It's been almost 24 hours now since Bryan Eugene Sweatt decided to end five lives, then take his own. This Examiner article covers the events that took place the evening of October 29 at a rural Greenwood home.
Looking back on the Facebook page Bryan and Chandra shared (post have now been removed and only friends can post now), there were signs hinting Bryan was about to have a major meltdown. Friends of the couple are now filled with guilt for not acting on what appeared to be innocent Facebook rantings.
No one saw this coming, but in looking back, the signs were there.
On October 25, Bryan wrote
"Well chandra u already no what's going on now with tha det hope u ready now since u got us both in this mess they called Tammy today looking for u hope u happy now all I wanted to do was spend time wit my daughter but u wanted to be this way I gave u a chance u done this to yourself now u need to call me so I can let u no wtf is going on u on camera doing this I tried to text u and let u no but this is very important I swear to u, plz call me ASAP."
Another post, dated October 26, read
"why dose everything got to be about u why cant it be about tha kids for a change, i guess thats tha way u like it though u dont care and never have u never wanted her to no me but always remember its gonna come back on u when she grows up and thats whats gonna make her hate u, u no ur wrong for what u doing and god is seeing tha way u doing tha way u hurting our baby but like i said its not about tha kids its all about u tha way its always been i miss her so much but i no in my heart shes gonna grow to hate u for what uve done to me."
On October 28, only one day before Bryan executed his family, he wrote
"Ava is so beautiful and Daddy loves you with all his heart and soul u will always be my number one baby......"
Now baby Ava has to grow up without either of her parents. One set of her grandparents and two cousins are also gone. Now everyone is looking for answers as to why this troubled young man decided to not only end his own life, but to murder his daughter's family.
According to SCAG.gov South Carolina now ranks first in deaths caused by criminal domestic violence. A report on domestic homicide victims from 2012 states
"In 2012, there were a total of 48 people murdered by a household member, according to the South Carolina definition. Of those 48 people, 39 were women, constituting 81% of the total, and 9 were men, constituting 19% of the total. The demographics of the victims were as follows: 54% were White, 44% were African American, and 2% were Asian. The average age of these victims was 45 years old."
Investigators have told news media that Bryan and Chandra had a history of arguing, but no physical violence. Whether their past arguments can be classified as mental abuse on either of them is no longer a concern. When Bryan pulled that trigger, Chandra became yet another victim of criminal domestic violence in South Carolina.
Parents need to learn to share their children, should the couple no longer be able to provide a happy home for their child. Parental custody battles are one of the primary reasons relationships go bad, and often prove deadly.
We can all learn from the Facebook posts made by Bryan. If a post makes you feel uneasy, do something about it. No family should ever have to go through what the Fields/Sweatt family is feeling today.