Cox Brings Murder Charges in 22-Year-Old Flint Case

Contact: Rusty Hills or Matt Frendewey, Media Contacts 517-373-8060
Agency: Attorney General

Rosalind and Montel photos

May 24, 2007

LANSING - Attorney General Mike Cox today announced the arrest of two persons on first-degree murder charges relating to the 1985 murder of a child, Christopher Alan Brown, 11 years of age at the time of his death, from Flint.  The defendants in these cases are Wyoming, Michigan, resident Rosalind Laurice Brown, 50 (stepmother to the victim), and Flint, Michigan, resident Montel Joseph Pettiford, 43 (brother of defendant, Rosalind Brown).

"One of the worst tragedies in life is losing a child," said Cox. "For 22 years, Christopher's family has waited for justice. Today's first-degree murder charges are the start of bringing justice for Christopher and closure for his family."

On April 12, 1985, Christopher Brown disappeared while residing at his stepmother's residence located at 1066 Harvard Street, Flint, over the Easter break holiday.  He was last seen standing in front of the residence playing with a basketball.  The clothing description given to police described Christopher Brown wearing blue jeans, a maroon jacket, shirt, and white shoes.  A search of the area revealed no answers and no suspects. On April 30, 1985, Christopher Brown's body was recovered from the Flint River, wearing the same clothing described above. The original death certificate determined that the drowning was accidental, and the case was closed.

Today's charges arise from the re-opening of the case in November 2004 starting with the interview of witnesses who had not been interviewed back in 1985.  Those interviews led to the exhumation of the victim's body in February 2005 by Genesee Township Police Department which turned over the results of their investigation to the Attorney General's office.

A major break in the case occurred recently when it was determined through toxicology reports that Brown had a substance in his system that was strong enough to incapacitate him and that this substance could have only gotten there through ingestion.

It is alleged that the suspects, Rosalind Brown and Montel Pettiford, both living in Flint at the time, fed Brown a substance that incapacitated him.  It is further alleged that defendants then placed Christopher's body in the Flint River causing him to drown.

The suspects were charged with first-degree murder and, if convicted, face mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  The Christopher Alan Brown case is being handled by the Attorney General's Office of Special Investigations, formed by Cox in 2003 to investigate and prosecute both cold case homicides and public corruption cases.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.