A woman from Alabama has been sentenced to prison after investigators discovered she was at the center of a two-year scam she operated out of her lab test collection company.
Brandy Murrah, 37, confessed to personally falsifying drug test results on multiple cases over two years — which caused too many parents to lose custody of their children.
Murrah was described by her current employers as a hard worker, who was always dependable and caring. But when her victims took the stand, they accused her of being anything but caring.
While her motives were unclear, her crimes revealed a horrifying pattern.
Murrah’s lab, A&J Lab Collections, gave paternity tests as well as drug-screen reports to the Dale County Department of Human Resources. And the falsified test results caused many families be ripped apart due to a lie they were unable to disprove on their own.
“I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest because I knew I was doing right with this one,” Grace Locke reportedly told the court.
Just last year, Locke’s 3-month-old was forcibly removed from her custody after a drug test processed by Murrah’s Ozark facility falsely showed she’d tested positive for methamphetamine. The mother of three had battled substance abuse in 2017, which led her to lose custody of her two older children as she entered a drug treatment facility.
But in the following years, Locke worked to get sober and alleged she was clean in 2019 when she gave birth to her third child.
In a meeting with the Department of Human Resources, where she expected to go over a plan about regaining custody, a caseworker informed her that she’d tested positive for meth and that her baby’s test also showed exposure.
Just after, Locke’s infant was taken from her arms, and she lost custody for several weeks.
“I don’t understand why anybody would ever do that to any family, any children, for no reason,” Locke told the court.
In multiple cases, follow-up tests later came back negative. But by then, the damage had already been done.
Murrah’s was arrested in 2019 when authorities charged her with falsifying the results of multiple drug screenings handled by A&J Lab Collections — which were then handed over to the Dale County Department of Human Resources. She also received an additional felony charge of perjury.
A Judge sentenced Murrah to 15 years for the perjury charge, as well as an additional 12 months for each of the 16 misdemeanor counts of forgery. Both were ordered to be served concurrently, which means she will most likely be in prison for the next 16 years.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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