Custom Search

Monday, September 30, 2013

[U.S.] Too Many Said-Suicides of Law Enforcement Officer's wives, girlfriends, dates, and ex's


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.

MICHELLE O'CONNELL
[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..."

MOLLY YOUNG
[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 

CARLI ANNE BITTERMAN DENNIS
[PA] Dallas Township Police Officer Jeffrey Dennis said he didn't kill his wife Carli - that Carli had shot herself. Carli's best friend said Jeff Dennis told her that Carli died because of what she did to him. Another witness said Dennis threatened to shoot her and make it look like she did it. Jeff Dennis was convicted. He can't possibly understand whose life he stole.[Photo is of Carli and her mother]

SHARI BETHEL CARTMELL
[TN] Nashville Police Officer Deon Cartmell called 911 to report that his wife Shari Bethel Cartmell was shot. Officer Cartmell first said that Shari shot herself, that he didn't do it, but he ended up giving conflicting accounts about what occurred. He was convicted for 2nd degree murder. Video: [TN] Officer Cartmell Reports Wife Shari's Death - "...My sister was not suicidal..."

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..."

CATHERINE WEILAND
[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
[WA] Tenino Police Chief  Sean Gallagher’s wife Marlo died of a shotgun blast to the head at their home in Lacey. Investigators quickly concluded that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted and the police lieutenant spokesman told the media that he doesn’t know who owns the shotgun that killed Marlo. She and her husband were the only people in the home at the time of her death. Sean immediately moved in with his Yelm Police officer girlfriend - who was also Marlo's friend - and they have since married. 

THE SAME DAY, ONE HOUR'S DISTANCE FROM MARLO:


SUSAN MCMAHON
[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.

BRITTANY MAXWELL 
[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.

GEORGIA SKANDON 
1910
[Susanville, CA] "A coroner's jury returned a verdict today to the effect that Mrs. Georgia Skadon, wife of Under Sheriff Skadon, committed suicide. Mrs. Skadon's body was found on a bed Saturday with a rope about her neck. Death was caused by strangulation." Date of death 4 June 1910 [San Francisco Call 7 June 1910]

DETROIT POLICE OFFICER TABITHA MCCREE
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.

TIANNA RICHIE
[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 
Tami L. McNeese Maykuth, wife of Ambridge Pennsylvania police officer Joseph Maykuth, was said to have been found dead by her husband in the family van parked outside of their home, and her death was ruled by the coroner to be a suicide - shooting herself in the chest. Her husband Joseph, weapons instructor and armorer for Ambridge Police, took his own life 3 months later by shooting himself also in the chest and also in a vehicle - leaving a note never made public. They are survived by 3 children.

NYPD OFFICER SONIA GARCIA
[NYPD] Sgt. Alexis Chaparro was the only one in the house when fiance' Officer Sonia Garcia was fatally shot, but he claimed he didn't do it. "He said he heard a shot and found her in the bedroom.” Even though responding officers stated at the scene that they didn't believe it was a suicide, Chaparro wasn't charged until six months later. He pleaded down to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to a mere 10 years with credit for time served. Sonia is the mother of two beautiful daughters.

TERA CHAVEZ 
[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.

JENNIFER MARIE WEBB AND UNBORN BRAXTON 
[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
[IN] Believing Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy John Britton when he tells 911: "My wife shot herself..." - Harrison County Indiana Sheriff's Deputy John Britton called 911 to say that his wife, Harrison County Jail Commander Christine Britton, had shot herself. He said they were arguing, she had threatened to kill herself, he said he told her to go ahead and do it and then left his weapon on the bed. There is only his side of the story because the dead can't testify and Deputy Britton was was found guilty only of assisting a suicide. Video: [IN] Deputy Britton 911 call "My wife shot herself..."

LORI MEULMAN DEKLEINE
[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.

NATALIE WAGNER
[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.

[Everyone on this page is so much more than a victim of suicide or murder; they are loved, and missed.]

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
is said to have committed suicide but few believe it. Ex Woodfin NC Police Chief Pete Bradley was convicted in March 2007 of assaulting his wife Patsy in their Biltmore Forest home, about a month before Patsy Bradley died of what officials assume, but haven't officially ruled, was suicide. At the assault trial prosecutors said Pete Bradley struck Patsy in the head leaving a lump the size of a golf ball. Officers said they found Patsy Bradley that day scared and crying in her car at a neighbor's house.

LISA KORESSEL
[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.


MOLLY WRAZEN
[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...

CATHRYN MOORE
[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.


LYNDA JEAN CONRAD WALKER 
[PA] Police Sgt Walker's wife Lynda did NOT commit suicide 30 years ago. Now he gets short jail term. Montrose Pennsylvania Police Sgt. John David Walker was arrested in 2012 for the 1983 murder of his wife Lynda Jean Conrad Walker. Lynda's death had been ruled a suicide even before her autopsy was performed. In 2011 the grand jury had Lynda Walker’s body exhumed, she was re-examined, and found to have died by homicide. Sgt. Walker was allowed a plea deal in 2014, escaping trial and a possible life sentence, pleading "no contest" to voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in a county jail. Information from Sgt. Walker's next wife helped police reopen the case. She said Walker told her that investigating police had no evidence BECAUSE he obtained the evidence police seized from the scene many years ago... DOD Nov. 13, 1983.

VALARIE FIORENZA
[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.

KAREN FLORES 
[AZ] PimaCounty Sheriff's Deputy Luis Lopez called in to authorities to report his girlfriend Karen Flores had killed herselfshooting herself in the chest with his service weapon. Tucson Police investigated it initially as suspicious, and Lopez was terminated one day after the alleged suicide - for failing to successfully complete his probationary period. Lopez and Flores were involved in a fight before the shooting, and at the scene Lopez was reportedly uncooperative with deputies when asked where the gun was. His father had to direct police to the gun in a back room. [That's it.]

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.

YVONNE MANSFIELD  
[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.

[Not forgotten] ELEANOR JAMES
[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.

AMANDA MEDINA
[NM] 24-year-old Albuquerque Police officer Frank Baca Jr. called 911 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.

KATHY FERGUSON
[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. 
[unsolved, unresolved, faked usur, police, officer involved, domestic violence, oidv, intimate partner violence, ipv, abuse, law enforcement, public safety, lethal, fatality, arkansas, arizona, california, florida, georgia, illinois, indiana, kansas, kentucky, louisiana, massachusetts, michigan, new mexico, new york, north carolina, oklahoma, pennsylvania, south carolina, tennessee, virginia, washington, wisconsin state politics, united states, attorney general, special class of crime, perpetrator, cop on cop, nypd, nyc, alleged suicide, said suicide, Trooper Danny Ferguson was co-defendant with President Bill Clinton insexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Corbin Jones]

[IL] Chicago police Officer Richard Rizzo arrested 4 times on domestics


Chicago police Officer Richard Rizzo is still on the payroll

THE WATCHDOGS: Arrested again and again — but still a Chicago cop
Chicago Sun Times:

[Excerpts] Over the past seven years, Chicago police Officer Richard A. Rizzo has been arrested four times by fellow members of his department. The charges included domestic battery, child endangerment and aggravated assault with a gun.

Each time, officers booked Rizzo and took his mugshot. Each time, prosecutors filed criminal charges against him.

And each time, prosecutors ended up dropping the charges against the 15-year police veteran...

Rizzo, 44, is still a member of the department, making $80,724 a year, records show.

But the department says Rizzo was relieved of his police powers on June 13 — six days after the Chicago Sun-Times asked about his status...

Sept. 7, 2005. Rizzo was charged with domestic battery after his live-in girlfriend accused him of pulling her out of his car, dragging her in to their apartment and slamming her against the floor of their bedroom. “Victim had numerous bruises and lacerations about the body,” the police report said.

Five years later, on Dec. 30, 2010, Rizzo was arrested for aggravated assault with a gun and domestic battery after a fight with a 40-year-old man and the man’s 18-year-old son. Both of them lived with Rizzo in a Garfield Ridge bungalow. The arresting officers said Rizzo punched the older man, grabbed the gun, put the muzzle in the man’s eye and told him, “How about I shoot you in the face?”

A month later, on Jan. 31, 2011, Rizzo was arrested again, this time for domestic battery, after officers said he grabbed his girlfriend “by her throat and began to strangle her.” The arresting officers said she broke away and locked herself in a bedroom. They said Rizzo kicked in the door just before they arrived.

The officers “photographed alleged injuries to victim and damage to the bedroom door,” and the incident was referred to the city’s Independent Police Review Authority for investigation...

On Dec. 6, 2011, the police arrested Rizzo for child endangerment, accusing him of leaving his 8-year-old son home alone for two to three hours. When police interviewed Rizzo a week later, they wrote afterward, he “did not inquire as to the well-being of [his son], however asked several times how this incident would impact his job with the Chicago Police Department.”... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety repeat hx teflon illinois state politics]

Sunday, September 29, 2013

[FL] I hope learning about Cynthia Cusano Rodriguez's death can save lives.

In hindsight the dangers and warnings are all so clear. My prayer is that even one person will gain the foresight from reading about Cynthia to save their own life or to help someone that they know who may be in danger or crisis.

Never forgetting.

On September 29, 1999 Cynthia was the victim in her estranged husband's murder-suicide.

...[Fort Lauderdale police officer] Daniel Alberto Rodriguez, coaxed his estranged wife to take the trip north, saying he was worried about problems at work and did not want to be alone. He needed someone to talk to, so Cynthia went against her family's wishes... Cynthia said she had to join her husband because he needed her...

...Cynthia Rodriguez refused to call the police and report her husband's behavior even after her mother suggested it... "She said he was already under investigation for something else and she didn't want him to get fired"... Rodriguez had been the subject last year of a departmental inquiry for threatening another woman with a gun...

...[Jim C. said] Danny admitted to me and my wife that he put his gun to [a different woman's] head and threatened to kill her... [Jim C.] said he called the Sun-Sentinel after hearing from friends in Fort Lauderdale about the murder-suicide, "because if they had done the right thing a year ago, maybe this situation wouldn't have happened"...

...Before Rodriguez was hired in Fort Lauderdale, he had been denied jobs at six other police agencies and had told an officer who pulled him over in Miami-Dade County that he, too, was an officer, even though he wasn't...

...When his temper flared because she wanted to have lunch with a girlfriend, it was irritating. But when he penned another love note and slipped it over the bar, it was touching...

...But the family's attorney, Douglas L. Bates, said Rodriguez's record should have alerted the department to potential trouble... Bates said the department knew Rodriguez had been involved in trouble while working off-duty security jobs, and that in 1991, before being hired, he was pulled over by Metro-Dade police and produced a fake Fort Lauderdale police badge...


...[Cindy] drove a big black GMC pickup truck with a silver dolphin emblem on the rear window. She'd been a horseback rider since she was a toddler and doted on her two Siberian huskies. When she decided to be a pilot, she simply walked into Ross Aviation at North Perry Airport and said: "What do I have to do to learn how to fly?"...

OFFICER KILLS WIFE, SELF NEAR DISNEY WORLD
Sun Sentinel
Kathy Bushouse, Vanessa Bauza
Sep 30, 1999
[Excerpts] A newly married Fort Lauderdale police officer killed himself and his wife Wednesday in what detectives are calling a murder-suicide in a motel room near Walt Disney World. Osceola County sheriff's detectives were investigating the deaths of Daniel Rodriguez, 30, and his wife, Cynthia, 23... The couple, who married in August, checked in on Tuesday... Fort Lauderdale homicide detectives were on their way to Osceola County on Wednesday night to assist with the investigation into the Rodriguezes' deaths... The department's chaplain was with Rodriguez's family Wednesday night...[Full article here]

OFFICER'S WIFE CRIED OUT TOO LATE: Murder-Suicide Followed Call Home
Sun Sentinel
Terri Somers and Ardy Friedberg
Oct 1, 1999. pg. 1.B
[Excerpts] A sobbing Cynthia Cusano Rodriguez called her mother at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday from a Kissimmee motel room, pleading for someone to come pick her up so she could flee her abusive husband. Ten minutes later, the 23-year-old woman's father and younger sister were on the highway headed north to get her. They already were too late. Just minutes after hanging up the telephone, Rodriguez was shot in the head and killed by her husband, a Fort Lauderdale police officer, who then killed himself... The officer, Daniel Alberto Rodriguez, coaxed his estranged wife to take the trip north, saying he was worried about problems at work and did not want to be alone. He needed someone to talk to, so Cynthia went against her family's wishes... Cynthia said she had to join her husband because he needed her... "She was a very loving, compassionate person. She had so much to offer, and he just snuffed her life out," [Mom] Marie Cusano said. "He didn't know how many lives he was destroying when he took her away"...  They had plans for a big wedding in February, they said. But on a trip to Las Vegas five weeks ago, the couple were wed. She came home with bruises on her arms and legs from that trip, Marie Cusano said. And after a lot of prodding by her parents, Cynthia broke down and confessed that her new husband was abusive... "She moved into his house before they were married and moved out 10 days after. Then she moved back in two weeks later and moved back out again the night everyone was preparing for the hurricane," she said. Cynthia had returned to live with her parents... Cynthia Rodriguez refused to call the police and report her husband's behavior even after her mother suggested it... "She said he was already under investigation for something else and she didn't want him to get fired"... Rodriguez had been the subject last year of a departmental inquiry for threatening another woman with a gun... [Full article here]

`WE NEVER SAW THIS COMING': Detective Says Murder-Suicide By Officer Surprises Police
Sun Sentinel
Ardy Friedberg
Oct 2, 1999
[Excerpts] No one on the force, even those who worked directly with Officer Daniel Alberto Rodriguez, had any reason to think he was capable of murder, Fort Lauderdale police said on Friday. But a 1998 complaint in Rodriguez's personnel file involving a gun might have served as a warning... The department conducts psychological testing on all job candidates, [department spokesman Detective Mike] Reed said. But the complaint filed with Fort Lauderdale police in December 1998 by an unidentified woman said she was warned by a mutual friend that Rodriguez had put a gun to a woman's head while on a visit to New York and threatened her life. The complainant said she felt Rodriguez's actions needed to be brought to the department's attention. The report said the woman did not know whether the story was true but "feared that if it was true and something violent were to occur in the future, she would feel responsible" for not advising authorities. When asked by his supervisor about the gun allegation, Rodriguez, who joined the department as a patrol officer in July 1996, denied it had occurred, the report said. No formal complaint was ever filed against Rodriguez, and the incident was ruled unfounded... [Longtime friend of Rodriguez, Jim C.] said Rodriguez, who was divorced in 1997, was visiting him on Long Island, N.Y., when he made a gun threat... [Jim C.] said Rodriguez came to New York in December 1997 with a woman he introduced as his fiancee. "During the time they were in my house, she was upset and angry... She told me and my wife that Danny had put his service revolver to her head and threatened to kill her before taking the trip. She wanted to leave him and be done with him. Danny admitted to me and my wife that he put his gun to her head and threatened to kill her. Up to that point, I had never seen that side of him, and it was scary as hell. I told him he had to see somebody. I said it wasn't right. I told him not to hurt her, not to touch her." [Jim C.] said he called the Sun-Sentinel after hearing from friends in Fort Lauderdale about the murder-suicide, "because if they had done the right thing a year ago, maybe this situation wouldn't have happened"... [Full article here]

FAMILY TO SUE OVER DEATH: Attorney Tells Lauderdale City Not Careful In Giving Officer Gun, Parents Say
Sun Sentinel
SHANNON O'BOYE
Dec 18, 1999
[Excerpts] The family of a 23-year-old woman murdered by a Fort Lauderdale police officer in October gave notice Thursday that they intend to sue the city for negligence and possibly for violating the woman's civil rights, the family's attorney said. Cynthia Diane Cusano-Rodriguez's death could have been prevented if police department officials had recognized her husband's "dangerous propensity" and taken away his badge and his gun, her parents, John and Marie Cusano, of Davie, contend. Their letter says the city was negligent in hiring, training, and supervising Officer Daniel Alberto Rodriguez, a three-year veteran... Mayor Jim Naugle said he did not see how the city was negligent. "It didn't happen in Fort Lauderdale," he said Friday. "It was an employee of ours that did something outside of our city"... But the family's attorney, Douglas L. Bates, said Rodriguez's record should have alerted the department to potential trouble... Bates said the department knew Rodriguez had been involved in trouble while working off-duty security jobs, and that in 1991, before being hired, he was pulled over by Metro-Dade police and produced a fake Fort Lauderdale police badge. "It's the family's position that had they been more careful who they hired and gave a gun to, this incident may not have happened"... [Full article here]

A LOVE STORY IN BLOOM: Dangerous Attraction soon gives rise to uneasy feelings
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Jonathon King
Sunday, July 2, 2000
[Excerpts] ...Danny Rodriguez was good at wooing Cindy Cusano. He did all the right things... More than a year before he met Cindy, the sister of Danny's live-in girlfriend, Lisa Phillips, received a terrifying phone call. For 45 minutes, Lauri Barefoot listened to her sister sob and scream during a fight with Rodriguez. The call was made from their apartment, and Phillips had inadvertently left the phone off the hook... With the help of her sister, Phillips ended her relationship with Danny in April 1999. When he kept calling and paging her and blocked her car in the police department lot, Phillips finally complained to a sergeant, who gave her a tape recorder to record harassing calls. But formally, the troubles were not documented. Formally, Rodriguez received glowing evaluations... "When she first introduced him, I remember thinking, he's a police officer. I'll never have to worry about anyone hurting my daughter," says John Cusano, Cindy's father. "It lulled us into this sense of security." [See the indepth article "A Love Story"]

PROMISES MADE, PROMISES BROKEN: Danny spun dreams of a perfect future. For cindy, the allure of possibilities blurred the signs of danger
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Jonathon King
Monday, July 3, 2000
To love and cherish. In joy and in sorrow. For the rest of our lives... They made their promises. And that night he broke them. Five days after her wedding, Cindy Cusano came home from her honeymoon with a bruised body and a wounded spirit, and it wasn't enough to get her out... "From this point on, we're going to be happy"... [Cindy] drove a big black GMC pickup truck with a silver dolphin emblem on the rear window. She'd been a horseback rider since she was a toddler and doted on her two Siberian huskies. When she decided to be a pilot, she simply walked into Ross Aviation at North Perry Airport and said: "What do I have to do to learn how to fly?" But by spring 1999, when she started dating Danny, her friends say she was a woman looking for commitment... When Danny parked his patrol car across the street from the Quarterdeck and called every time she talked too long with a male customer, it was grating. But when they discussed buying a house and several acres for her horses in Palm Beach County, it was promising. When his temper flared because she wanted to have lunch with a girlfriend, it was irritating. But when he penned another love note and slipped it over the bar, it was touching. When he tossed the chair across their apartment, it was scary. But when he let her run driver's license checks for him on his patrol car computer, it was exciting... The wedding date was set for the following February. But on Aug. 5, 10 minutes before they boarded a flight for a 10-day vacation in Las Vegas, Cindy and Danny told her parents they were getting married the next day. Her parents were stunned and confused. When Marie Cusano called the next day to wish them luck and happiness, Danny refused to let her speak to her daughter. When she begged him to let her tell Cindy she loved her on her wedding day, he hung up on her... [See the indepth article: "PROMISES MADE, PROMISES BROKEN":.]

THE FINAL CHAPTER OF LOVE GONE WRONG
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Jonathon King
Tuesday, July 4, 2000
[Excerpts] ...For seven months, Cindy Cusano, a popular bartender, and Danny Rodriguez, a well-liked but troubled Fort Lauderdale police officer, rode a deteriorating relationship... "It all happened so fast" is a phrase often repeated by friends of Cindy and Danny... He told her he loved her on their first weekend together... They got engaged two months after their first date. The next day he started backhanding her. They eloped to Las Vegas despite elaborate wedding plans. She was battered on her honeymoon. The violence between them was private at first, but when they returned from their wedding, Danny was openly hostile toward his bride. And Cindy began confiding in close friends: "He doesn't beat the crap out of me, but he does hit me"... On Aug. 15, Danny, dressed in his Fort Lauderdale police uniform, smacked Cindy in the mouth while she was working the bar... At 2 a.m., she called her best friend. Dabbing at her split and swollen lip, she asked Jennifer Shusky to come and get her. "Please take me home. I'm not going to take this anymore." With the help of her parents, her brother and her friends, Cindy moved out of the apartment she had shared with Danny for less than two months. At 3 a.m., Danny was watching her furniture being carried out, pleading for Cindy to change her mind. His parents also arrived to try to help calm the situation and to persuade the Cusano family not to report their son... Cindy agreed to go with Danny to see a marriage counselor... By the end of the month, she'd moved back into his apartment... On Sept. 29, Cindy called her parents from a motel room in Kissimmee. She was crying in a way her parents had never heard before. "She was hysterical. She was asking us to come and get her," Marie Cusano says...Marie tried to call Cindy back to tell her they were on their way. When she couldn't get an answer, she called the motel and asked for someone to check on her daughter in Room 133... When deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office arrived, they had to push Danny's body aside to get through the door... Cindy was propped up on the couch, her arms holding the pillow. She was wearing jeans and her Pimm's volleyball T-shirt. Her wedding rings were on her left hand. The pillow was stained on the outside with gunshot residue. Danny had killed her with a single shot to the right temple. Outside, detectives found a photograph of the couple, torn in half and left on the ground near the door of his Pontiac Grand Am... The funeral procession strung out for miles to a spot at Hollywood Memorial Gardens where Cindy's mother weeps today, eight months later, still asking why. Marie Cusano comes here every day, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for three. She brushes stray grass clippings from a marker that reads: "Fly high sweet angel. We all love you Cindy." She freshens pink carnations. She cannot bear to remove the tiny toys her grandson left on the grave, "so Aunt Cindy would have something to play with in heaven." "It's not like losing a child to an accident, or even an illness," she says. "The thing that haunts me most is that she died unhappy and afraid." For weeks after the burial, Marie wandered the cemetery grounds, inspecting other fresh sites, fearful that Danny Rodriguez had been buried nearby. "I know it was irrational. But I couldn't get the idea out of my head, that he was still harassing her, that he was still somewhere near," she says, bending to straighten a vase. Cindy's father watches from a soft distance, the weight of his grief, the pain he sees in his wife's eyes, makes it too hard to visit for long. "We just didn't know what to look for," says John Cusano. "We weren't trained. We knew zero about what to look for. Maybe someone else will see. Maybe." [See the indepth article HERE]

LEARN FROM THIS TRAGEDY
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
21 July 2000
Re your July 2 article about Cindy Cusano [who was murdered in an Orlando hotel by her husband]: I worked with Cindy a number of years ago at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale and a sweeter, more self- possessed young woman I have rarely known. I would never have guessed her to fall victim to such a tragedy even though I have known many women in just such relationships. For those of us standing on the sidelines, the behavior of the abusers is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. What are the magic words to make my women friends see what is happening before it is too late? Girls, take a good look at him and ask yourself, "Is this love?" Cindy Cusano would always help a friend in need. Let her help you now... [Full article here]

FAMILY SUES LAUDERDALE OVER SLAYING NEWLYWED COP UNFIT FOR POLICE WORK, SUIT SAYS;
[Broward Metro Edition]
Sun Sentinel. pg. 1.B
Brittany Wallman
Aug 17, 2000
[Excerpts] ...The parents of the young woman who was killed, Cynthia Cusano- Rodriguez, sued the city of Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, saying the police department should have picked up on those cues and done something about them. John and Marie Cusano, of Davie, filed the suit in Broward County Circuit Court, saying Rodriguez, who was married to their daughter for just two months before he killed her, was unfit for police work and should not have been hired... "We want her back, but that can't happen," said Marie Cusano. "This never should have happened. Because of the things we found out afterwards, we knew this shouldn't have happened. Because she's not here to fight for herself, we have to fight for her - that's what her dad said. And that's what we're trying to do." Before the Sept. 29 killing, Rodriguez, 30, had just been told he was the focus of an internal affairs investigation into falsified time records for off-duty details. The family is seeking the value of lost support and services, medical or funeral expenses, mental pain and suffering and the salary and benefits that their daughter, 23, would have gotten had she lived a normal life expectancy... Before Rodriguez was hired in Fort Lauderdale, he had been denied jobs at six other police agencies and had told an officer who pulled him over in Miami-Dade County that he, too, was an officer, even though he wasn't... According to the lawsuit, there was a report that Rodriguez had put a gun to another woman's head and threatened her life; drank alcohol while working a special detail; used excessive force during arrests; and beat Cusano-Rodriguez while he was working a special detail and she was bartending at the Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale. Other reports said he stalked a former girlfriend and abused his police powers while off duty. But instead of taking action, "The supervisors preferred to allow a psychologically troubled officer to keep and use his gun," the lawsuit says... [Full article here]

A `SHELTERED, HORRIBLE WAY TO LIVE' SOCIAL WORKERS, POLICE OFFICERS, AND FRIENDS AND RELATIVES OF DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS PAY TRIBUTE AT AN ANNUAL SERVICE
South Florida Sun - Sentinel
Andreas Tzortzis
Oct 27, 2000. pg. 6.B
[Excerpts] ...John Cusano's pain keeps him from visiting his daughter's grave very often. But he's learned that talking about his family's failure to notice the signs of abuse might be the only way to save others. "We have people who say, `Why do you keep digging it up, why do you keep thrashing with it?'" he said, before the memorial began. "But if we've saved one person, it's worth it." [Full article here]

MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNEY TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EVENT HONORS WOMAN KILLED BY HUSBAND
South Florida Sun - Sentinel
By Jonathon King
Jan 23, 2001. pg. 1.B
[Excerpts] There is no such thing as closure, says the mother who lost her daughter 16 months ago to the worst kind of domestic violence. But if you can nudge the world to take notice, move it a little to understand the plague of domestic abuse, maybe you can build a green spot in the pain. "Not a day goes by that I don't miss her and cry for her and hurt for her," says Marie Cusano, the mother of 23-year-old Cindy Cusano who was killed in 1999 by her husband. "But we need to try and see something good comes from her death. Maybe we can help some other girl out there. Maybe we can warn some other family." Cindy Cusano's death left her family and many friends heartbroken and determined to raise awareness about domestic violence, its warnings and symptoms. To that end, they began the annual Cindy Cusano Memorial Pro-Am Golf Tournament... Cusano's sister, Donna Wilkins, is an LPGA pro, and she and about 20 other members of the professional tour have committed their time to the tournament in her sister's name... "We're trying to keep her memory alive, trying to make something good out of a terrible situation the best way we know how," said Wilkins... [Full article here]

HUSBAND, COP AND ENEMY
CBS
By Tatiana Morales
July 21, 2003
[Excerpts] Domestic violence is a widespread problem that can be even more intense when the abuser is a cop. Last spring, the police chief in Tacoma, Wash., killed his wife, then himself... "I still have my voice. There's a lot of women out there who don't anymore," says Hope. She survived the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, a police officer. Cindy Cusano did not... John Cusano, father of the victim says, “You're supposed to be protective of your children. But I respected his position, and that was a mistake.” The Florida case attracted nowhere near the publicity of this year's murder-suicide in Tacoma, Wash., that involved chief of police David Brame. He shot his wife Crystal in front of their children... When asked if she has any idea of how many Crystal Brames there may be out there, Anne O'Dell, a retired San Diego Police sergeant says, "There are so many women being battered by police officers." The detective notes for too long, police departments have ignored the problem of domestic abuse within the ranks... She speaks from experience. In 1990, O'Dell became the domestic violence coordinator for the San Diego Police department... Both Crystal's husband David Brame, and Cindy's husband Danny Rodriguez had allegations of assault against women in their police files. But those warning signs were ignored... Cindy, like Crystal, had finally gotten the courage to leave, a dangerous time in any domestic violence situation. But advocates say, especially so, when the abuser is an officer: because the charge of abuse can cost him his badge and his gun. O'Dell explains, “If he loses his gun, he can't be a cop anymore so the danger, sky high for her now”... It is unlikely for an officer to report his partner. O'Dell says, “He'd be labeled a snitch." She adds it goes deeper. There's the loyalty factor. "So we're really ready to believe him when he says, 'She's a bitch. She's making life miserable for me,'" O’Dell says. Blame the victim; Tacoma Chief Brame had accused Crystal of violence. Even bruises can be blamed on the injured... In Tacoma, Crystal Brame's parents grieve over photos of their daughter. In Florida, Cindy's parents John and Marie Cusano remember the last chilling conversation with their daughter. Marie Cusano says, “I said, 'If he won't leave you alone, call the police.' She said, 'I can't'”... As the victim of a police officer, your situation is very different than that of other victims of domestic violence. You may be afraid to... [Full article here]

COPS OFTEN WON'T ARREST COLLEAGUES, EXPERTS SAY
South Florida Sun - Sentinel
Vicky Agnew
Oct 31, 2003. pg. 1.B
[Excerpts] The apparent mishandling by Davie police officers of a domestic violence call at a fellow officer's house sheds light on conflicts some officers face when responding to calls involving other officers... The investigation involves two officers who responded to a 911 hang-up call at a fellow officer's home in Davie, during which the officer's wife, a Broward Sheriff's dispatcher, told them her husband had abused her. Neither officer filed a report, and later admitted they didn't want to implicate a fellow officer, a violation of Davie police regulations. That's a common attitude, according to law enforcement domestic violence experts, who say the inclination to protect other officers stems from loyalty and fear of suffering professional retaliation... A chilling example of the danger is the case of Cindy Cusano, a popular Fort Lauderdale bartender and private pilot, killed in 1999 by her husband, Fort Lauderdale police officer Danny Rodriguez... The murder-suicide ended an abusive seven-month relationship that had quickly spiraled out of control. Although a report claiming that Rodriquez put a gun to a previous girlfriend's head while threatening her was made to Fort Lauderdale police, he was still on active duty when he killed Cusano. The girlfriend in that report also worked for the police department as a community service aide... But until departments penalize officers for protecting other officers, violations will continue, said Jan Russell, a domestic violence victim advocate with the Chicago Police Department. Russell helped write a policy adopted by the department in 1994 that requires officers responding to calls involving other officers to immediately summon to the scene a supervisor who outranks the implicated officer... [Full article here]


PARENTS LOSE LAWSUIT OVER MURDERED DAUGHTER
South Florida Sun - Sentinel
Brittany Wallman
May 28, 2005. pg. 3.B
[Excerpt] The parents of a young woman murdered by her husband, a Fort Lauderdale police officer, failed in their legal bid to hold the city responsible. Broward Circuit Court Judge Victor Tobin issued a summary judgment in favor of the city this week, dismissing the couple's argument that the city should have noticed that Officer Daniel Alberto Rodriguez had violent tendencies. John and Marie Cusano of Davie sued the city on grounds of negligence in hiring, training and supervising their son-in-law... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities hx repeat murder suicide florida state politics]