Having worked in Bethesda for my first six years living in the Washington DC Metro Area, I was shaken by the recent murder of Jayna T. Murray by her Lululemon co-worker at the Bethesda Row store. This is a city which at least used to have more restaurants per square mile than anywhere else in the country. It’s a very safe, great area to shop, dine, and work. Unlike many people, I wasn’t all that surprised when the “second victim” was arrested. I had a feeling from the beginning that this was an inside job — with or without help from additional people. Once the “second victim”/alleged murderer’s name was announced by Police Chief, Thomas Manger, I Googled her, and searched frantically to see the face of this monster who could so brutally kill a woman, described by so many as an amazing human being. I found a Facebook profile for a woman named Brittany Norwood, although like with Britney Spears that name has been spelled so many different ways. Her Facebook profile was online at the time of the 7:00 p.m. news conference, but has since been taken down by Facebook, and now it just say, “Page Not Found”. The link to her profile on my Facebook wall after the news conference was also removed.
What the Facebook profile photo revealed was a woman who looks happy and kind, and much like many of my friends. This wasn’t some 6 foot thug in a ski mask, or some deranged looking person. I wanted to share this photo as Facebook has taken down Brittany’s profile since I found it. I want women to see that Brittany looks shockingly normal. Everyone — even Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan — looks worse in a mug shot, and can have a sinister look to them. They are in a state of shock and look dazed having come face-to-face with their fate. I want women to see that a normal looking woman who might have been friends with committed a murder that left experienced police shaken by the horror of it all. I am always puzzled as to what snaps inside these human being with DNA more similar than different from the rest of us. We see this with mothers who kill their children, or husbands who kill their wives. It’s frightening. It may even be more frightening than when the perpetrator looks the part.
Anyhow, I think I speak for many when I say that I am a bit relieved. Women in our community don’t have to fear that there are two brutal masked men stalking women in Bethesda, Maryland. Maybe it’s selfish to feel better, or safer, but my fear is alleviated knowing the murderer was someone Jayna knew, because of course we like to think that nobody WE know would ever do such a thing, so we must be safe. Of course, this is just a way for us to delude ourselves from the harsh reality that human beings can act in such an evil manner.
I am also relieved for Jayna’s family and for women in our community that Jayna didn’t experience a brutal rape on top of everything else she experienced in those last minutes of her life. It’s similar to what’s happening now in Japan — a piling on of tragedy — too much for anyone to bear.
The family and friends of Jayna are in my thoughts and prayers. I commend Bethesda Row and Lululemon on how they have reacted to this horrific murder. Like I wrote in a post a while back, I had a frightening incident happened to me in Alexandria, Virginia, and am always guarded and a bit paranoid, which I think may actually be a good thing. Be safe, Ladies! Be aware of your surroundings, and listen to your gut.
– Miss A