Britney Tiger “had a heart of gold,” according to her sister Jessica Tyson. Jessica told Dateline that, as a mother, sister, daughter, aunt and friend, Britney always wore a smile and forever lent a helping hand.
At 26 years old, Britney was the youngest of three sisters living in Ada, Oklahoma. Jessica, the oldest of the trio, told Dateline that her baby sister Britney was “a fire cracker,” but “kind, genuine and gorgeous -- even on the inside.”
In 2017, Britney’s days were dedicated to taking care of her three young children — Jaylen, 9, Christian, 7, and Sameiya, 4 — and spending time with loved ones. In September of that year, the family grew by one when Britney married Will Gomez. The pair was inseparable, according to Britney’s sister.
Britney and the kids moved into Will’s house and the newly-formed family of five lived together in what friends described as a happy home. But just five months into the marriage, something inexplicable happened.
On February 11, 2018, the children were staying with their biological fathers. Will would later tell police that he and Britney took the opportunity to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. But at 3:30 a.m., when Will stirred in his sleep, he found the space bedside him empty. Britney was nowhere to be found.
After not hearing from Britney in a little over a week, Britney’s family grew concerned. Britney’s sister Jessica and their mother, Bernadine, live only a half mile away from Britney’s house and, according to Jessica, Britney never went far without telling her mother.
On February 19, 2018, Britney’s half-sister Christina Lewis reported Britney missing to the Ada Police Department. Ada police officers promptly went to the Gomez home to conduct a welfare check. Ada Police Department Detective Brian Engel told Dateline that Britney’s husband Will was there, and they took his statement at the house.
According to police, Will said Britney must have left when he was sleeping, taking a couple of hoodies and a bag of makeup with her. At the time, police believed that Britney left willingly on foot, as neither she nor her husband owned a car.
But Britney’s family maintains she would never have abandoned her children of her own accord. They grew frustrated as the days and weeks went by with no sign of Britney.
“The weeks of waiting and trying to look for her [and] hoping she’d been found were awful and long,” Jessica said. Jessica told Dateline she remembers the days after Britney disappeared as “something you think to see on TV or a bad movie.”
According to the Ada Police Department and Jessica, Britney’s husband Will didn’t seem to share the same desperation to find Britney. Authorities told Dateline that Will said he wasn’t worried that Britney was missing because, he told them, Britney commonly left for weeks at a time. For that reason, Will told investigators, when Britney disappeared, he carried on with his own routine and even felt comfortable leaving the city for a period of time. Britney’s sister Jessica disputes Will’s claim that Britney often left for weeks at a time without telling anyone.
“The Ada Police Department received information that Gomez traveled to the Shawnee, Oklahoma area after [Britney] was missing, allegedly to visit his father who lives in that area – to do some work there with him,” Det. Engel told Dateline.
“[Will] claimed to be mad at her for ‘leaving unannounced,’” Jessica said. “So he went and worked in Oklahoma City.” Neither Jessica nor the Ada Police Department knows what kind of work Will was allegedly doing there.
Will Gomez did not respond to Dateline’s request for comment on this report.
“She never went anywhere without Will,” Jessica told Dateline. “He was always right by her side. That’s why we found it strange that when she first went missing, he didn’t ever ask to see if she was at our house.”
Family, friends and authorities continued to search for Britney. And then, on March 16, 2018 -- about a month after Britney disappeared, a local cattleman came upon Britney’s body in a wooded area by Kullihoma Indian Stomp Grounds, 15 miles from Britney’s house.
“She came home,” Jessica told Dateline. “Just not the way we wanted her to. It hurts to think my sister, whom I loved all her life, was in such an area and in such a way. It was cold and rainy a lot during that time.”
An autopsy report released later that month states that the cause and manner of Britney’s death is unknown. The report also details how Britney was found lying on her back with her hands above her head. The body was already in a state of decomposition, according to the autopsy report.
Initially, Ada Police Detective Brian Engel told local media that the case would be treated as a homicide.
“Given the circumstances, and that she was found deceased out in a wooded area, we’re treating the investigation as a homicide at this time,” the detective said in March of 2018.
Now, almost a year later, Engel told Dateline “there is no current evidence that a crime has been committed” and the case has not officially been classified as a homicide.
Jessica says she and her family held a closed-casket ceremony soon after Britney’s body was recovered. According to Jessica, the family feels grateful for the closure brought by bringing Britney home, but they continue to fight for justice.
“My sister’s case is still ongoing. We haven’t found answers. And every time we think we are on the right road to something, it’s another dead end. We want the truth,” Jessica said.
Ada Police Department detectives told Dateline they continue to interview people in connection with Britney’s case.
“Information is being followed up on as it is being made available,” Det. Engel told Dateline. “The Ada Police Department continues to gather information in reference to Britney and follow up on it as it comes to light.”
If you have any information on the circumstances surrounding Britney’s death, please call the Ada Police Department at (580) 332-4466.