Demri Lara Parrott Murphy (February 22nd 1969 – October 29th 1996) was the love of Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley's life.
She was born in Seattle, Washington to Dennis Dougherty and Kathleen Austin, and had three brothers, Devin, Derek and David. She attended at "Arlington" school, in Washington, and dropped at her Junior year.
Demri was passionate about many things and excelled in art and theater. She was interested in philosophy and poetry, and loved to collect vintage clothes, make decoupage, write poetry and play in front of the camera. Demri was well known and had numerous friends that she touched with her charismatic and enchanting personality. Most of her friends described her as a very sweet and beautiful person, kind, peaceful and artistic.
Rare pictures show her to be tiny, dark-featured and pretty, with long black hair and dark eyes.
It is believed that Layne met Demri sometime in the late 80's or early 1990, as she is thanked in the liner notes of “Facelift”, which was released on August 1990. She is not, as is widely believed, the woman on its cover.
Layne Staley and Demri Parrott were, according to close friends and bandmates, described as perfect for each other and the term "soulmates" has been used more than once to define their relationship. However, in the years that followed Dirt's success, Layne and Demri drifted apart. Though the two were engaged between the years of 1992-1994, the engagement broke apart sometime in '93 or '94.
Most of Layne's work on his albums after those years ("Tripod"-AIC and "Above"-Madseason) seem more miserable and self-pitying than ones preceding them. In one particular song on "Above", "Lifeless Dead", he describes of a relationship in which the man wants marriage and commitment, and the woman shies away. No one is really sure if he sung about his own problems with Demri or not. If it was an attempt to bring her back to him, it failed miserably.
Sadly, on October 29th, 1996, Demri passed away from endocarditis (an inflammation of the heart due to an unclean needle) caused by heroin overdose. She was only 27. Friends comment that after Demri died, Layne was put on suicide watch for 24 hours.
There is no memorial to this woman; no one even knows who she is. She was a woman veiled in mystery and poetic silence, and yet she succeeded in breaking the spirit of one of the most talented singers of the 20th century.
In April 5th 2002, at age 34, Layne Staley joined her in Heaven.
She has been immortalized in the song "Lifeless Dead" that Layne wrote about their relationship, and in Mad Season's "Above" album cover.
Photos 1 & 2: Beautiful Demri in 1992.
Photos 3, 4 & 5: Various Demri & Layne. Many thanks to L'Angel Jenny for the pic that they are making faces. The one that they are kissing is from 1992, at RockCndy in Seatlle during an AIDS benefit.
Photos 5, 6 & 7: Courtesy of Jack Plasky.
Photos 8 & 9: Courtesy of Megan Brooks and Xana LaFuente.
Photos 10, 11, 12 & 13: Collage of Demri and Layne pics. Courtesy of Innex.
Photos 14 & 15: Seattle October 18th 1993 - Photoshot of Demri and friend Rosheen Raugi at Lowe Queen Anne in Seattle (WA) on Flickr, by Demri's friend Sooopy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sooopy/sets/72157609401584823/with/3123979321/)
Photos 16, 17, 18 & 19: Demri by Xana in 1990; Demri and Fabiola in 1992; and Demri having fun, courtesy of L'Angel Jenny.
Photos 20 & 21: Demri by Pony Maurice, 1991.
Photo 22: Demri and Layne, artwork, courtesy of Innex.