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  1. #1
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    Question LA - Belle Chasse - WhtMale, 16-17, Hanging Using Bedsheet, Feb'75

    I ran across this while researching something else.

    On Valentine's Day in 1975, the body of a 16-17 year old white male was found in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. He had committed suicide by hanging himself from a persimmon tree using a bedsheet. He was wearing a maroon and yellow knit shirt, blue trousers and unmatched socks. He was not wearing shoes. A jar laying against the tree trunk was filled with note paper.

    He left a suicide note, addressed to "mom and dad" which read in part: "When you stop growing you are dead. I stopped growing long ago. I never did develop into a real person and I cannot tolerate the false and empty existence I have created".

    He included this notation for the police who would eventually find him: "You are bound to preserve domestic peace and order. If you pursue who I was (and spend hundreds of dollars) you will accomplish little. There are no legal consequences of my death or any kind of entanglements. All that can happen is that you will shatter the domestic peace and order of two innocent lives. Do not deprive them of the hope that their 'missing' son will return . . .Let me be, let it be as if I wasn't ever here. Simply cremate me as John Doe."

    He goes on to say "It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued."

    In a section entitled "why you should not feel responsible", the young man wrote: "I was born with a definite pervasive melancholy . . .what frustrated me most in the last year was that I had built no ties to family or friends. There was nothing of lasting worth and value. I led a detached existence and I was a parody of a person - literally and figuratively. I didn't tell jokes - I was a joke".

    The suicide note is quite lengthy, and cites the writings of Emile Durkheim, a philosopher and psychologist. The young man said Durkheim called suicide "an inner direction of homicidal feelings against someone else."

    He ends the note by saying "I am no longer interested in the world and know that it is not interested in me. When you stop growing you are dead. I stopped growing a long time ago."

    On a separate scrap of paper, he wrote this note to his parents: "You have provided me with excellent advantages and privileges and experiences. I am extremely grateful for all of your sacrifices, time and support. I am now repaying you with an arrogant act. In this light, I do see it as criminal. I can only hope that you see that it was me who caused it."

    This young man's description and fingerprints were circulated to police throughout the U.S., but he was not identified as of March 1975. I am hoping by putting this here on the cold case thread, it might trigger someone's memory about a missing young man.

    This "John Doe" seemed to be intelligent and was extremely philosophical for a teenage boy. He refers to the advantages and privileges his parents provided, which could mean he was from a well-to-do family. There was no car found in the area, so he must have taken the bus or hitchiked to the wooded area where he ended his life.

    If you are interested, the complete story is in the March 27, 1975 Post-Crescent, Appleton-Neenah-Menosha, Wisconsin.

    If anyone knows anything about this young man, I'd love to hear it.
    Last edited by CarlK90245; 03-21-2013 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Corrected dates - 1957 dates revised to 1975



  2. #2
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    How sad . this boy was certainly well educated to compose such a letter.there is a family out there who has had no closure for their son.I wonder what happened to him when he says he stopped growing.Nearly 50 years and still not ID'd.

    Very strange statement !!
    (It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued.")


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  4. #3
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    How sad this young man took his own life. He seemed so brilliant and could have a lot to offer the world. But I'm sure you all know the saying there is a thin line between genious and madness. He must have come from a well to do family I think. The way he wrote, just doesn't seem like an ordinary public school education for that day. What a mystery. This is one case I want to research. They describe his clothing, I wonder if was upscale clothier, any tags in the clothes to track back to a store, manufacturer? I think he was from a different area and purposes chose to commit suicide away from his home. Going to read up more on this.


  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussiegran
    How sad . this boy was certainly well educated to compose such a letter.there is a family out there who has had no closure for their son.I wonder what happened to him when he says he stopped growing.Nearly 50 years and still not ID'd.

    Very strange statement !!
    (It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued.")
    I find this all incredibly sad. The suicide note is so complex for a teenaged boy to write. This is obviously something he spent time composing, certainly not a "goodbye cruel world" quickly jotted message.

    One thing that struck me is his comments about feeling that he had built no ties to family or friends. That sounds almost sociopathic, although most sociopathic behavior manifests itself at age 18 or later. His comment to his parents to "ask thoroughly what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone" strikes me as an odd thing to tell your parents.

    I'm not the best at "reading between the lines", but I get the feeling from his note that the young man may have done something terrible, and afterwards took a look at himself and saw no way out except suicide. He certainly paints a bleak picture of himself, for whatever reason.


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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    I find this all incredibly sad. The suicide note is so complex for a teenaged boy to write. This is obviously something he spent time composing, certainly not a "goodbye cruel world" quickly jotted message.

    One thing that struck me is his comments about feeling that he had built no ties to family or friends. That sounds almost sociopathic, although most sociopathic behavior manifests itself at age 18 or later. His comment to his parents to "ask thoroughly what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone" strikes me as an odd thing to tell your parents.

    I'm not the best at "reading between the lines", but I get the feeling from his note that the young man may have done something terrible, and afterwards took a look at himself and saw no way out except suicide. He certainly paints a bleak picture of himself, for whatever reason.
    (It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued.")

    I was sitting here thinking about the above quote and thought the same thing. Maybe he was afraid he'd do the act again..."I will break and shatter by violence". Could "linger years under care", mean maybe a prison term or being committed in a psychiatric facility? It certainly seems he came from a well to do family from his writings. Maybe his family didn't want the shame of acknowleging him and the investigation of his deeds to mar the family name/reputation?


  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieMae
    (It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued.")

    I was sitting here thinking about the above quote and thought the same thing. Maybe he was afraid he'd do the act again..."I will break and shatter by violence". Could "linger years under care", mean maybe a prison term or being committed in a psychiatric facility? It certainly seems he came from a well to do family from his writings. Maybe his family didn't want the shame of acknowleging him and the investigation of his deeds to mar the family name/reputation?
    I think "linger years under care" was referring to a psychiatric facility or the mental ward of a hospital. He may have been under psychiatric care and feared he would not get better. In his note, he encourages his parents to talk to a psychiatrist, and he also quotes Emile Durkheim, a psychologist. So he seems to be familiar with psychiatry and psychology to some extent.

    I think he cared about his parents, even though he says in his note that he had built no ties with family or friends. He says that he doesn't want to be identified, that he wants his parents to be able to continue hoping their "missing" son will come home. That shows some consideration of their feelings, albeit in an unusual way. And he tells his parents that it is not their fault that he turned out as he did.

    I wonder why he chose the location he did - in a wooded area in Belle Chasse, Louisiana? There are a million places someone can kill themself, so there must be a reason why he chose this particular place. Perhaps he had lived in the area in the past, and the wooded area held some significance for him. Obviously he was not from the area, since no one identified him.

    It's strange that he didn't have any shoes - he couldn't have walked very far just wearing socks. It was February, and even in Louisiana, February is a little chilly for walking outdoors in your socks.

    This is one of the most unusual cases I've run across in a while. I think tomorrow I will call the police in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and ask them if they ever learned anything more about the philosophical teenaged John Doe.


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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    ...This is one of the most unusual cases I've run across in a while. I think tomorrow I will call the police in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and ask them if they ever learned anything more about the philosophical teenaged John Doe.
    It does sound unusual, although there was another more recent case very similar to it a few years back. As I recall, the other case involved a young man who left no note, but hanged himself in a wooded areal. I think that one was eventually solved, however.

    This case sounds so different mainly due to the fact that they released so much of the contents of the note. I hope you find something more about it.


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  12. #8
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    Dna ?

    It might be interesting to find out if any DNA survives to be added to the missing persons DNA database.

    Also I have another thought which I will post on later if it seems to be even barely plausible.


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  14. #9
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    I almost get the feeling maybe he was killed by someone else. The notes just seem so adamant that no investigation be done, etc., that I wonder if someone killed him and then staged it to make it look like a suicide. I mean, why would someone who is about to commit suicide care if an investigation is made and "hundreds of dollars spent"?

    imo


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  16. #10
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    Maybe he was so ashamed of what he did or what he was about to do and I also get the feeling he felt worthless of attention which is why he did not want an enquiry.


    It is very sad indeed.


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  18. #11
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    Wow! That is an interesting one. That young man sounded so intelligent and talented. Sometimes though, the most intelligent and gifted are the ones most tortured by their own minds. Great find!

    Oh, and could you clarify the year, please? Thanks!


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  20. #12
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    I believe she meant '75, that is the year in the title of the post and the article is dated a month after Valentines Day of '75.


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  22. #13
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    Here is something interesting.


    www.doenetwork.us/cases/1259dmmi.html

    Perry Otto Corlew 18 years old missing from Michigan 3/74. If you go to the bottum of his doenetwork page, it says that his dental records were being compared with a suicide victim in Louisiana but were lost. I wonder if it was him or not.


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  24. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by laini
    Here is something interesting.


    www.doenetwork.us/cases/1259dmmi.html

    Perry Otto Corlew 18 years old missing from Michigan 3/74. If you go to the bottum of his doenetwork page, it says that his dental records were being compared with a suicide victim in Louisiana but were lost. I wonder if it was him or not.
    The info certainly fits, if he were so upset about being on probation for breaking and entering that a minor car accident could cause him to flee...
    Here is an article that mentions a lot of the information in the Doe entry--
    http://www.record-eagle.com/1999/mar/21teeno.htm

    If LE in Louisiana were so interested that they requested dental records, this certainly would seem to be a case where a DNA test would be appropriate.


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  26. #15
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    good question

    Quote Originally Posted by laini
    Here is something interesting.


    www.doenetwork.us/cases/1259dmmi.html

    Perry Otto Corlew 18 years old missing from Michigan 3/74. If you go to the bottum of his doenetwork page, it says that his dental records were being compared with a suicide victim in Louisiana but were lost. I wonder if it was him or not.
    Very good question and it is also why I asked if DNA evidence could be listed in that new DNA database and maybe help. I suppose they might have to exhume the body after all this time to do so and may not have the money for that after the hurricanes have so destroyed large areas.


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