It was all the time. And my grades were basically non-existent. I was failing all my classes, and I just didn’t care anymore. I ended up losing all my credits for the second semester of my freshman year. The only thing I cared about was drinking and partying. Getting two curfew tickets and almost getting in a crash with a drunk driver didn’t stop me either. I just kept going. Then I got into stealing my mom’s car… with Cree of course. And Tomeka too. Thats where this whole moving to California thing kicked in. My aunt found out about my mom’s alcoholism. We talked about it and we figured that moving out there to California to go to school for a year was my best bet. We were wrong. It was terrible. My aunt is a bitch! All the time. She yells every second and it just wasn’t what I expected it to be. I went to California to get away from the yelling and bullshit, and when I got there I was confronted with more. So I moved back to Colorado. Who knows whats going to happen to me? No one. But I’m just gonna have to wing it. See… after reading this, most people are gonna be thinking, “This girl is probably one messed up person.” And I’m gonna admit, I have my share of problems. But so does everybody else, and I’m getting through them. But this time I’m not on my own. I have Tomeka, and Cree, and Grace and a handfull of other people who are there for me. And they are helping me through this… and… I’m gonna be just fine.
From The Denver Post piece, written by reporters John Ingold, Manny Gonzales and Kieran Nicholson:
Neighbor Tim James said he saw Tess’ boyfriend running down the street Tuesday, screaming about a missing shoe.“Just incoherent screaming,” James said. “It didn’t make any sense at all.” Neighbors said Linda Damm and Tess fought often. Steve Weddig, who lives across the street from the house, said one day this summer Damm came to his house in tears. “She told me on several occasions that ‘I’m having a lot of trouble with my daughter,”‘ Weddig recalled…
How long did Linda Damm (her maiden name was Juergens) lay inside her home? From February 19th through the night of the 28th?One word stood out on Bryan’s MySpace profile; “DEATH.” The background image was two winged creatures, one dark, the other lighter, more classically angelic, and they were in a sad embrace. The other photos were of Tess. She was a slight blonde, who seemed to be working at cuteness, eyebrows raised, lips pursed. Further down the page, Bryan/Blindian wrote:
I am Thy Blindian I am dark…. I love Tess =) and she loves me! she is the lovely lady on this page, I live with her, shes the greatest thing in this fucking world! ne of you checking her out? I think you are… DOUCHES!! i will slit your throat…
The couple seemed to think of themselves as a Romeo and Juliet for the Juggalo set.Bryan’s bent in particular was towards the poetic. He had a separate MySpace profile here: http://www.myspace.com/watthefuckwasthat. In his weblog on that profile, Bryan wrote a poem in what appeared to be his first entry. It read, in part:
waddling down hallways,
stumbling over nothing,
climbing a ladder that doesnt exist,
swimming through the air,
we feel death cold,
upon our heads,
minding our own business,
boom were dead,
drunk with the fatality wound…
Bryan’s last blog entry there seemed to indicate two things, though — one, that he had a different girlfriend at the time, and two, that he was already having trouble with the law in mid-2006. He wrote the following on August 29, 2006:
Today Tuesday, August 29th @ 9a.m I am going to Boulder for an Assesment on whether im going to jail on Sept. 15th or not, please bare with me through this I cannot sleep call if u want, but if u are reading this, just know I love you, period, and Babe Allyson… I love you, and I always will, I will miss you all if I end up in jail, but remember this, watever happens to me, happens to me, I love you alli bid you farwell, |BlinDiaN|
Between the two of them, Tess Damm and her boyfriend Bryan, there seemed to be drama, poetry, and an undercurrent of violence and morbidity.Was Linda Damm an obstacle to all of this, in the minds of the teens? On February 11, 2007, in his “blindian781” weblog, Bryan wrote this short poem:
my baby…I miss you,
i cant see you
touch you or feel you,
i wish it wasnt so,
but im so far away,
my heart has already broken,
cause i had to depart from you,
im here without you and i hate it,
where are you baby?
where is my love?
I wish you knew how much I love you,
I wish you knew how much I miss you,
I need you…
Tess responded just a couple of hours later:
Baby I miss you too.P.S. Your gonna be really happy when you come home! Your wifey cleaned up the house and did ALL the laundry for you. =] I LOVE YOU!
More than anything.
I hate you not being here,
And its hard to do everyday things without crying…
I miss you like crazy.
I love you baby.
We’ll be together soon!
I’m right here waiting for you baby.
Come home soon.
I love you.
… And 8 days later Bryan was waxing lyrical about doing things he “shouldnt have” done. A week and a half after that, Linda Damm’s body was found in the home, stabbed to death, after the couple and their friends’ blatant partying began to alarm and trouble neighbors on West Brome Place.What happened seems obvious. Someone, perhaps one of the teens, murdered Linda Brome. Then they proceeded to live in the house as if nothing had happened, to indulge themselves at will — partying when they wanted, turning the block into their playground. Mama was dead, and so was reality. Bryan, though — he seemed to come to, here and there. The following is from his last post in his “blindian781” blog. He made the entry on the 26th, two days before he and Tess were taken into custody:
have you noticed…
the screams painted on the walls,
have you seen,
the mirrors on my eyes,
have you heard,
the growth in these veins,
do you know,
what lies beneath the surface,
have you seen,
the meaning of words,
have you heard,
the sounds of meaning,
have you contemplated,
the cause of your pain,
have you thought,
anything less of yourself,
have you overcome,
the passage through this life,
have you done the impossible?
have you been there,
have you been here?
no one is here…
If there were “screams painted on the walls,” it seems that Bryan and Tess had something to do with them. And for a time, they just didn’t give a damn.This entry will be updated as needed. UPDATE For those of you curious about this case and doing any websleuthing in relation to it — in my research I noted one mention of Tess Damm on a VampireFreaks.com profile. That doesn’t mean she had one, but it’s an interesting lead I have yet to follow. The person who owned the profile made it clear Tess was NOT her friend. As the girl with the VF profile stated she was from Denver, the chances are excellent that she was talking about Tess Damm now suspected of having something to do with her mom’s murder. Additionally, it looks as though Tess had ambitions to be a model or performer of some type at one point, but she didn’t follow through: www.tessdamm1.exploretalent.com. There isn’t much to see there save her real age, the fact that she was 5’3″ and just over 100 lbs. I have yet to give out Bryan’s last name because I’m not certain I know it. I do believe Tess, Bryan, and perhaps a third person will be charged as adults, though. Think about it. They apparently played house while the murdered body of Linda Damm sat in one room of the residence decomposing. Truly one of the more macabre crime stories I’ve encountered in a while. UPDATE 2 An odd comment is worth noting from Tess Damm’s MySpace page. A friend with the screen name “Gwace” left this comment on February 22:
Hey hun. What was with the text message early this morning??Message me. Love you…
I found the comment interesting because the text message would have been sent just a day or two after February 19, which was when Bryan posted his poem about doing something he shouldn’t have done.The twist here that has occurred to me, that bothers me, is this: How many in Tess’s and Bryan’s circle of friends knew that the couple and at least one other person were living in a house where a woman lay dead, and decomposing? More than one person knew, I’m certain. I imagine the “anonymous tip” that brought police to the home on Wednesday, if it came by phone, was given by a youthful voice. Incidentally, this blog attached to the Boulder Daily Camera gives Bryan’s last name — Bryan Grove. This quote is from the Daily Camera, an article published today, written by reporter Christine Reid:
The decomposing body of a Lafayette mother — who had been stabbed in the neck multiple times as long as a month ago — was stuffed in the back of a Subaru wagon parked in her garage when police found her this week, sources said.The grisly discovery led to the arrest of the victim’s daughter, Tess Damm, 15; the girl’s boyfriend, Bryan Grove, 17; and his friend, Jared Smith, 16; all who could be charged today in the homicide of Linda Juergens. The three teens attended Centaurus High School…
The mother was moved around, yet police are currently working on the theory that Grove committed the murder without Tess’s knowledge. If that is so, why would he be offering to tell friends via IM what he’d done? For he was evidently saying back on the 19th that he’d done something very serious.A quote from Tess’s lawyer is in the article: “She’s still very much a kid…” Not in Tess’s mind, she wasn’t. A look at her pages and how she referred to herself as “wifey” where Bryan was concerned makes that obvious. Jared Smith’s lawyer claims Smith is more a witness than anything else in this case. If Bryan Grove was telling friends to instant message him back on the 19th to find out what he’d done, there are probably plenty of “witnesses.” I think Tess knew exactly where her mother was, and what had happened. And she didn’t care. If you read the quotes above from her blog and past incarnations of her MySpace profile, you get the idea Tess Damm was possibly even relieved. UPDATE 3, 3/03/07 Reading the comments left on Bryan Grove’s MySpace page is pretty enlightening where the juvenile psychopath named Tess Damm is concerned. Her comments alone make you wonder, like this one, left December 1, 2006: “Ahh… My mom is SO going down lol.” Tess mentions her mom more than once, in fact. A comment left on this blog entry by “Jay” is also of interest:
I know the couple very well, I’ve known Bryan since he was in diapers. Tess for the last 5 years or so. Main points:I live in Tess’s neighborhood, her house floorplan is the exact same as mine. Creepy right? Buying into everything the media has to say can be exciting. But take it with a grain of salt, I’m not at all downplaying the gravity of what they have done. They’re young.
-Tess is a bitch, always will be always has been.
-Bryan is a sweetheart, he had a hard childhood and has a tendency to cling to anyone who is nice. He has the capability to turn obsessive over things, people. He’s mentally ill.
-The bitch brainwashed him. I’ve known from day one that she was bad news
-Shit happens and even though I’ve always had less than love for her I would have been the first to tell her that when you’re that age, your parents suck. That doesn’t mean you convince your boyfirend that you “couldn’t possibly live with your mother any longer”
-As long as I’ve know Bryan he’s been seeking to fill the void his mother left, Tess took that and screwed his life over
He was my friend.
All of us are lost and confused…
Thanks, Jay. I can’t really imagine knowing people involved in such a strange and terrible crime.UPDATE 4, 3/06/07 This link takes you to a police report about the arrest of Jared Guy, another teen who was recently arrested in connection with this case. Guy was arrested as an accessory. The story told in the document at the other end of the link is both gruesome and surreal. It portrays rootless teens making late-night treks to cemeteries to bury a dead body, only to think better of the idea later and return to bring Linda Damm’s remains back to the house on West Brome Place. Another thing is clear from the police report, which was found via this news piece — Tess Damm may not have murdered her mother, but the report based on interviews with Jared Guy makes it appear that Tess was fully aware of what had happened and complicit in attempts to cover everything up. Bryan Grove was remorseful, according to Guy, yet Guy reported that his friend also made this statement at one point, “the house is mine now.” Another note of interest — Linda Damm may have been dead as long as a month when her body was finally found. This is one of the darkest tales of suburban noir I’ve ever encountered. UPDATE 5, 3/08/07 The Boulder Daily Camera has made the arrest affidavits for Tess Damm and Bryan Grove available online. Fair warning: Some might consider the details found in both reports to be rather graphic. Added note: For some of the best ongoing coverage, stick with the Daily Camera’s special section: http://dailycamera.com/news/Ongoing-Coverage/LafayetteMotherSlain/