Brittany Cormier is remembered as both a private person and as the life of the party. Above all else, though, she is remembered for being a devoted, loving mother.
Samantha LeMaire, a close friend, said she never expected Cormier to sacrifice her life to protect her daughter.
"She would do anything for her kids," LeMaire said. "But to this extent? I would have never thought it would ever have come down to this."
LeMaire is referring to the horrific circumstances surrounding her friend's death, which LeMaire learned of a few days before a Monday press conference on the topic.
Beaux Cormier, Brittany's brother and a convicted sex offender from Kaplan, hired two men to kill his niece, who he is accused of raping, in order to prevent his victim from testifying in court, according to Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Tim Soignet.
Brittany Cormier, 34, was shot and killed after telling the men that she was her daughter, which Soignet said "likely saved the life of the actual rape victim."
The two men, 25-year-old Andrew Eskine, of Carencro, and 22-year-old Dalvin Wilson, of Rayne, also killed a neighbor, 37-year-old Hope Nettleton, who tried to fight off the men, the sheriff said.
Beaux Cormier, Eskine, and Wilson have been booked into the Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex on two counts of first-degree murder. Bond has been set at $2 million for each man. Officials say they are working to increase the bonds.
Acadiana law enforcement agencies were integral to the arrests made in the Jan. 13 murders at 103 Montegut St. in Terrebonne Parish, according to Soignet.
"It's all gone west since we started investigating this case," Soignet said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. "We knew there was a pending, pretty solid rape case there, which provided motive."
Soignet said investigators determined that Beaux Cormier, 35, of Kaplan, paid his friends to murder the person he is accused of raping.
Beaux Cormier traveled with Eskine and Wilson to Montegut prior to the Jan. 13 incident to do surveillance on the home, Soignet said. The men also attempted to murder the rape victim on another occasion prior to Jan. 13, the sheriff said.
During the investigation, Eskine and Wilson eventually confessed and named Beaux Cormier as the person who hired them to carry out the murder.
Beaux Cormier, whose rape case is working through the court system in Vermilion Parish, was also convicted of another sex crime in 2004.
Soignet said there has only ever been one other murder-for-hire case like this in Terrebonne Parish, and it was long before he began his law enforcement career 15 years ago.
"We've had double homicides. That's not so significant," Soignet said. "They're all bad and horrible, but with a murder-for-hire, there's always a motive for someone to want to kill somebody like that. It doesn't happen very often, and it's usually pretty hard trying to piece those together."
Those touched by the violent crime have also been trying to piece things together.
Through tears, LeMaire said that she didn't have the opportunity to tell Brittany Cormier about her recent engagement or ask her best friend to be in her wedding party.
"She was like the big sister I never had," LeMaire said. "She would have been my maid of honor. She was pretty much like the life of the party, in her own funny, unique type of way. She made you love her, and she never judged anybody."
The two women met about 11 years ago when Brittany Cormier was dating LeMaire's uncle. Even after the romantic relationship ended, the women remained close.
Brittany Cormier was godmother to LeMaire's 7-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. LeMaire said her friend was always great with children, including her own.
LeMaire said she isn't sure what Brittany and Beaux Cormier's relationship was like.
"I'm really not too sure about her relationship with Beaux," LeMaire said. "Brittany hardly ever talked about him, like hardly ever."
Brittany Cormier's daughter and stepdaughter were hidden in a closet when their mother was shot to death, according to LeMaire and Soignet.
"Maybe they hid in the closet because they were scared," LeMaire said. "But I like to think she locked them in the closet to protect them."