Brandy Rhines, who was found dead in her La Marque home Friday from apparent gunshot wounds, left behind three children and a family trying to come to grips with events that led to her death, relatives said.

“I knew her to be a sweet kid,” said Kathryn Jackson-Cunningham, a cousin of Rhines. “She did not deserve to die like that.”

Police received a call about a possible disturbance at the home at about 10:45 a.m. Friday, according to a probable cause affidavit released Monday.

A relative was at the scene and told police Rhines wasn’t breathing, according to the affidavit.

Officers at the scene said Rhines appeared to have been shot several times, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Those closest to Rhines were still struggling Tuesday to come to grips with her death.

“We aren’t doing very well,” said Brenda Lemons, Rhines’ niece. “We all just got our appetites back. No one had really eaten since Friday. We are taking things step-by-step.”

Rhines died less than a month before the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, Lemons said.

Family members Tuesday described Rhines as a kind, goofy, constant presence at gatherings and a mother to two teenage children and one adult daughter.

“Those kids are my main concern right now,” Jackson-Cunningham said.

The two teenagers are staying with relatives in the wake of Rhines’ death, Lemons said.

Police have arrested a man — Byron Eugene Coleman, 39, of La Marque — in connection with Rhines’ death.

Family members Tuesday said Coleman and Rhines were previously in a dating relationship and that she had been trying to end it.

Coleman was detained at the scene and later charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, records show.

“We all knew him,” Lemons said. “That’s what’s crazy.”

Coleman has a prior felony conviction in Galveston County on a 1997 charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child, court records show.

Coleman was charged hours after Rhines was found dead in her home in the 1900 block of Little Street, police said.

The relative told police that Coleman had arrived at her house in the morning with a gash on his face asking for medical attention, according to the affidavit.

The relative said she saw Coleman had a gold and tan pistol in his pocket and left her house in his vehicle, according to the affidavit.

“If a woman says she doesn’t want to carry on a relationship, you need to move on instead of trying to take it out on that person,” Jackson-Cunningham said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230;



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