By Steve Thorpe
The Wayne State University campus community and coworkers at a prominent local law firm are mourning the death of third-year Law School student Tiane Brown, reported missing early in the week and found dead Wednesday morning.
According to the law school, in addition to being a promising Wayne Law student, Tiane had earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and two master’s degrees, in business and biomedical engineering, all from WSU.
Brown joined the Bloomfield Hills office of Rader, Fishman & Grauer in September as a law clerk. She assisted with patent prosecution at the intellectual property firm.
“We’re shocked and saddened by the news,” said Leigh Taggart, a senior member of the firm who worked closely with Brown as she learned the ins and outs of patent law. “Tiane was a very bright, outgoing and optimistic person. She was very engaged in the legal work she was doing, obviously as a law student under the close supervision of senior attorneys at the firm. But she was clearly a young woman who had an excellent future ahead in the field of intellectual property law.”
The law school had planned to publish a feature story this week about Tiane and her work with the Business and Community Law Clinic, the Patent Procurement Clinic, and her community service work.
Brown had first-hand experience in the past with the city’s chronic crime problems.
In an emailed letter to the Law School community, Interim Dean Jocelyn Benson recounted a poignant quote from Brown in the planned feature story:
“We want to help the children growing up in the city,” Brown said. “My cousin was killed in Detroit. He was 25. We grew up together; he was like my brother. Seeing his life taken away makes you realize how short life is. You need to live each day like it’s your last. That has helped me keep my focus. I stay involved because I want to make a difference.”
Benson added, “Living those words of making a difference is the best way we all can honor her memory.”
Police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of the 33-year-old student and mother of three, whose body was found near Detroit’s long-abandoned Packard auto complex.
Detroit police Chief James Craig told reporters that two “people of interest” are in custody in the killing of third-year law student Tiane Brown. Craig has said he can’t comment on the motive.
Craig says authorities found Brown’s body Wednesday morning in a vacant lot near the former auto plant.
Brown was last seen on campus Monday. Her parents in Bloomfield Township, who had been watching her children, reported her missing on Tuesday.
In a statement, Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson described Brown as “an exceptional and active student” and said her loss was “devastating” to the campus community. He said that the school would offer psychological counseling to those who needed it.
A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night, organized by the WSU Dean of Students Office, the Law School and the Wayne Law Student Bar Association Board of Governors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.