For the families of murder victims, the grief never ends

On Margery Patten’s 40th wedding anniversary, she learned that her youngest child Michael had been murdered. It was June 10, 2001, and she and husband Frank were away for the weekend at their favorite inn when they received a call from her oldest son.

“We were out celebrating and got this news,” Margery Patten told CBS News. “And it was devastating.”

Lea Anne Brown and Michael Patten

Michael Patten, a 29-year-old bank employee, had been found on the side of a rural Maryland road. Michael — along with friend Lea Anne Brown, a 24-year-old Navy Petty Officer — each had been beaten and shot in the head. It was a mystery. There was nothing in their backgrounds that would make them targets for execution.

Agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service teamed up with detectives from Prince George’s County Police Department to investigate the double homicide. The story of that investigation is at the heart of “’48 Hours: NCIS:’ One of Their Own.”

Cari Freemore, mother of Lea Anne Brown, can never forget that day or the solemn promise made by NCIS agents. “They told me that she was one of their own and they would find them and make them pay for what they had done to my daughter,” Freemore told CBS News.

After the initial shock and Michael’s funeral, investigators arrested five suspects, and those arrests kicked off years of hearings, trial, plea bargains and appeals. In her grief, Margery Patten reached out to Cari Freemore, and the two women bonded.

The judicial process at first seemed overwhelming, but the mothers were helped by the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center.

“You never know what you can do until you’re called on to do it,” Margery Patten said. “The people at the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center have been invaluable to us in providing services. They attended all of the trials with both of us. They actually have pro bono lawyers that will — advise us and give us information on what’s going on.”

Cari Freemore, left, and Margery Patten

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