Mary Lynn Witherspoon had a stalker follow her for years, but she only dismissed him as being odd. However, that very person ended up brutally murdering her. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Obsession: Dark Desires: There’s Something About Mary Lynn’ chronicles how Mary’s ex-boyfriend’s son continued to show up at her home years after she ended the relationship, ultimately leading to a fateful conclusion. If you’re wondering what happened in this case, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Mary Lynn Witherspoon Die?
Mary was born in August 1950 in South Carolina and was one of four sisters. Loved ones described her as a beautiful, kind, and generous person. Mary did well in school, graduating as a valedictorian. Eventually, she started teaching French and then got married. While she had a daughter, the marriage ended in divorce. Then, a lengthy relationship with Edmonds Brown III ended in 1988. Mary was also known for her volunteer work.
At the time of the incident, Mary lived in Charleston, South Carolina. On November 14, 2003, her coworkers were worried when she didn’t turn up at school. While her car was not in the driveway, it didn’t seem like anyone had broken into the house. The police later arrived and saw that the upstairs rooms were in disarray; drawers were opened, and items were strewn about. Mary’s body was found in the bathroom. The 53-year-old was naked in a bathtub filled with water while her hands and legs were bound with tape. Mary was sexually assaulted and strangled to death.
Who Killed Mary Lynn Witherspoon?
The family immediately pointed to a man named Edmonds Tennent Brown IV. Tennent was Mary’s ex-boyfriend’s son. He was about ten years old when Mary started dating his father. As a child, many described Tennent as lonely and a misfit. But Mary tried to have a good relationship with him. While her relationship with Edmonds ended, Tennent seemingly showed up at her house multiple times. Mary’s sister, Jackie Olsen, later said, “He would pop up like on her porch, or ride his bicycle by her house, or appear near her driveway.
In 1989, Mary was visiting her mother just outside Charleston. While they were out for a walk, someone had broken into the house, but nothing seemed to be stolen. When Mary got back, she realized that her clothes and makeup were missing from her suitcase. Her mother knew who it was right away. She called Tennent and demanded that he return Mary’s stuff. Sure enough, he left them outside Mary’s mother’s house later.
Over the next few years, there was no sign of Tennent, and so, Mary breathed a sigh of relief. It was about a decade before she saw him in her backyard again in 2001. That kept happening multiple times, and in April 2003, Mary realized that her underwear was missing from her laundry. While she suspected Tennent, she didn’t file a formal complaint, instead getting a security system. Things got worse when Mary saw Tennent in her backyard again a couple of months later, and this time with her clothes in a pillowcase.
Mary was scared of what Tennent might do if she pressed charges against him. But upon her family’s insistence, she finally talked to the police about his behavior. Tennent was then charged with burglary. Mary registered herself for a service that would alert her if Tennent was released from prison. On November 10, 2003, he was sent to an outpatient mental health facility to undergo treatment as part of a plea deal. A screening there determined that he had bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and gender dysphoria.
Tennent left the facility, providing Mary’s address when asked where he lived. The system that was supposed to notify Mary was automated and never reached her. Just days later, she was murdered. Back at the crime scene, the authorities staked out Mary’s house, hoping Tennent returned. When he did, the police found him with Mary’s keys on him. He was also wearing Mary’s underwear. Her car was stolen by Tennent and was found nearby. Inside, there were papers where he practiced Mary’s signature.
A package later arrived at Mary’s door that was ordered by Tennent using her card. Inside, there was a wig, foam breasts, makeup, and drag videos. The authorities later also discovered a letter written by Tennent that confirmed that he wanted to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Ultimately, a DNA match conclusively tied Tennent to the murder. The investigators believed that Tennent made breakfast for himself at the house after killing Mary.
Where is Edmonds Tennent Brown IV Now?
Tennent eventually pleaded guilty to Mary’s murder and received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Tennent was also convicted of burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle. In 2016, Tennent, then 44, talked about wanting to become a woman. Going by the name Katheryn Brown, she said, “I truly believe my outward appearance does not match or correspond with my inner self. But as a female, I would be complete and a productive member of society because I would actually be comfortable in my own skin.”
Katheryn wanted the Department of Corrections in South Carolina to pay for the surgery. She also claimed that she had nothing to do with Mary’s murder. Katheryn added that she started hormone therapy long before she was arrested for the slaying. Katheryn contended that Mary was a friend who welcomed Katheryn into her house after she got out of jail. Nevertheless, she remains incarcerated at Allendale Correctional Institution in Fairfax, South Carolina.
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