Video provides clues in mysterious death of Detroit woman in Turkey

DETROIT – Tracey Shaver has lived in uncertainty for years about what killed her mother.

Shaver's mother, Tracey Brown, had been teaching in Uzbekistan in April 2013, when she started the trip back home to Detroit.

The two hadn't seen each other in eight months.

"She had called me in the middle of the night when she had landed in Turkey," Shavers said.  "I love you. 'I love you too. I'll see you when you get home."

But she never saw her mother again.

"Her bag was not there. She was not there. Come to find out she never boarded the plane," Shavers said.

Shavers eventually got a call from the consulate telling her to come to Turkey immediately. There had been an incident at the airport and her mother was in the hospital. Using the last of her rent money, Shavers boarded the next flight.

"When I walked into the area where she was, she was at the end of the room, and I'm seeing her and it's very difficult, because you see your loved one and they're lying in the bed and they're not conscious and I just felt everything that was on me, and I just fell," Shavers said. "I couldn't stand. I just fell out."

No one could tell Shavers what happened.

"First, (they said) it was she had a heart attack," Shavers said. "Then it was, 'Well, they gave her something and she had a bad reaction to it."

Brown died at the hospital.

After her body was returned to the U.S., things took a bizarre turn. A pathologist told Shavers what likely happened.

"He said it was a very brutal process for her body," Shavers said. "Her internal organs were not where they should have been. Some were missing."

For two years, Shavers still didn't have an answer to her mother's death, except that something violent appeared to have happened.

But she got a phone call from a Turkish reporter in September about a video posted online. The video shows her mother walking with her carry-on luggage at the airport in Turkey. She gets into an argument with airport officials, and punches are thrown. Then, Brown is thrown onto a chair as uniformed men try to restrain her. One is seen kneeling on her back while another kneels on her throat.

The men attempt CPR but Brown later died from asphyxiation.

"I can't think of anything that would require that," Shavers said. "I can't think of anything under the sun that would require you take someone's life. Someone held onto this on purpose. Someone withheld it from us on purpose."

Shavers calls her mother's death murder.
"Someone got away with something," Shavers said. "Somebody knows something. Somebody knows something, and they're just not telling us."

Turkish prosecutors are in the middle of a criminal case against 12 men seen on the video.

Shavers was in the Turkish courtroom for the first court date and plans to attend them all. She wants to see those whom she believes are responsible pay for her mother's death.

"She was so strong. So strong," Shavers said. "She was so strong and I know that I have to be strong like her."

Shavers has been getting help from the FBI with flight costs. 

Shavers does need help with other costs associated with this case.  You can donate here

About the Author:

Evrod Cassimy is the morning anchor for Local 4 News Today. He joined WDIV in August of 2013. He is an award winning journalist and a six-time Emmy Award nominee. Evrod was born in Michigan but grew up in the Chicagoland area.