Atlanta mother aches for answers in gay son’s mysterious death

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The mother of a 24-year-old gay Atlanta man and model found dead in a California desert wants answers about how her son died and why his body was found missing many of its organs. 

As the third anniversary of Ryan Singleton's death approaches, his mother Iris Flowers knows as little today about the tragedy as she did in 2013 when his body was found by joggers in Baker, Calif. And that's a frustration she faces every day.

“It's been a total nightmare,” Flowers said. “People want to know how I've been so strong. It's God. That's all I can tell you. I've gotten through the last three years with a lot of prayer.”

Joggers found Singleton's body on Sept. 21, 2013 in the Mojave Desert – more than two months after Flowers last spoke to her youngest son when he left their Decatur home for a weekend trip to the West Coast. The body of the model and aspiring actor was found missing its eyes, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Authorities believe that could have been the work of animals, but Flowers has repeatedly told media outlets that she's suspicious of foul play in her son's death.

“What I saw in the body bag was something that looked like road kill. It's something you really don't want to see if you don't have to see it,” Flowers said.

But Flowers still has few answers. Authorities investigating the case in San Bernardino County won't provide her with an autopsy report or cause of death – or any details at all about the case since, they tell her, it remains an open investigation, she said. And she hasn't spoken to Singleton's estranged husband – celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster – since early 2014.

“I am just dumb founded. I don't where to go, who to run to, who to speak to,” Flowers said.

Singleton (top photo) and Brewster – more than 20 years his senior – were married in New York City in 2012. On hand for the ceremony was Cynthia Bailey of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” who is close friends with Brewster. Flowers said she didn't know Singleton was gay – or married – until she read about it on social media. 

“It was a shock, a real shocker. I didn't get to experience life with him as a gay man,” Flowers said.

Singleton's mother described the honor student as loving, intelligent, fun and peaceful.

“He was an all around good guy. I know parents like to brag on their children, but Ryan really was that way,” Flowers said.

After their marriage, Brewster and Singleton quickly encountered problems and were evicted from Brewster's New York apartment in February 2013, Flowers said. She said she helped her son return home to Atlanta and the couple remained apart until Singleton left for what was supposed to be a weekend trip to Los Angeles in early July 2013.

“He didn't tell my anything about his marriage. He just didn't want to go back to New York, so he didn't go and stayed here and got a job,” Flowers said. “When all of this was going on, he and his spouse were estranged from each other. I didn't know Kithe.”

We reached out Brewster and will update the story if he responds.

Flowers said her son had once lived in Los Angeles for more than two years and was flying there for a weekend getaway and hoped to jump start his acting career.

“Ryan told me that he was going out there just for a weekend and would be back. I didn't want him to go. He assured me it would be OK, but he never made it back alive,” Flowers said.

'I'm still fighting for justice for my son'


What happened to Singleton remains a mystery. But police accounts to media reports at the time detailed his trip through the California desert.

Once in Los Angeles on July 6, 2013 Singleton rented a car and drove to Las Vegas. On his return trip to L.A., the vehicle broke down in the Mojave Desert on July 9 and two California Highway Patrol officers spotted him walking on the road, picked him up and dropped Singleton off at a rest stop or convenience store near Baker, Calif.

Singleton called a friend to pick him up, but that friend was a three-hour drive away. When he arrived, Singleton was nowhere to be found. A missing persons report was filed. There was an odd call from Brewster to Flowers. But it wasn't until Sept. 21 that Singleton was found when joggers came across his decomposing body two miles from where Singleton was last seen.

“The CHP officers picked him up, took him to a convenience store. He went in there, made a purchase and walked outside the store and vanished. Nobody seems to know where he went,” Flowers said.

Flowers (second photo) said she doesn't have the financial resources to hire attorneys or investigators to help her find answers about her son's death. In July, she created a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money though Ryan Singleton's Help Get Answers has received just $70 of its $5,000 goal.

Coming up on the third year “Angelversary,” of Ryan's death, I am seeking donations to help enable me to seek answers, justice, closure so that I may have some sort of peace of mind concerning my baby boy's last days upon the earth.

Donations of any and all amounts will so graciously, humbly, thankfully, appreciatively, BLESSEDLY, be received by myself, to allow me to not give up seeking JUSTICE4RYANSINGLETON, my beloved son.

Flowers said she is desperate for help and answers.

“I'm totally frustrated because I have no facts to substantiate what happened to my son,” Flowers said. “I'm still here fighting for justice for my son.”


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