Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Troubled teen suspects come into focus in shooting death of police officer

ORLANDO — In a span of 48 hours, Brandon Goode and Alexandria Hollinghurst went from star-crossed teen lovers to possibly suicidal runaways to deceased suspects in the slaying of a Windermere police officer.

For days after, little was known about the pair: the British-born teen who wrote about one day becoming Mrs. Goode, wife to the troubled young man who planned their lives together on the beaches of Panama.

But in the public records from before their death and statements made by loved ones since, the Davenport teenagers suspected in the slaying of Windermere Officer Robert German begin to come into sharper focus.

The information suggests lives with common elements, including strife with their parents. Both viewed themselves as disappointments. And both shared a desire to get away from Central Florida, one way or another.

Letters written by Goode released by law enforcement this past week reveal a conflicted young man with ever-shifting plans for his future.

In one, he shares a grandiose plan to elope by stealing a boat in Clearwater and sailing for Panama to live happily ever after. In another, days before his death, he expressed excitement for a new job — "I will be making more than my mom lol!" — and concern that his relationship with Hollinghurst couldn't survive their parents' resistance.

The third was what authorities have described his suicide note: a somber, extensive apology to his parents "for all the pain and misery I have brought you both, not just now but from these past few years as well."

Goode's parents released a statement last week stating that they "have no answers, only questions."

The gunfire in Windermere is an international news story. In the British media and Hollinghurst's extended family's statements, much speculation and conjecture has centered on how the bright, well-liked teen called Alex was led astray.

Under a headline referring to Goode as an "evil druggie boyfriend," the Daily Mirror quoted Hollinghurst's 74-year-old grandmother: "After (Goode) shot the policeman he must have shot Alex," Joyce Johnson said.

Along with her parents and younger sister, Hollinghurst moved stateside several years ago, according to the British media.

But her grandmother said it all went wrong when Hollinghurst met Goode: "It got to the state where she hated her mother. She said she would harm herself. And she did, she cut her legs," Johnson told the Mirror.

Hollinghurst's conflict with her mother, Debra, is apparent in a profanity-laced letter she left behind. Among other complaints, the teen accused her mother of "turning a conversation about depression and suicide into something all about you."

Debra Hollinghurst told investigators she didn't remember her daughter talking about suicide. She described the girl as a habitual runaway who'd been in trouble for shoplifting and who had gotten out of her control.

A person who answered a phone associated with Debra Hollinghurst this past week said she was not available.

The letters Goode and Hollinghurst wrote to and about each other suggest a passionate relationship between troubled teens whose parents didn't approve.

The conflict with their parents over the relationship seems to have escalated after they were arrested together Feb. 24.

When the teens were pulled over for a broken taillight, Polk deputies found marijuana and several pipes inside their Isuzu Rodeo. The couple said they kept the marijuana in the SUV because they were living with Goode's mother and didn't want her to know they smoked.

The last of the letters, dated March 19, reads like a breakup. Goode writes that seeing other people "is the best thing to do, not only for us but for our parents too. … Not being able to see you or kiss you is just too much, why drag it on?"

Within three days, officers responding to German's shooting found the young couple lying dead together in the brush off Conroy-Windermere Road.

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