“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered…”
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
New Year’s Eve of 2017 was typical of most years. Champagne was popped, fireworks were lit, and short-lived resolutions were happily promised amongst friends. Millions of people tuned in to watch the New York City ball drop as midnight approached to bring in the 2018 year in full celebration. The Sweet family also partook in the festivities, having a small party that night as well.
Little did anyone know that the Oklahoma City’s first murder of the new year would occur in just a few hours.
Gyndola Sweet’s life changed the morning of January 1, 2018.
“I walked outside to let the dogs out and noticed that Bryan’s car was in the drive,” Gyndola describes.
Knowing her son had to be at work soon, she checked his bedroom. When she saw that it was empty, she went back out into the front yard and saw that the car was running, and smoke was coming out of the tailpipe.
She also saw bullet holes in the windows.
“He was sitting in the front seat and I didn’t see any movement,” remembers Bryan’s mother. “I hit the windshield hoping he would respond, knowing in my heart that he wasn’t alive at that time.”
Gyndola had been on the phone with her friend Rodney while she’d been looking for Bryan. She immediately started screaming into the phone that her son was dead.
“Hang up the phone and call the police!” Rodney yelled.
Police arrived shortly after 8:35 a.m. to find Bryan Lynn Sweet dead in the driver’s seat of his car. He was only 23.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
~ Romans 10:13 (KJV)
“Bryan had a contagious smile,” Bryan’s mother remembers fondly. “He was so sweet and always wanted to help. He was funny, good-natured, and would give you the shirt off his back.”
Bryan and his two brothers, Brandon and Brent, were raised in a God-fearing home, and Bryan soon dedicated his life to Christ while he was a young child living in Georgia. He often prayed with his friends to encourage them during difficult situations. According to family and friends, none of the boys tried experimenting with gangs or hard drugs.
“None of my boys were bad kids,” Gyndola says. “They were good boys – Bryan included.”
He was a hard worker too, employed full-time as a Walmart manager in Choctaw, Oklahoma. When he wasn’t working, he had a passion for video games, which he played online so he could interact with people across the world. He also played basketball on Wednesday nights at a local church, and had recently begun dating a girl he’d met at work.
Who would want such a wholesome, warm-hearted person dead?
“You may throw your rock and hide your hand –
working in the dark against your fellow man –
but as sure as God made black and white,
what’s done in the dark will be brought to the light.”
~ Johnny Cash
Bryan was buried on a Tuesday, eight days after his senseless murder and eleven days before his mother’s birthday. His services were held at the Greater First Deliverance Temple in Oklahoma City.
“I couldn’t function to put it together,” Gyndola remembers, “so my youngest and oldest son did the best they could. It was just horrible to me; I wish that I was able to put him to rest. We just had to move forward.”
Gyndola and her youngest son, Brent, immediately moved out of the house. They couldn’t bear to live in a place where their loved one had died in the front yard. Gyndola was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and hasn’t been able to work since the murder.
“This has just been a horrific, horrific year,” she says.
When I contacted police regarding the status of Bryan’s case, they responded with the following:
“Sadly, the case remains unsolved and there is nothing new to release regarding the case. Hopefully your article will prompt someone to pick up the phone and call us with some fresh info on the case.”
For now, justice remains to be seen. Who killed Bryan Lynn Sweet, and why? A motive hasn’t been made public. Was this a case of mistaken identity – or was this intentional?
Bryan’s mother continues to hope and pray that Bryan’s killer will be caught.
“He’s one of those spirits that has left earth that definitely left an impact while he was here,” Gyndola describes. “The only thing I could say is that I lost someone close to my heart. He will never be forgotten, and I know that we will see him on the other side – Heaven, that is.”
If anyone has any information about the murder of Bryan Sweet at his home at 12725 NE 36th Street in Oklahoma City, please call the Homicide Tip Line at 405-297-1200.