That’s right, I was accused of murdering my fiancé after he committed suicide.
Have you ever had someone say something about you that was so false, such a clear fabrication, that it made you sick to your stomach? Has anyone ever said that you said or did something you know you didn’t, and the injustice of their lie rocks you at your core? Well, try taking that feeling and multiplying it by , oh I don’t know… murder!
Just a few hours after my fiancé, Andy, committed suicide a few feet in front of me, a person I thought was my friend said that she was upset that Andy was the only one getting any blame in this. As if I should be blamed for his impulsive suicide. Then I went on Facebook to read people’s condolence comments, and my heart dropped. I saw the word MURDER.
People were saying I killed him on his Facebook page, for everyone to see.
My family and I all sat around the dining room table trying to make sense of it. Of course, my dad and brother, being lawyers, reassured me that the evidence was all very clearly on my side and not to worry. They tried to reassure me that the detectives had ruled it a Suicide hours after and had even told his family that he took his life. They clearly didn’t think it was anything but suicide. But my heart and mind raced, how could I be accused of something so awful? I, who loved Andy more than words. Katie, the compassionate, empathetic, loving fiancée, animal lover, with a huge heart?! (I’m not saying I’m perfect, far from it. I can be stubborn and I don’t like hearing no. But I am overly empathetic and care very deeply about people and all creatures on this earth!) What had I ever done or said that would lead anyone to think I was capable of something so horrific, so ugly, so atrocious, so DESPICABLE?!
Some of the people accusing me had just been in my home. I had just talked to them about being in my wedding. They had just told me they loved me days before. They had just been at my wedding dress shopping and cried tears of joy with me for my new life to start with Andy. Now they were saying I killed him, in cold blood. How was this really happening in my quiet, peaceful, ordinary life?
My sister, bless her heart, was so upset, she was shaking. My mom and I kept reeling over every detail, every comment. We were horrified, terrified, and in disbelief. How could people be so wrong, so cruel?
Then the lies started. Insane lies, clearly designed to make me look like an evil person. Lies that I was abusive, controlling, jealous, and a fucking drug addict! It was insane, I couldn’t believe it. I had to block everyone who took part in bashing my name and assassinating my character. (They would later claim my blocking them was proof I was guilty.) I had to block people that were friends with these people since I had received threatening messages and didn’t want them knowing where I was. Every single comment was like a knife in my heart. Days after I witnessed my fiancé tragically end his life, while I was still in the throws of my PTSD and shock, every comment derailed me from my grief. I can’t lie, I can see why they latched on to their anger towards me, why they fabricated their false narrative; it was so much easier to be angry at someone than it was to miss Andy.
A few weeks after, while two friends were over checking on me, my mom came into the room and told me that detectives were on the phone. I answered and they said they’d like to meet with me and ask a few questions. My first reaction was, “okay I’m sure this is a routine follow up.” And then I started wondering if it’s more than that. I started to think maybe these people on Facebook are ACTUALLY ACCUSING ME OF MURDER. That is a terrifying feeling, to put it mildly.
A few minutes later, detectives show up at my parents’ house, where I was staying. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t showered or brushed my teeth in days. Anyone who knows me knows I wear makeup ALWAYS!! I had zero makeup on, I smelled, and my eyes were bloodshot and puffy from not sleeping and crying all day. I only got 2 hours of sleep several days in a row and wasn’t eating more than a few bites a day. I say all of this to paint the picture, I was a fucking wreck!
They sat down on the couch and basically told me that people were indeed calling them claiming I murdered him, so they had to follow up and get my story again. They asked a thousand questions. They asked for the whole timeline in order, and then they picked apart details and took it out of order, to make sure my story was consistent. Let me tell you, if you ever think of lying about a single detail to a detective, just DON’T! They will catch you up in your lie. They asked things like “so when he was chasing you outside, what happened after?” “Okay, so when you say he chased you out of the house, was he running or walking behind you? He was running, okay, are you sure? Could he have been walking.” You start to think, “shit, he was behind me so I didn’t see him run. Buuut, if he was walking he wouldn’t have caught up to me when I was running, so he must have been running.”
In times of trauma and shock, your mind goes into protective mode and blocks certain parts of the night out. I don’t even remember the sound of the shotgun. Parts of the night are clear as day (and play on loops in my mind) and parts of it are a black hole. So having to tell a detective “I don’t remember” was terrifying, but honest. They reassured me it was common to black out details after experiencing such intense trauma. I remembered they must deal with this all the time.
At some point, though I didn’t hear it at the time, they told me that the evidence all pointed to a self inflicted gun shot. They were actually very kind and they even got teary eyed at a few points of my story. But, I was being questioned for murder in my parents’ home by detectives. That was all I could focus on. After they questioned me, they went in a separate room and questioned my parents. I felt the blood drain from my face, I sat in the same spot I’d sat in for days and held on to the blanket on my lap as tightly as I could. I was being accused of MURDER. Me. I kept thinking…
Thank god I didn’t touch him after.
Thank god I just ran out of the house after it happened.
Thank god I was standing far enough away when he did it.
Just then, my sister came in the house and saw me sitting there, zoned out. She looked very worried and it was then I realized what a mess I was. All my panic rose to the surface and I felt like I couldn’t breath. She held me and told me it was going to be okay. Nothing to worry about. The detectives finished with my parents and I heard them come out of the office, saying their goodbyes and thank yous. I walked them to the door and said my goodbyes. Right as the door shut, I started hyperventilating and I collapsed on the floor. Detectives were just in my home questioning me on potential murder charges. My sister came down on the floor with me and picked me up. My parents reassured me that it was just a follow up and they clearly could see the evidence pointed to suicide. Detectives told my parents that there could be actual footage of a suicide taking place and people would claim that someone must be out of frame making them do it. I felt a little better.
“So you think they know what really happened?”
“Yes, Katie, don’t worry. They told us they had to follow up and the evidence is CLEAR you had NOTHING to do with it. They said they could see you two had a loving relationship.”
I realized they must have searched his phone and Facebook. That made me feel better but also freaked me out. Detectives were combing through my conversations with my dead fiancé to see if I might have said something nasty or urged him to hurt himself. Again, this brought relief as I thought of all the sweet texts we’d exchanged and all the love we expressed for one another, both in private and in public.
Weeks later, the case was closed and the truth prevailed. It didn’t stop people from spreading lies or slandering my name, however. Unfortunately the case closing actually stirred up anger and I received several angry messages. One was filled with profanity and was very erratic, they even claimed that I had loaded the gun (a new narrative that clearly sparked because the evidence was blaring that I wasn’t close enough to him when the shotgun went off to have done it myself). The other was quite calm and equally horrible. They now were saying that I should take responsibility for his Suicide. They acknowledged that he killed himself, mind you, but that I, being in a relationship with him, should take responsibility.
I couldn’t believe it. I could maybe understand this thought if Andy had done this in a calm, premeditated way. But he didn’t. I could maybe understand if he’d threatened it countless times and I ignored it. But he didn’t. He was drunk and blacked out. It’s not like I ever had an indication this might happen, not like he’d ever even said he was thinking of doing this. (Not to say that people that were warned are responsible in ANY WAY!! You 100% aren’t!! You can’t make anyone do something like that.) But this was an alcohol, drug, and rage fueled decision that happened in the blink of an eye. How am I responsible?! For fighting with my fiancé before? Lots of people fight! Suicide is not a normal or expected reaction to a harmless disagreement. In fact, Andy and I had had this same argument countless times. Every couple fights and argues. I was in shock all over again, it was another knife in my heart. I knew I would’ve done anything to stop Andy if I could’ve. I knew I loved him with my whole heart and treated him with love, kindness, respect, and loyalty. I know we had our issues and had difficult times in which both of us thought about breaking up. Who doesn’t after 5 years together? But we always stuck it out. We were creating a business together, getting married, we loved the shit out of each other. Andy always told me I was his favorite person and I told him he was mine.
I realized later that the girl that was supposed to be my friend, had immediately contacted everyone she could to try to twist the truth and turn people against me. She even lied and said Andy was leaving me. (I had Andy’s phone since I purchased it with my money, and it was very clear he wasn’t leaving me.) Looking back there were signs she had more than friendship feelings for Andy. Like when Andy would compliment me in front of her saying “Isn’t she the most beautiful thing? I’m so lucky to have her”, she replied… “Yes, she is. I could never compete with that.” At the time, I just comforted her and reassured her she was gorgeous. But looking back, the word “compete” should have been a red flag. But I’m not the jealous type, so I never even noticed all the red flags. One time, on a trip I planned as a surprise for Andy’s birthday, she ran out of the room crying. We were playing a game and a few times I looked over and she looked sad. When she ran out of the room, we went to check on her and she said she was sad that she didn’t have what we had. I realize now, she didn’t just want WHAT we had, she wanted what I had AND she wanted it WITH Andy. In his passing, she has tried to comfort herself by lying that he was going to leave me.
In the first few weeks, I had told everyone that was closest to me what happened that night. I wanted them to have some closure, some answered questions. (There are no answers that can make sense of suicide, I later realized). I wanted them to understand he wasn’t in his right mind. That if he’d had another moment with a clear head, he’d NEVER do this. I wanted them to know he was a kind, good person that snapped. I wanted them to know the truth. I was threatened to stop telling the story. They told me I was painting him out to be a bad person. NO! Just the opposite, I wanted them to know how out of character the WHOLE NIGHT was. Andy didn’t even do his hair that day. Anyone who knows him knows this was not like him AT ALL!
So I stopped telling the story. I didn’t use the word Suicide. I didn’t answer people when they asked how he died. I was told to “think of Andy when you post” after I simply used the phrase “what you did to yourself that night.” I re-wrote my post, to take out the phrase that upset them, and apologized. I asked what words were okay to use and said I never meant to hurt them. Meanwhile, people were calling me a murderer. While I, the only person that knew the truth, sat silent, they were posting all over his profile. It was maddening. Weeks later I realized it was crazy and I broke my silence. I spoke about it openly and honestly. I still kept details private to respect Andy’s memory (even though they shared some of those details) because I just think “what would Andy want me to do if he was here. He’d want me to tell the truth but still respect and honor him in death the way I did in life.
Some people have thanked me for telling my story, for discussing my mental health struggles openly. Others judge me and misinterpreted it. And that’s okay. I don’t do it for them. I do it because it helps me to express myself. It helps me to process everything. And I do it because I hope to help someone else. Secrecy only feeds shame, and shame can lead to depression and even suicide. I wish Andy had talked more openly about his pain, his struggles, his unresolved trauma. I hope someone reading my blog realizes that they aren’t alone, that we are connected in our suffering, not just in our celebrations or joy. I hope someone reads this and opens up about their struggles.
I have to end this blog with this thought…
Suicide doesn’t make sense. There’s no logic or rational thought behind it (unless you are Deathly ill and looking to end the suffering.) So, if you know someone that committed suicide and your thinking to yourself “this just doesn’t add up, I think someone had something to do with this”, it will NEVER ADD UP OR MAKE SENSE. Impulsive suicide is especially senseless. I can tell you, witnessing it first hand, it still doesn’t make any fucking sense to me why he thought that was his only option. I know he was out of it, but still, it makes ZERO sense.
So please, try to remember that our mind plays tricks on us and tries to make logical sense out of something illogical. It’s illogical that someone would end their life in a split second decision. It’s more logical that someone else might hurt them. And please, if you fought with someone and then they killed them self, please don’t blame yourself! There is NOTHING that anyone could say to me in a fight that would make me want to end my life. Someone that does end their life is in a very dark place and is suffering from either a mental break from reality or an ongoing mental illness. It’s not your fault. I couldn’t even make Andy watch a show I wanted to watch, so how the hell could I make him load a shotgun and end his life? I can’t. You can’t. The ONLY person responsible for suicide is the person that killed them self. But I get it that that’s a hard thing to accept. It’s hard to blame or be mad at them, they’re fucking gone. It’s easy to idealize someone after they die and think of them as perfect angels. I know I did. I refused to be mad at Andy.
My therapist kept asking me, “where’s your anger?” I said “at so-and-so and so-and-so who is accusing me of murder.” She said “okay, I understand that. It’s very hurtful and infuriating that they are doing that to you. But, are THEY also hurting? Why are they hurting? Why are you all REALLY hurting? Is it because of them, or is it because Andy’s gone and he’s left everyone this mess?” It was then that I let go of my anger and resentment for these people that lost something they cherished beyond words. In my healing, I read a book that talked about how often times people struggle with denial and as a reaction to that denial, they blame. People often assign blame after suicide and can even claim someone killed them instead of accepting it was suicide. Reading those words aloud was a huge epiphany that honestly saved me.
IT’S NOT PERSONAL. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME OR WHO I AM.
They simply can’t make sense of his Suicide and they are in denial about it. Realizing that and letting go of my anger, truly allowed me to focus on my grief. If you are stuck in denial, blame, or feelings of guilt, please talk to someone! It’s preventing you from grieving in a healthy way. You are stuck. If you ever want to talk, feel free to drop a comment and I’m all ears! I’ve chosen to go back to school to become a therapist so I clearly WANT to listen and help in any way I can!
To the people that have accused me of murder… I forgive you.
I wrote a letter to my accusers and I’ll post it in another blog and talk more about the power of forgiveness. Thank you for taking the time to read my journey.