PARKLAND, Fla. - One family is planning a funeral. The other is asking for privacy as it prays for a quick recovery in the traumatic aftermath of a double hanging in which a 22-year-old man died and a 24-year-old woman was left in critical condition.
Joseph M. Brown and Nikayla Baldomero were discovered Monday hanging from a picnic pavilion in Terramar Park in Parkland.
Authorities said they both had tried to kill themselves.
Little information came to light Wednesday about the nature of their relationship, other than what friends said was a shared taste for recreational drugs.
"I am devastated beyond belief," Deborah Brown said of the loss of the younger of her two sons.
"I don't understand what happened here. I just want him to be remembered as the charming, funny, loving young man that he was."
A memorial service, she said, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 140 SE 28th Ave., Pompano Beach.
Brown, who lived about a block from the park, was taken to N
orthwest Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Baldomero, of Coconut Creek, remained Friday in the intensive care unit at West Boca Medical Center.
A representative of her family asked that they be left alone.
"This is very hard for family members and friends, and while their daughter attempts to heal, they ask that the press respect the family and Nikayla by not creating a media frenzy over this unfortunate and very private issue," the representative said in an e-mail.
A Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said Wednesday that she had no new details about the case to disclose. Parkland Mayor Michael Udine said he could provide no information about a suicide note reportedly found in Baldomero's pocket.
"I can't confirm it. I never saw anything. I'm just not going to comment on it," Udine said. "A lot of people are just expressing shock and disbelief. It's a quiet town and things like this never really happen. It's just a tragedy."
Baldomero's Twitter page makes veiled references to drug use, and a friend of Brown's said he had been trying to stop taking drugs.
"Long story. But rolled pretty hard at some random […] pool party & got stuck in a k hole," Baldomero, an aspiring singer and actress, said in a Twitter message March 28. The slang terms refer to the use of the designer drug Ecstasy and the dissociative state brought on by the animal tranquilizer ketamine.
Beth Maguire, a friend of Brown's for 16 years, said his use of drugs isolated him from her and other acquaintances, but that recently he had begun to reinitiate contact. In hindsight, she wondered if he might have been reaching out to say goodbye.
"He told us he was trying to be clean," said Maguire, 23, of Coconut Creek. "As many warning signals as he gave us, this is just totally shocking and devastating to all of us."
Maguire said word was that her friend Brown and Baldomero had been using roxicodone, a narcotic painkiller.
"My understanding is she had her own problems, and I guess they kind of set into each other's hopelessness," she said. "I know they were both using some sort of drugs. I have to assume that it was the roxys; everybody's on roxys now."
On a memorial Facebook page, Brown's friends shared their memories and expressed condolences.
"I am sorry that all your pain led you to this," one friend wrote. "I just hope your in a better place man. no more bull---- and pain for you buddy."
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