Last week, when Brianne King Muller’s best friend learned the Oklahoma mother of five was dead after hurling herself from a speeding car driven by her allegedly abusive husband, she wasn’t surprised.
“[Muller] told us all the time she was gonna die because of him,” Samantha Searle tells PEOPLE about her best friend hours before Muller’s interment and a day after her funeral in Oklahoma City.
“I cannot count how many times she showed up at my house in the middle of the night, beaten up,” Searle tells PEOPLE. “She would show up during the day. She hid from [her husband] and wanted to leave, but he had a hold on her because of the kids.”
Another of Brianne’s friends, Jennifer Morgan, also spoke of the ongoing abuse to KFOR.
“She told us lots of times she was going to die,” Morgan told the station. “She was afraid.”
Police say that on Tuesday morning, Muller was in the car’s front passenger seat when she opened the door and threw herself from the vehicle onto Interstate 44. Her husband, Michael Muller, was driving.
Searle says Brianne suffered a fatal head injury, which her relatives confirmed.
Michael — who according to court records has previous arrests for domestic violence and child abuse — was later arrested on an outstanding felony warrant but has not been charged in his wife’s death, which Oklahoma City authorities labeled as “suspicious.”
Michael has been freed on an unspecified amount of bail. It is not clear how he pleaded in the outstanding felony warrant case, and PEOPLE’s attempts to reach him or Brianne’s family were unsuccessful.
According to court records, Michael has pending against him one case for domestic violence and two cases for child abuse. He has pleaded not guilty in all three.
The most recent hearings scheduled for them were Friday, according to records — three days after Brianne’s death.
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‘She Did Not Deserve This’
The Mullers had two kids together, and Brianne had three other children from a previous relationship, Searle tells PEOPLE.
“He told her his family would spend every single penny they could to make sure she didn’t get those kids,” Searle says. “[Brianne] was such a good person and such a great mom — she loved her kids. She did not deserve this. Not at all.” (It was not immediately clear in whose custody the children are now.)
Searle says she learned from another of their friends that she had been taken to the hospital with serious injuries. She drove there to visit Brianne and comfort her small children.
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“Her kids are heartbroken — they want their mother back,” Searle says. “I was there when the doctor told them their mom was dead. They were just crushed.”
Searle says she was friends with Brianne for more than 13 years, and that Brianne was obsessed with music — particularly heavy metal.
“She loved music, and it didn’t really matter what kind of music it was,” Searle says. “She was into metal, bands like Tool, Korn, and Slipknot. She went to every concert she could go to. If she could get her hands on tickets, she was going. It didn’t matter who was playing. She was also a really great singer with an incredible voice.”
Searle says Brianne was also into arts and crafts and would often make the gifts she gave to her children on their birthdays. “She didn’t have a lot of money,” Searle says. “She worked full time, but the husband did not.”
But Searle says Brianne’s relationship with Michael faced escalating challenges, and that the problems in their relationship sometimes fed Michael’s alleged violence.
“Anything would set him off,” Searle alleges of Michael. “She’d be on the phone with a friend and he’d start accusing her of cheating and sleeping around. She could say something the wrong way, and that would trigger the violence.”
Searle says she’s been unable to mourn her dear friend’s death “because I am still so angry.” She says there were times when Brianne’s friends unsuccessfully tried convincing her to leave her husband.
“There’s a very thin line between love and hate,” Searle says. “[Brianne] loved him, but she hated him, too. She hated everything about him and everything he did to her, and the way the kids had to see everything — the abuse.
“She loved him, but she also despised him. It is unbelievable the amount of suffering she had to go through while she was alive. It shouldn’t be this way.”