Advertisement

She spent 34 years wondering when they’d find her brother’s killer. Now, the mother of his children has been arrested

Norman ‘Semo’ Rich  (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)
Norman ‘Semo’ Rich (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)

Life as Sekeithia Tyler knew it changed forever when her brother Norman “Semo” Rich was shot and killed inside his Washington DC home over three decades ago.

She’s been fighting for justice ever since – and has never given up hope that his killer would be found.

On 28 March 2024, exactly 34 years to the day that the father of three was gunned down, Sheila Brown, the mother of his children was charged with second-degree murder in his death.

Ms Brown, now 66, was questioned at the time, but never arrested. Until now.

Ms Brown was taken into custody in Annapolis, Maryland on Wednesday, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. On Thursday she was indicted in DC Superior Court on murder and obstruction of justice charges.

When Ms Tyler got the call from the detective, she was in disbelief. And bursting with excitement to share the news.

“I never gave up hope,” she told The Independent. “My brother’s been dead for 34 years, 34 years. It’s time for answers. It’s time for justice.”

Ms Tyler added that she knows this is not the end, only the beginning, but said it’s one step closer to closure for her family.

Sekeithia Tyler has been seeking justice for her brother Norman ‘Semo’ Rich for 34 years (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)
Sekeithia Tyler has been seeking justice for her brother Norman ‘Semo’ Rich for 34 years (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)

Ever since his death, Ms Tyler has been seeking justice for her brother’s murder.

“When people tell me to move on and to live my life, I tell them ‘Semo is my life,’” she said.

She has shared updates on her Facebook page Justice for Semo, and has given interviews to the local DC news outlets, as well as NBC’s Dateline.

“People need to hear his story,” she said. “We’ve tried for years to get people to listen. It’s time for everyone to hear the truth about what happened to him.”

Ms Tyler never called her brother by his name Norman, but instead his nickname “Semo” that was given to him by his grandmother who later explained it was because he was “intuitive” and could “see more” of the world around him, Ms Tyler told NBC’s Dateline in 2021.

Rich, who was the eldest of seven siblings being raised by their mother in Washington DC, was like a father to the children and worked hard to provide for them, Ms Tyler said.

She was 26 years old when her brother was killed.

Norman ‘Semo’ Rich was fatally shot inside his  Washington DC home on 28 March 1990 (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)
Norman ‘Semo’ Rich was fatally shot inside his Washington DC home on 28 March 1990 (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)

In March 1990, Rich was living at a home on M Street, Northeast, Washington DC with his girlfriend, Sheila Brown, and their three children.

It was Ms Brown who found his body in their bedroom around 1pm and called 911, according to the initial Metropolitan Police report. He had been shot multiple times.

Ms Tyler said she was in shock when she heard the news and went to her brother’s house, which was now a crime scene.

“I just went to the floor,” she told The Independent, relaying the tragic day, something she has done more than she wished to do.

The moment their mother, Helen Rich Frazier, found out about Rich’s death was captured in an image by a Washington Post photographer and featured on the Metro section’s front page.

According to Ms Tyler and the original lead detective in this case, Ms Brown said two men came to their door the morning of 28 March 1990 looking for Rich.

Ms Brown said she recognized one of the men as someone called Ducky. She said she did not know the other man. She told Rich they were at the door and left the house to run errands.

“She said, ‘Semo, Semo, there are two men down here to see you,’” Ms Tyler recalled her saying. “And she claims she left the two men on the outside, locked the door and went about her business. That’s what she said.”

When she returned, the door was wide open, she said. And Mr Rich was dead.

 (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)
(Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)

Ms Brown told police she would help them with a composite of the two men she claimed came to the house that day.

But Detective Ruben Sanchez-Serrano, the original lead detective who is now retired, had said in previous interviews that he believed the answer to the case lies with the family.

In a verbal statement he collected from Ms Brown that day, he previously told Dateline that he remembered her being “very reluctant, she was combative," he said, despite her offer to help with the composites.

For years, multiple detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch have urged the public to come forward with information and offered up a $25,000 reward.

Several people were questioned and potential suspects emerged in the fatal shooting, but nothing led to an arrest.

In January 2021, Detective Michael Fulton took over the investigation, hoping that a fresh look at the case would finally bring it to resolution.

It was Det Fulton who called Ms Tyler to give her the news of the arrest.

 (Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)
(Provided by Sekeithia Tyler)

Ms Tyler, while overjoyed at the news, admitted that it’s heartbreaking that it took so long for an update in her brother’s case.

Their mother, who had been battling cancer of the larynx before Rich’s death, died a year after the fatal shooting.

Ms Tyler said that even though her mother had been sick for quite some time, it was her brother’s murder that finally ended her life.

They are now together, and buried next to each other at a gravesite that Ms Tyler visits often.

“Before she died, she told me, ‘you stay on this,’” she recalled to The Independent.

“She told me to never give up hope. And I haven’t. I never did. And look where we are. Hope is what brought us to this day.”