Family seeks answers in death of dollmaker
Family and friends of those who knew Kerry Brown are devastated and trying to make sense of what happened the night of Jan. 19.
South Salt Lake spokesman Gary Keller said officers responded to a report that Kerry Brown, 42, was injured in a physical altercation outside of a home in the 100 block of Louise Avenue (2885 South).
Brown was taken to the hospital in critical condition with head trauma and remained in a coma until he was taken off life support Tuesday.
Officers arrested 20-year-old Tristan Hamel who lives on Louise Avenue, according to court records that night on suspicion of aggravated assault. Hamel, who has no record of prior crimes in Utah, subsequently posted bond.
A week later, South Salt Lake police don't have any new information to release on the ongoing investigation and were waiting on autopsy results.
On Tuesday, the family made the difficult choice of taking Brown off of life support.
"It was very hard on the family, he never regained consciousness, so we never got to say goodbye," said Brown's mother, Shirley LeCheminant.
She lives across the street from where it happened but didn't see what happened. She called her son "a very social person" who visited her and others on the street daily.
"He just got in the wrong place at the wrong time," LeCheminant said. "He was very much liked in the neighborhood, and everybody is very sad."
She said he loved animals, the outdoors and feeding birds at the park. He also enjoyed helping people by mowing neighbors' lawns and shoveling their walks.
"He was just a good kid," LeCheminant said.
For the past five years, Brown and his friend Terry Davidson had shared ownership of Davidson's Doll Hospital, where they lived and made and repaired an inventory of more than 2,000 antique dolls.
Davidson said he tried to keep Brown home the night of the attack but couldn't.
"He was drinking too much and was going to visit his mom," Davidson said.
But LeCheminant said her son never made it to her house.
Davidson said he was "horrified" when he learned Brown had been taken to the hospital.
Davidson, who knew Brown for most of his life, said he was a talented dollmaker. He will be remembered as "a really sweet guy" who was always giving of his time and money to others.
Troy Bowles, who met Brown as a teenager, said he had "a great sense of humor [was] always in a joking mood" and "was a really good natured kind of guy."