Amy Dean died at 5:49 p.m. Friday in a Savannah hospital, a gunshot to the head taking the Brunswick 21-year-old from her grieving parents, an identical twin sister and numerous loving friends and family members.
But stepmom Crystal Dean said Saturday the family is taking some solace in the realization that part of Amy Dean will live on, with her heart, lungs and other vital organs being donated to help others survive. Donating her organs was a gut-wrenching decision for the family to make, but one they knew the kind and carefree young woman would not have hesitated to approve of had she been capable.
“Wow, Amy’s making miracles happen,” said Crystal Dean. “Amy was such a giving, light-hearted vocal person. And she would climb mountains and swim rivers to do something for someone. So with that in mind, the decision became easy to give to any and everyone and as many as she possibly can with every viable part of her.”
Brunswick police said Amy Dean’s boyfriend shot her in the head with a handgun at about 11:22 p.m. Thursday at 2318 Gordon St. Dean was airlifted from the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where she clung to life until Friday evening.
Antoine Bernard Ladson, 27, remained Sunday in the Glynn County Detention Center, charged in her shooting. Brunswick police Capt. Angela Smith said the charges against Ladson remain criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault under the family violence act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Smith said the criminal attempt to commit murder charge could be upgraded to murder this week.
Police originally were called to the home on a report of a possible suicide. However, police arrested Ladson at the scene.
Amy Dean’s death has left an aching hole in her family, her circle of friends and the community where she worked and lived, Crystal Dean said. Her identical twin, Jamie Dean, is nearly nine months pregnant with baby Sophia, the niece Amy Dean will never meet. Amy Dean had organized a baby shower for her twin sister on Aug. 19.
“They were practically attached at the hip — you never saw one without the other not far away,” Crystal Dean said.
Amy Dean did not seek the spotlight; rather, it sought her. In addition to a fun-loving personality, she was known for striking a familiar pose anytime a camera found her, Crystal Dean said. “With that came her favorite saying — ‘Thank ya, honey!” in her sassy little voice,” Crystal Dean said. “When she walked into a room, she took it over. She was such a happy soul.”
The bullet entered the front of Amy Dean’s head and came out the back, leaving little chance for recovery, noted Crystal Dean. But as a donor she is giving the gift of life to others, she added.
“To be that mom to get that phone call, ‘We found your child a heart,’” Crystal Dean said. “Or the awesome grandpa that gets a 21-year-old heart. Amy’s turning something negative into a positive and making miracles come true.”
Memorial services for Amy Dean have not been finalized.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Brunswick police detective Carla Futch at 279-2641 or the Silent Witness Hotline at 267-5516.