How do I discreetly research a family member's suicide?
December 28, 2007 5:24 PM Subscribe
Earlier this year, my cousin shot himself. I'd been estranged from him for several years, but we used to be close. How do I go about getting information about his death and about the last few years of his life?
posted by desjardins to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The story I heard from a relative was that he'd been drifting from state to state the last few years, got married a few months before his death, and shot himself while the SWAT team had his house surrounded. I wouldn't trust anyone in that family to tell me the truth about the weather, let alone something so dramatic. There are especially a lot of lies surrounding this particular person; he became the scapegoat for other evils in his family.
I would like to know: how he died (if in fact it was a self-inflicted gunshot - there were family rumors that he was shot by the police). Were there any drugs in his system? What was he up to the last few years? Did he really join the military? Did he ever get his GED or graduate from high school? What happened to the house he inherited from his parents? The last time I remember speaking to him was 2002.
I have searched his local papers online (he was born and died in Louisiana). There were no news stories online about his death (so, probably not shot by the cops), and his obituary was very generic and didn't mention suicide. He had a personal ad online from prior to his marriage, and a couple other blank profiles on various sites. He was not technologically adept and I don't expect to find some secret blog or personal web site.
I do not want anyone in my family (especially his wife, to whom I've never even spoken) to find out that I am looking for information. There are family members who feel he deserved his end (!!!!) and I really don't want any more drama. This has absolutely nothing to do with money, vengeance, or righteousness. I just want to know the unvarnished truth.