Patricia became obsessed with Erica's brazenness. "She's such a beautiful girl," one friend says of Patricia. "She could have been a model. But she started hanging with the wrong people and drinking, smoking cigarettes and pot, and taking mollies. The crazy thing was how open they were about it."
Erica and Patricia, who started living together at Patricia's house on North 20th Court, were equally open about their consuming relationship. "You're the sister I always wanted," Patricia wrote to Erica on Facebook. "LOVE YOU TWIN."
"Your my Everything str8 up," Erica typed to Patricia, who classmates say could show flashes of jealousy involving Erica. "No matter where we end up in this fucked up world, imma always find my way baack to you & that's a promise! So that lil jealous side of you needa Go awaaay cus you should no your muthaa fucking place. I couldn't replace even if I tryed. You're the Otha half to my heart."
Soon after, a thin girl with a tortured past entered their fast-spinning orbit. Jessica lived down the block from Erica and Patricia, though several friends weren't sure with whom. At that time, it was difficult to keep up with Jessica's housing changes. Jessica would later tell the Miami Herald that her father, who's in jail, once tried to pimp her out for $200. Her mother has a violent temper and was arrested in 2002 on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (she eventually pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of battery). Jessica's grandmother, with whom the girl has lived on and off, once pleaded guilty to deserting her children. And her grandfather had been convicted of three cocaine possession felonies.
The three girls began to experiment, and their budding problems with addiction compounded one another's. "They started drinking and walking the streets," recalls Morales, who says she spent many of those nights with the girls. "They were all about getting wasted and fucked up, and they'd basically do that every weekend."
For many high school students in the neighborhoods surrounding South Broward High, weekends revolve around the pursuit of an "open house" — someplace without adults. Once there, "kids are throwing up all over the place in the kitchen," explains one high school senior. "It's about how fucked up you can get, because the more fucked up you get, the cooler you'll be in our society. People will see you getting fucked up and think you're cool, like, 'I wanna chill with that dude.' It doesn't matter whether it's money or bottles or joints or molly or the amount of weed you smoke, kids just wanna get turnt up."
Erica, Patricia, and Jessica frequently arrived at these parties together. "We called them the Hollywood Hoes," says classmate Margo Daye Trautman. "They had a phrase they used all the time in public: 'Fuck bitches. Get paid.' "
But Jessica would at times separate herself and lose control. "She'd get really drunk," recalls Evan Llatimer, 16. "She'd be popping mollies [ecstasy], Xannies [Xanax], and bars [another name for Xanax]. She'd be turning up; she'd be trying to get crazy. It was always a different group of guys around her."
The substance abuse often spilled into social media. "Bouuuttaa geeett faddedd," Patricia Montes, then 14, posted in the middle of the school day in September 2012. In the accompanying picture, she's giving a closed-mouth smile and holding a bottle of Pucker's cherry vodka. "Get soo drunk chuu forget chuu name :)," says another photo that includes Montes and a vodka bottle.
On Facebook, the girls sketched out plans they said were sure to get crazy. One time, a friend said she couldn't make it. She was busy.
"FuCkk uu," responded a skinny, bespectacled white girl who goes by "Bloowtreez" and "niggernigger13" on social media and whose Facebook profile is festooned with images of her and Patricia smoking weed, hoisting bottles, and giving the middle finger. "Me and Patricia Montes will get Drunkk; more shit for us."
"Yall prolly get drunk eryday lol," the other girl replied.
"Lmfffffaoo," chimed one high school student, whose profile presents her as the "pussy licker" at "Smoking a Blunt Right After Having Sex." It says she "studies" at the "university of getting neck, smoking weed & fucking bitches."
Erica Avery later posted song lyrics on Patricia Montes' timeline: "Smoke alotta Kush & i have alotta sex. Blowin money, stay clean $$. Shawtyy get on ya knees & do yaa job; keep this DiiiiiiiCk hard."