It happens too frequently that women in the lives of public safety officers or public officials are said and believed, even without an investigation, to have killed their self.
I will be adding names to this post that I still have in my files - women who were said to have taken their own life - some were declared to be suicides - even on the same day, some never publicly identified, some proven through the courts to have been murdered, some "undetermined" forever.
All loved. All missed. All never forgotten.
[FL] St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks called 911 to report that his girlfriend, Michelle O'Connell had shot and killed herself. The initial very short news article gave no names: "The girlfriend of a St. Johns County sheriff's deputy died overnight in an apparent suicide... it was the deputy's service weapon that was involved.." Investigators were quoted in that article as having had *believed* the deputy – that he was in another part of the house at the time the gun was fired. See PBS Frontline / New York Times page with link to online documentary and related articles [[[ HERE ]]].
MELISSA MESSINEO VARRONE
[NY] Rotterdam Police Officer told police his new wife Melissa Messineo Varrone fatally shot herself - At her husband Anthony Varrone's word of what had occured, Melissa's death was ruled a suicide 1 day after it happened. Her family says she would never have left her son, the love of her life. FROM NEWS: "State police said a 26-year-old woman died Saturday in her Floral Avenue home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No charges were filed stemming from the incident... The Times Union is withholding the name of the victim as a matter of privacy..."
[IL] Over 25,000 people would like a deeper investigation into the said-suicide of Molly Young - Carbondale Police Dispatcher Richard “Richie” Minton's lovely right-handed ex-girlfriend Molly Young died by a gunshot wound to the top left side of her head in his residence after he texted her to come over around 3 a.m. Minton says Molly killed herself. There were no fingerprints on the gun, no residue on their hands, there were bruises on her body, scratches on his body, and many other concerning dynamics. I am typing this in July of 2013 and Minton, who lawyered up the morning of Molly's death, has still not cooperated with the police investigation. [See Justice For Molly Facebook group]
ANGIE KOLHAGEN [MI]
Detroit Police Officer William "Billy" "Z" Zeolla's girlfriend Angela "Angie" DeWald Kolhagen was said to have killed herself at their residence with Zeolla's service weapon. Neither of their names were reported in the news, though the event itself briefly was. "During the initial search of the property, police spent several minutes in the backyard. Sources told Fox 2 that is where the victim shot herself before the officer carried her to the front of the house. Several police vehicles responded to the scene. Neighbors said the response time was very fast." Video: [M]I Detroit officer's girlfriend fatally shot in apparent suicide
SHARI BETHEL CARTMELL
CHELSIE MARIE RAIDIGER
[AZ] Chelsie Raidiger is said to have used her deputy boyfriend's service weapon to kill herself - As stated in news: "Chelsie Raidiger, 22, took her own life almost a year ago by firing a handgun into her chest... Raidiger lived in a Vail home owned by her boyfriend, Michael Kleinberg, who was reportedly in Ohio at the time of her death. Kleinberg is an Oro Valley Police Department officer - and Raidiger used his duty weapon to end her life..."
[IL] Chicago Police Sgt. Steven Lesner says that Catherine Weiland killed herself with his service weapon while he was in her bathroom. He washed his hands before he was checked for gun shot residue and no fingerprints were taken from the weapon. His fellow officers did swab the gun for DNA but they never provided the results to the state crime lab. The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications has declined to release the recording of his 1:42 a.m. 911 call. The detective assigned to lead the investigation played on a police union sports team with Lesner. The State Police say they were never given Lesner’s clothing to test for gunshot residue and Catherine wasn’t examined to determine if there had been sexual contact.
MARLO SANDRA YNIGUEZ GALLAGHER
THE SAME DAY, ONE HOUR'S DISTANCE FROM MARLO:
[WA] Fire Marshal's wife Susan McMahon said to have committed suicide by engulfing herself in flames at her ex-husband's home - Susan was found on the ground outside of a backyard shed that was fully engulfed in flames. The residence was her ex-husband's - where she had been staying with him. Her body was covered 100% with burns. Her husband, King County Fire and Rescue [IKCFR] Deputy Fire Marshal Melvin “Mel” McMahon was said to not be home at the time assistance was called for. Mapquest shows his station is 2 minutes from home and it was his station that first responded to the fire. Susan's name was never published in the news, and her husband was referred to only as a firefighter. Within 1 day, Susan's death was ruled a suicide.
[TN] 25 year old Murfreesboro Police Officer Brittany Maxwell was found dead in her residence. She is said to have been dating a fellow officer from her department and that relationship was not going well. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called to investigate her death but details were not made known and it is handled as a suicide. Many do not believe Brittany did not kill herself, and that it's completely out of charachter for many reasons - her dispostion, strength, upcoming plans, selfless projects for the less fortunate -- but it appears the case is closed and decided. Brittany started The Christmas Tree Project to collect artificial trees for those children and families who otherwise would not have a tree.
News reports didn't mention directly that Tabitha's husband Jaimy McCree is a Detroit Police officer, but he is. EXCERPTS FROM ARTICLES: A female police officer died today after she shot herself following an argument with her husband. Tabitha McCree, 37, argued with her 44-year-old husband Jaimy at the Southwest District at 11 a.m., police officials said. McCree, who was off duty, then took her car and went to a secluded area near West Vernor Highway and St. Anne Street where she got out of the car and shot herself in the stomach. "It was a self-inflicted gunshot wound," said Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings... Jaimy McCree initially was a suspect in his wife's death, but investigators have since backed off that theory... Soon after, sources began saying that McCree, who had been taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, told police that her husband, who is also on the force, may have shot her...
POLICE OFFICER AMY RUFF
[IL] Wayne Police Officer Amy Ruff, wife of DuPage County Sheriff’s Hazardous Device Unit Commander Jim Ruff, was found dead in their DuPage County home near West Chicago. About 20 police cars came to the scene and spent close to 20 hours there. The Major Crimes Task Force of her husband's sheriff's department is the main investigating agency and told the media that Amy appears to have shot herself and released no other details. Amy's boss Wayne Police Chief Dan Callahan would not discuss any details, and the DuPage County coroner's office made no official statement. Amy, mother of two daughters, had been with the Wayne Police Department for 10 years.
[GA] Fired a week before the shooting - for steroids - ex-Cobb County Police Detective Tracey Richie told police that his wife Tianna took her own life by shooting herself in the Temple with his service revolver. He was also suspended recently for "a boisterous" fight with her and the report concluded "All accounts indicate you are exhibiting intense anger towards your wife." Tianna's family say they believe that she was murdered. “She was strong-willed. Very caring, and loved her kids, I mean, immensely loved her kids, and we don’t believe she’d do that without at least leaving some kind of note.” Family said she has no history of depression.
MEGAN OWEN BARRY
[VA] Fairfax County Sheriff Stan G. Barry's wife was found shot to death in their Centreville home, and police investigated the case as a suicide. Barry called police and reported a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The sheriff said he had stepped outside briefly and returned to find his wife lying fatally wounded inside. Megan Owen Barry was an associate at the Falls Church and Richmond offices of the Reed Smith law firm and had been working as a lobbyist at the state Capitol.
PA TAMI MAYKUTH
[NM] Albuquerque Police Department officer Levi Chavez's department-issued Glock was found next to his wife, Tera Chavez's, body and her death was considered suicide. Tera's family said they never believed she killed herself. APD Officer Chavez was indicted, stood trial and was acquitted of Tera's murder. He has yet to face a civil wrongful death trial in January of 2014. This is a complex case in that many others are accused of having some role in events before and after Tera's death.
[MI] Buena Vista Township Police Officer staged Jennifer Marie Webb's suicide, causing also the death of their unborn son Braxton James Donald Webb - Jennifer was Pregnant with Buena Vista Township Police Officer Kenneth "Ken" Bluew near-full term son when he staged Jenny's suicide at a gun range. Responding officers had some doubts so turned the case over to Michigan State Police. Bluew was charged and convicted of 1st-degree premeditated murder, assaulting a pregnant individual intentionally causing miscarriage or stillbirth of a fetus or embryo, and two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony. Bluew was given a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder plus 65 to 100 for the additional crimes.
CYNTHIA RUTH WALLACE WELCH
[LA] "Shreveport police officer [Michael Welch]'s gun believed used in suicide... Shreveport police are at the scene of a suicide on the west side of town, one in which an officer's wife died... Police spokesman Randy Patrick said the victim used a Glock and that efforts are now under way to determine whether it was her husband's service weapon. At 9:20 am there were 10 Shreveport police units on the scene..." In one of the several articles about his domestic violence incidents with another woman after his wife's death, it stated that "Welch is a widower. His wife died this past January in what was determined to be a suicide using Welch's department-issue pistol. Cynthia Welch, 30, was found in the bathtub of the couple's mobile home with a gunshot wound to the head...
POLICE OFFICER MICHELLE HAYWARD
[FL] Many who knew Tarpon Springs Florida Police Officer Michelle Hayward don't believe that she committed suicide. Michelle had reported that her ex-boyfriend, Tarpon Springs Police Sgt. John Spatz punched her in the stomach when he came to pick up his clothes. No arrests were made. Charges of misdemeanor battery were forwarded against both of them. Both were put on paid leave for about 10 days then reinstated before the prosecutor's inquiry was even completed. Days later Michelle was found dead by gunshot. Police said that it was self-inflicted.
HARRISON COUNTY JAIL COMMANDER CHRISTINE BRITTON
[MI] Lori DeKleine, wife of Holland Michigan Police Officer Ken DeKleine, said days before her death that if she comes up dead, to investigate her husband. Amid a "bitter divorce and custody battle" While being allowed to repeatedly violate Lori's protection orders against him, Ken convinced others Lori was suicidal and unstable in preparation of executing his plan. He laid in wait and ambushed her. He didn't expect a fight - that would leave her bruised and him bitten. He also made some technical miscalculations of the staged suicide scene, was charged, convicted of murder and given life in prison without parole.
[WI] Shorewood Police Officer Natalie Wagner was killed by shotgun blast in the presence of her boyfriend Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Quigley. Quigley was cleared (and then changed his name to Michael Patrick Austin). From Natalie's parents, Melinda and Robert Wagner: "The Milwaukee Police Department proclaimed Natalie's death a suicide within three days. Later, when we read their reports, we discovered that they did no fingerprinting and collected no blood evidence. The senior fingerprint expert, who was called at home to come to the scene, was turned away at the door. He later told a friend of his, 'This whole thing stinks.'"
VASHTI FORREST SEACAT
[KS] Sedgwick County Sheriff's deputy Brett Seacat claimed his wife Vashti Forrest Seacat killed herself - but was convicted - Vashti filed for divorce 16 days before her death. Her husband, claimed Vashti wrote a suicide note, set a fire in their home, and then fatally shot herself down the hall from their two young sleeping sons. Vashti's sister said that Vashti had plans for the future, loved her children and would never commit suicide. Brett was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Brett Seacat was a police trainer for the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center at the time of Vashti's murder.
JENNIFER AYDIN PICCINI
[PA] Which version of what happened to officer's wife Jennifer Aydin Piccini is true? - When I first read news about Jennifer Aydin Piccini's death, my impression was her husband was a police officer, she went to his station, he wasn't there, that she had a confrontation with "police" and then fatally shot herself. After reading everything that I could find it seems the stories don't mesh. Most news reports didn't point out that the number of police present during her fatal wounding was two, OR that one of those two officers was her husband.
PATSY TINSLEY BRADLEY
[CA] 22-year-old Orange Police Department Dispatcher Lisa Koressel died of a gunshot wound to the head in a remote area of Riverside County while said to be target practicing with her husband, 23-year-old Buena Park police officer William Koressel. Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigated it as a suicide at her husband's word, and concluded that Lisa died almost instantly. Friends and former co-workers of Lisa expressed disbelief that she had killed herself. William Koressel told investigators that Lisa Koressel's gun "had been removed from the scene, from where she was." The gun was located in their car.
AMANDA GRAHAM BARKER
[NC] Amanda Graham Barker, Dispatch Supervisor
is said to have shot herself with her Red Springs Assistant Police Chiefs' service weapon - Amanda was living with and engaged to Red Springs Asst. Police Chief Kevin Locklear, when he called 911 and reported that Amanda had shot herself in the head while he was in another room. It was his service revolver. Amanda was a dispatch supervisor for Cumberland County EMS and mother of 2. In 2009 Locklear was fired from his position as police chief of the Raeford Police Dept. after he was charged with the 2007 injurious assault of his then-wife.
[SC] What happened to Molly Wrazen? - Mt. Pleasant Narcotics Officer Justin Hembree's 911 call started like this: "I just walked in my apartment, She's got a bullet in her chest apparently, there's a hole in her chest, there's a gun beside her, and she's not breathing." ... Experts testified that Wrazen didn't have gunpowder on her hands and also that the fatal bullet was fired upward into her chest, extremely rare in suicides. Deliberating for only 40 minutes, the six-member jury determined Wrazen was a victim of homicide, but declined an option to name a suspect...
[FL]Daytona Beach Police Officer Chris(topher) Reeder said his girlfriend Cathryn Moore shot herself with his weapon while he was in the shower. Before there was an investigation, police were already saying it looks to be what Officer Reeder said it was. “A policeman whose girlfriend killed herself with his service weapon was issued a written warning for leaving his gun unsecured.” Cathryn was studying for her nursing degree at Daytona State College. Cathryn was well known throughout her life for her great love of animals, especially her beloved horse, Moonlight, and her two dogs, Brandy and Keoke.
[MA] “Our daughter, Valarie Fiorenza... Her body was found hanging from a floor joist in a basement storage room in the home of her estranged live-in boyfriend, Saugus Police Officer Paul R. Bennett. The Saugus Police Department was the investigating agency and proclaimed the death a suicide even before the autopsy. The newspapers and TV were not contacted, because the police did not want anyone to know that Valarie's body was found in the home of a police officer." Valarie's death came 3 days after filing a restraining ordder against Officer Bennett.
SANDRA KAYE GILL
[AR] Sandra Kaye Gill was murdered by her husband, Ex-Fordyce Police Chief Paul Douglas “Doug” Gill, who had tried to stage it as a suicide. Doug Gill said the he found Sandra in bed with a gunshot wound to her head. He called 911 and said that he thought his wife had killed herself. Interviews with those close to Sandra said that she had a vacation planned, was working on a graduate degree, was expecting a grandchild, had strong religious beliefs, hated guns, and had never fired a weapon. Her husband was found guilty of 1st-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
[OK] Yvonne Hart Mansfield of Altus died of a gunshot wound to the head and her husband, Jackson County sheriff's deputy James Mansfield sustained a gunshot wound in his hand. James called 911 and said his wife had shot herself. The gun used was James Mansfield's service weapon. Police said it wasn't determined who discharged the weapon. Jackson County Sheriff Morris Roberts said: "James has been a good employee." and that if the investigation clears Mansfield, he will be welcome to come back to work. Someone close to her: “We loved her dearly and miss her so much. The 2 year old child was her son, not James Mansfield's. The ER nurses told me James reeked of alcohol that night.”
POLICE OFFICER PAMELA POWELL
[KY] Jefferson County Police Officer Pamela Dawn Powell appeared to investigators to have been shot in her sleep with her own service weapon. Her husband Robert "Bobby" Powell first claimed she had committed suicide, then claimed they had a suicide pact but that he just couldn't follow through when it was his turn. Pamela Powell's sister said "He's lying. She would never commit suicide," that her sister had been planning to leave him and had already packed her daughter's clothing. Robert was sentenced to life in prison.
[NC] Long time wife of Police Chief Jesse James - chief of Burlington and then Charlotte, Eleanor James was ruled to have killed herself. She was found “shot once in the chest by a bullet that passed through her body and lodged in the mattress of her bed. Coroner Dr. W. M. Summerville ruled the death a suicide.” Chief James stepped down from his Charolette job a year earlier. He and Eleanor had two sons, 11 and 16 years old.
JAN MARIE WRIGHT
[OH] According to Columbus Police Officer Richard Wright, his wife Jan Marie Wright - a Rural Metro Ambulance driver, died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to her chest. Wright, had argued with his wife before the shooting. He says he got in his car, placed the gun in the middle, sat in the driver's seat, and that Jan entered the passenger side, grabbed the gun and was shot in the upper chest during a struggle for it. "My wife went to get my gun from me, and she shot herself..." Jan's stepfather said investigators should have given Wright a polygraph test. Wright pleaded guilty to first-degree misdemeanor negligent homicide and got 6 months in jail.
reporting hisgirlfriend, 24-year-old Amanda Medina, had just committed suicide byshooting herself. The weapon was Officer Baca's service weapon. I would love to know about her life or have a photo of her. Amanda lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
[AR] Kathy Ferguson, ex-wife of Arkansas State Trooper Danny Ferguson and then-current girlfriend of Sherwood Police Officer Bill Shelton, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the right temple in Sheldon's home. Officer Bill Shelton, who is said to have found Kathy dead, allegedly shot himself once in the head at her grave a month later.