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Old 11-15-2005, 03:14 PM
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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
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:48 PM
aussiegran aussiegran is offline
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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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Old 11-15-2005, 03:59 PM
SadieMae SadieMae is offline
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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.
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:08 PM
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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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Old 11-15-2005, 04:17 PM
SadieMae SadieMae is offline
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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?
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:51 PM
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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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Old 11-15-2005, 05:54 PM
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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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Old 11-15-2005, 05:55 PM
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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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Old 11-20-2005, 01:32 AM
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It is pronounced plackamens, please let us know when they get back to you. Hopefully they are able to look into this.

It is a far way from MI and an odd location. Did anyone in the area have contact with him before his death. Belle Chasse is a small community and while it does border New Orleans it borders a suburban area and is a little off the main path it just doesn't seem like a place you would just stumble on accidentaly.
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:45 AM
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Here's a link to a recent news article:

http://www.gtherald.com/1999/mar/21teeno.htm
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:56 PM
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Just bumping this up

I still find this case so intriguing, so I thought I'd bump it up. The nature of this young man's suicide note, in particular, seems so unusual. I was never able to make contact with any law enforcement members, but that was several months ago. When I have the time, I will try again to see if I can talk to anyone about this case.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:59 PM
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don't give up on it, their parish was hard hit by katrina ( you won't ever hear about it though, it seems as though N.O. east was the only area hit by katina but you arent here for my katrina soapbox) so I am assuming they are short deputies and over worked right now so keep on checking with them.
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Old 08-21-2006, 05:16 PM
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This is indeed a very intriguing case!

I can't find a listing for the unidentified teenager on the Doe Network for Louisiana. (See http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/uid-geo-index.html#LA)

The LSU FACES Lab site doesn't seem to have a record, either. (See http://www.lsu.edu/faceslab/unidenti...identified.htm)

I wonder if the writing/language/handwriting in the suicide note can be compared to any of Corlew's writings that his parents' may have saved?

Where else can one look for information on the description of the unidentified teen's body? I guess if you can get any assistance/details from LE in Louisiana, Marilynilpa, that would be wonderful.

From Corlew's profile on the Doe Network, this section is interesting:
Quote:
Also in 1992, his brother Michael received a telephone call from someone mimicking cartoon character voices, which Michael and Perry used to do. The caller asked Michael what he thought of the voices, but hung up without identifying himself.
Could be a cruel prank, but makes me wonder...

Last edited by maima; 08-21-2006 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Added section about phone call to Corlew's brother in 1992
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:02 AM
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Those are some good thoughts, thanks. Just like you, I also checked various websites dealing with missing people and found nothing that seemed to fit. Although the suicide occurred in Louisiana, it's possible this young man lived elsewhere, which makes it even harder to figure out who he might be.

The content of his suicide note makes me think he may have committed (or thought about committing) a crime that weighed heavily on him, leading to the suicide.

I hope to be able to dedicate more time to this perplexing case in the near future, and will definitely post any info I come across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maima
This is indeed a very intriguing case!

I can't find a listing for the unidentified teenager on the Doe Network for Louisiana. (See http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/uid-geo-index.html#LA)

The LSU FACES Lab site doesn't seem to have a record, either. (See http://www.lsu.edu/faceslab/unidenti...identified.htm)

I wonder if the writing/language/handwriting in the suicide note can be compared to any of Corlew's writings that his parents' may have saved?

Where else can one look for information on the description of the unidentified teen's body? I guess if you can get any assistance/details from LE in Louisiana, Marilynilpa, that would be wonderful.

From Corlew's profile on the Doe Network, this section is interesting: Could be a cruel prank, but makes me wonder...
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:22 AM
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The fact that his brother got a phone call mimicking cartoon voices is kind of weird....but it does seem as if he could be this suicide as well.............I wonder if anyone else knew about the cartoon voices.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:41 AM
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Has anything come of this case? I know it's been a while, but does anyone know if it got anywhere?
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:28 PM
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What an unusual case. I cannot even find the original article or an article on it. Or anything else that mentions it.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:51 AM
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Charley project states:

"he had a poor driving record and was on probation for breaking and entering"


He committed a minor hit and run. His car was found 90 minutes afterwards on the side of the highway still running.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:55 AM
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Charley project states:

"he had a poor driving record and was on probation for breaking and entering"


He committed a minor hit and run. His car was found 90 minutes afterwards on the side of the highway still running.
You're referring to Perry Corlew, right?

What makes me feel he isn't our unidentified suicide victim is that the suicide note, in my opinion, seems to refer more to a fear of the worsening of a psychological problem (or perceived problem) than fear of the repercussions of leaving the scene of an accident while on probation.

John Doe's fingerprints were circulated around the country in 1975 but he was not identified. If this person was Perry Corlew, his fingerprints would be on file with the police due to his prior criminal acts. That also makes me believe he is not John Doe.

If the fingerprints were circulated today, I wonder if there would be a match now that things are computerized.

Last edited by Marilynilpa; 05-13-2010 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynilpa View Post
You're referring to Perry Corlew, right?

What makes me feel he isn't our unidentified suicide victim is that the suicide note, in my opinion, seems to refer more to a fear of the worsening of a psychological problem (or perceived problem) than fear of the repercussions of leaving the scene of an accident while on probation.

John Doe's fingerprints were circulated around the country in 1975 but he was not identified. If this person was Perry Corlew, his fingerprints would be on file with the police due to his prior criminal acts. That also makes me believe he is not John Doe.

If the fingerprints were circulated today, I wonder if there would be a match now that things are computerized.
If Perry was a minor, his fingerprints were on cards which may have been destroyed within a certain time frame...possibly when his chronological age reached the age of majority in his state. Tawni Lee Mazzone/Maricopa Jane Doe was my learning curve for juvie records-no juvenile fingerprints are in electronic databases unless the crime attains a certain seriousness. (We lucked out HUGE with Tawni because although her juvie record should have been destroyed along with her print card, it was warehoused instead-so it is always worth a phone call!)

Now, I am not clear as to whether or not LA has a file on this John Doe any more??
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:21 AM
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If Perry was a minor, his fingerprints were on cards which may have been destroyed within a certain time frame...possibly when his chronological age reached the age of majority in his state. Tawni Lee Mazzone/Maricopa Jane Doe was my learning curve for juvie records-no juvenile fingerprints are in electronic databases unless the crime attains a certain seriousness. (We lucked out HUGE with Tawni because although her juvie record should have been destroyed along with her print card, it was warehoused instead-so it is always worth a phone call!)

Now, I am not clear as to whether or not LA has a file on this John Doe any more??
You're right about the fingerprints, they probably don't exist now. I was just indulging in "wishful thinking" - wishing I could take today's technology and apply it to some of these older, unsolved cases. Wouldn't that be nice?

Regarding whether or not a file exists, the answer is I don't know. When I originally spoke to an officer about this, he could not have cared less about this. I know LE is overworked, underpaid, etc., so it's not unusual for there to be a lack of interest over such an old case. Also, my inquiry came shortly after Hurrican Katrina, which probably didn't help.

I've e-mailed Plaquemines County Sheriff's Dept. and basically asked the same questions I asked the first time, i.e., was this John Doe ever identified, did they compare him to Perry Corlew, had there been any similar types of suicides. So far I've not heard anything, but will definitely post whatever I find out.
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:01 AM
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Wow, I hadn't seen this before now, but when I first read the "suicide letter", all I could think of was.....this was not a suicide. Other than the fact that the young man's writing sounds like it was written by someone much older and much more sage, I also hear a bit of something leaning toward incest or something as equally guilt ridden. What makes these folks so sure it WAS a suicide, is this letter the only thing? Letters can be written and forged by anyone with a good brain and good hand. JMO
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:37 AM
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Wow, I hadn't seen this before now, but when I first read the "suicide letter", all I could think of was.....this was not a suicide. Other than the fact that the young man's writing sounds like it was written by someone much older and much more sage, I also hear a bit of something leaning toward incest or something as equally guilt ridden. What makes these folks so sure it WAS a suicide, is this letter the only thing? Letters can be written and forged by anyone with a good brain and good hand. JMO
I wondered about the suicide note, too - it seems so mature for a 16-17 year old boy. That is why I've wondered about the age of John Doe , and if he might have been older than originally stated.

I wish we had some way of knowing the condition of John Doe's feet - he was shoeless and from what I've read, no shoes were found. Obviously if he had walked far, his feet would be scratched, cut, dirty.

The place where he hanged himself was not remote, but it was off the beaten path a little. If John Doe was not from the area, then the question arises as to how he got there and how he knew about the place. Perhaps he lived in the area in the past, or had relatives in the area.

The reason I rule out murder is that the suicide note is detailed regarding John Doe's feelings about not fitting in; his parents providing all the advantages; implications of past psychiatric care - how would the murderer know that the info he put in the suicide note would apply to his victim? John Doe might have been identified, at which time his family would read the suicide note and would have been able to tell if it sounded totally unlike anything John Doe had ever said or written before. And how would a murderer know John Doe wasn't an orphan, or estranged from his family - the note sounds like John Doe cared about his parents and wanted them not to feel blame.

I think if someone killed John Doe, it would be more likely he/she would have written a brief "good-bye cruel world" type of note.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Marilynilpa View Post
I wondered about the suicide note, too - it seems so mature for a 16-17 year old boy. That is why I've wondered about the age of John Doe , and if he might have been older than originally stated.

I wish we had some way of knowing the condition of John Doe's feet - he was shoeless and from what I've read, no shoes were found. Obviously if he had walked far, his feet would be scratched, cut, dirty.

The place where he hanged himself was not remote, but it was off the beaten path a little. If John Doe was not from the area, then the question arises as to how he got there and how he knew about the place. Perhaps he lived in the area in the past, or had relatives in the area.

The reason I rule out murder is that the suicide note is detailed regarding John Doe's feelings about not fitting in; his parents providing all the advantages; implications of past psychiatric care - how would the murderer know that the info he put in the suicide note would apply to his victim? John Doe might have been identified, at which time his family would read the suicide note and would have been able to tell if it sounded totally unlike anything John Doe had ever said or written before. And how would a murderer know John Doe wasn't an orphan, or estranged from his family - the note sounds like John Doe cared about his parents and wanted them not to feel blame.

I think if someone killed John Doe, it would be more likely he/she would have written a brief "good-bye cruel world" type of note.
Maybe it was written by one of the parents. I know, that thought is way out there, but when I first read the letter, it sounded to me like there was sooooo much emphasis on "not blaming the parents for his death". Why would someone do that and the reference to "being given all the advantages" and "psychiatric care"? Could it be one of the parents did him in, as they were frustrated with whatever behavior they were trying to "fix" for him, after years of giving him all the advantages and care they could? Particularly if it was some behavior that the parent(s) just could not tolerate and caused them to feel shamed or ridiculed by. Terrible thought, but I do wonder if any foul play was totally ruled out. I just find that note really odd.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:39 PM
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Maybe it was written by one of the parents. I know, that thought is way out there, but when I first read the letter, it sounded to me like there was sooooo much emphasis on "not blaming the parents for his death". Why would someone do that and the reference to "being given all the advantages" and "psychiatric care"? Could it be one of the parents did him in, as they were frustrated with whatever behavior they were trying to "fix" for him, after years of giving him all the advantages and care they could? Particularly if it was some behavior that the parent(s) just could not tolerate and caused them to feel shamed or ridiculed by. Terrible thought, but I do wonder if any foul play was totally ruled out. I just find that note really odd.
I don't think it was written by anyone other than the kid. Here's why. When I think back to my high school and think of the kids who are now "out" (on Facebook generally), they were all intelligent and eloquent. One is now a news reporter, and most of them could have written something like that. The letter is from a troubled, gay, eloquent teenager who was probably into literature and had seen psychiatrists.
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