Romeo and Juliet is probably the most famous classic love story in English literature. As in all of Shakespeare’s plays it is also one of the most misquoted. When Juliet lamented wherefore art thou Romeo? she wasn’t looking for Romeo. She was asking herself why he was the man she fell in love with in light of the rift between their families. This story, although nowhere near as sentimental and far more brutal, has shades of two lovers denied their relationship due to family disapproval. The ending was also very similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. In fact six years before this case one family had emigrated to the United Sates from England, the land of Shakespeare, who wrote that there was never such a tale of woe as Juliet and her Romeo. The modern American tale of Hollinghurst and her Goode went from tragedy to unredeeming horror when it culminated in the murder of a police officer who had his own hopes of marrying and starting a family.
Florida teens Brandon Goode and Alex Hollinghurst were madly in love, and wanted to run away together. But then their wild dreams turned to tragedy. Hope and reality have seldom diverged more violently than these two runaway teen lovers in Florida who took their own lives with a gun one of them had just used to murder a police officer. Oops. That certainly didn’t figure in any of Shakespeare’s works.
On March 20, Hollinghurst’s mother, Debra Hollinghurst, called the Polk County Sheriff’s office to say her daughter was missing. A deputy responded at 10:30 a.m. The mother told him that she has last seen her daughter at 11 p.m. the night before.“Debra stated (that) some time during the night Alex ran away, leaving through her younger sister’s bedroom window,” the deputy’s report reads. “Debra stated she has been having obedience problems with Alex. Alex is an habitual runaway. Debra stated she cannot control Alex. She recently got in trouble for shoplifting.”The mother said that her daughter had left behind a letter that, among other things, contained a reference to past talk of suicide.
Mum, I could write to you for days but I know nothing would actually make a difference to you. You are much too ignorant and self concerned to even attempt to listen or understand, everyone knows that. Thank you, for trying to talk and understand me after me being honest, after trying to fix things. Thank you for turning a conversation about depression and suicide into something about you. Please understand that when people compare us, I vomit on the inside. And thank you for accusing me of being anorexic, FOR YEARS. I’m so fucking sorry for being skinny. If I were, your BITCHY comments that I’m assuming were your attempt to help, wouldn’t have.
If I had stayed another minute, I would have painted the walls and stained the carpets with my blood, so you could clean it up. You are a waste of space, ignorant, and a rotten CUNT. I wish I were never born.
Suddenly Hollinghurst returned home. She said she had slept in a nearby park. “When asked about the letter she left, Alex stated she does not get along with her mother and she was just upset at the time she was writing the letter,” the deputy reported. “Alex stated she never advised her mother she wanted to commit suicide. She was just upset with her mother. Alex stated she is not suicidal nor does she want to hurt herself. Alex stated she has never been suicidal.”
Hollinghurst’s fury at her mother and her overnight disappearance were triggered by a letter that Brandon had written to her the previous day.
Hey Alex, I hope everything is well with you and things over there are not as bad as I think they are. I am so sorry for all the things that I’ve caused and the relationships I’ve probably ruined between you and your family. I’ve gotten myself a job, it is full-time and I get paid hourly plus commission so I will be making more than my mom lol!….I hope I didn’t get you into too much trouble and you don’t have to do time, which you shouldn’t since you’re a minor. Before I go I have to tell you something you will not want to hear but I think it is the best thing to do, not only for us, but for our parents too.
I know neither of our parents want us together and we should make them happy and fulfill their wish. It would be healthier for us to talk to new people and try to be happy again than to sit around in misery. I’m sorry it had to come to this and I wish things could be different but we can’t change what happened and we can’t change the way things are now. I’m sorry, I really am, Goodbye Alex.
The two must have seen each other or at least spoken and decided they could not just walk away from each other. Hollinghurst had then written Goode the letter on the back of which she had listed her hopes for their shared future. When I think about being 18 and living with you again, I keep getting butterflies. I am SO happy to hear you’re getting a job, I hope it works out! I am so excited for us both. We’ve had our obstacles and there’d probably many more to come, but it’s so worth it. I’m also very nervous for both of our court dates. I hope you get the chance for probation; I hope I get time. It’ll be a mini vacation from my parents and when I come back I might be more grateful. Ha or not, I just need a break from the bitch.
As far as the deputy knew, the immediate had passed. The Polk County Sherriff’s office then got a call from Goode’s mother at 8:13 a.m. the next day, Match 21. She reported that her son and his car were missing. “She stated she found a suicide note from him,” the sheriff’s office noted. Two minutes later, at 8:15 a.m., deputies arrived at the Goode home. “Connie advised she returned home from work this morning and found her son, Brandon Goode, missing from the residence. She advised she discovered a handwritten note left by Brandon.” The letter had been left on the dining room table.
To my loving parents,
I am sorry for all the pain and misery I have brought you both, not just now, from these past few years as well. I don’t want to go through life knowing because of my mistakes that I amounted to nothing and was therefore a disappointment. Don’t take that as me putting the blame on you because that’s is the furthest thing from the truth. Mom, I am sorry for everything I’ve ever said to you and done to you. All you were trying to do to do was be the good mother that you are. I don’t want to cause you any more pain or have you worried about me any more. I am truly sorry for this and everything else.
I love you both so much. I love you with all my heart. Please don’t be sad, this is what I want now. I get to die peacefully with the woman I love, the woman of my dreams, my fiancé (Yes, we are engaged!) I miss you both so much already. I love you mom. I love you dad.
In the way of teen passion, Goode went from telling Hollinghurst they should separate for the sake of their families, to telling his parents that he could not bear perpetually disappointing them and was seeking happiness by dying with her. The deputy took the note “as evidence.” At 8:38 a.m., a deputy arrived at the Hollinghurst home. “Debra checked Alex’s bedroom and discovered Alex was not in the residence,” the deputy reported. “Debra stated that Alex was at the residence when she (Debra) went to bed on 03/21/2014 at approximately 0100 hours and she did not discover that Alex was missing until my arrival on 03/21/2014 at approximately 0838 hours.”
Debra gave the deputy what she described as a letter of apology that Hollinghurst had written the night before.
I’m so sorry I continue to disappoint you. I’m so sorry I’ve changed. I wish we could rewind. I love you to death, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. Every day became harder and harder. I now you can’t understand and I don’t except you to. And I don’t know what to tell you other than I really am sorry, but I know you won’t believe me. I’m sorry. On the same sheet of lined notebook paper, Hollinghurst had written a note to her younger sister, Hannah.
in Kissimmee. Det. Jason Platt of the Polk County Sheriff’s office asked the Kissimmee Police to check the location. “ Det. Martinez drove through a Walgreen’s parking lot while he was on a phone talking with Platt. He spotted the car. “I could see that the vehicle was occupied by two persons in the front seat,” he wrote. “Due to the glare of the sun I was unable to tell if the persons were male or female.” He got off the phone.
“I approached from the driver side with my service weapon drawn at low ready since I did not know if any of the occupants were armed. When I reached the driver side window I could see that the vehicle was occupied by a white male … and a white female. Goode reached for the ignition, started the vehicle. I was just to the rear of the driver side door and began to reach for Goode before he could place the vehicle in drive but realized that I had my department issued firearm in my hand and jumped back as the vehicle lurched forward nearly striking me.
After the car made a successful getaway, Polk County emailed Martinez a photo of Hollinghurst. He confirmed that she was the other occupant. Platt wrote in a report, “I quested that units go back to the father’s residence at a later time and if the vehicle is there, several units make contact with Brandon due to the suicidal statements made in the note he left with Mrs. Goode. I knocked on the front door several times, but received no answer. I then rang the doorbell several times, but received no answer. I then called Mrs. Goode several times, but received voicemail. Due to not receiving an answer at the front of the residence, I walked to the rear of the residence and after knocking on several windows and to the sliding glass doors located within the screened in porch of the residence, Mrs. Goode came to one of the sliding glass doors. “
“Mrs. Goode advised she does not believe her son is suicidal due to all his clothes having been taken from the residence. She also advised that in the past, while Alex was living in her residence Mrs. Goode located a large box in her son’s bedroom. The box contained several types of non-perishable food items and she believed that Brandon and Alex were stealing food she purchased and placing it in the box. Mrs. Goode believes her son and Alex were doing this because they planned on living on their own.
At 3:30 a.m. on March 22, Windermere Police Officer Robert German spotted a teenage boy and girl walking along a road. The 31-year-old German was on his first full duty tour since being out with a shoulder injury. He may have been aware of the alert for two teens of this description. Or he may simply have sensed something that required caution. He radioed that he was making a “subject stop” and asked for back-up. When back-up officers arrived five minutes later, they found German lying in the street with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The officers then heard two gunshots and took cover. Officers placed German in a radio car and met up with paramedics out of harm’s way. Other officers advanced in the direction of the shots. In some brush, they found two teens, each dead from a single gunshot wound.
“On 03/22/204 I received information that a Brandon Goode and Alex had been located in Windermere, Florida and were deceased,” Platt reported. In the aftermath, Connie and Rick Goode issued a statement in which they began by saying, “We are heartbroken and overwhelmed with grief. We cannot comprehend the senseless loss of Officer German’s life, the death of Alexandria Hollinghurst and for our family, the loss of our 18-year-old son, Brandon.
Words do not exist to express the measure of our sorrow and sadness. Our deepest sympathy and our heartfelt prayers go out to the friends and family of Officer German. We are so, so sorry to them for what happened and they will be forever in our prayers. We know a community grieves and like everyone else in our community, we ourselves are struggling to understand this most horrific tragedy. We have no answers, only questions.”
As all of German’s own hopes bled out onto the pavement, the two hid in the bushes and heard other officers arrive, an inescapable actuality that offered them no life together at all. The medical examiner says the tale of Hollinghurst and Goode ended with him taking his life and she taking hers, though the order was not immediately clear. Whoever went first the other surely would have been too grief-struck not to follow.
Information about Alexandria Hollinghurst can be found on Facebook.