Tragic: A woman facing foreclosure commits suicide, faxes note to her mortgage company that said “by the time they foreclosed on the house today she’d be dead.” [Boston]


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  1. Bladefist says:

    She left a note for her family saying they should “take the [life] insurance money and pay for the house,” O’Berg said.

    umm. I didn’t think there was life insurance money for suicide.

  2. blue_duck says:

    @Bladefist: You have to think at the same time though~ the woman was not thinking clearly at all to even think about that fact.

  3. DeleteThisAccount says:

    wow thats tragic. I would hope i’d adapt a ‘phuckit’ attitude before doing that…

  4. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @Bladefist: It depends on the policy. Some have time limits, after which you can feel free to off yourself. You can thank the mental illness lobby for that.

  5. Burgandy says:

    My heart goes out to her family, they didn’t know about any of this. She handled all the family bills.

  6. Bladefist says:

    @blue_duck: Yea. Well she had kids/husband. She obviously didn’t think about anything. Personally, I’d live on the streets w/ my family before offing myself. Maybe there is more to the story. Don’t know.

    @HurtsSoGood: While I don’t want to encourage people to off themselves, I do think insurance should pay out. Which encourages people to off themselves. So crap.

    Another thing. Eek. I’m a jerk. Look at the cars in the driveway. Ummm somebody doesn’t understand you cant have your cake and eat it to. Didn’t think of selling the nice cars and getting a junker? I’m not blaming the OP though. But she did take her life w/o exploring all her options, is sad. Prayers for her family.

  7. blue_duck says:

    @Bladefist: Case in point, mental illness.

  8. @Bladefist: Apparently in Japan, there is. It has led to a jump in the suicide rate there.

  9. NoWin says:


    Paper reports her husband filed for bankruptcy 3 times in 5 years. Plus, he skipped on most of the bankruptcy preceedings. All that with a yearly takehome of under 100k. Hmmmmmmm….

    Hey, it’s a sorry tale, but there is more to this than is immediately apparent.

  10. NoWin says:
  11. BTW, does anyone know how much they’ll ding off the price for a “murder or suicide” house? Since it wasn’t sold yet, who pays for the clean up? From what I have seen on cable, crime scene clean up costs much $$, which is why many businesses are cropping up to do it.

  12. vdragonmpc says:

    Wow look at those shiney cars in the driveway… Isnt that a new Eclipse? Not to mention that is a big ol house.

    I wish I could afford a car newer than 7 years old… Oh wait I have a family and responsibilities. Why are all of these people so determined to only have the newest biggest items and no way to pay for them?

    I lost sympathy when I saw the SUV and Eclipse. Thats ridiculous.

  13. chiieddy says:

    NPR reported this morning her husband didn’t know the home was in foreclosure. She had been hiding the notices and took care of all the bills. She apparently hadn’t paid in 3 years.

  14. blue_duck says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: But did she kill herself at home? She could’ve done it elsewhere where it didn’t require much in the clean up area.

  15. @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy:
    They will apparently pay off your mortage as well in Japan.

  16. hypnotik_jello says:

    @vdragonmpc: How do you even know its her/her families car? You have no information to draw that conclusion?

  17. mmstk101 says:

    I wonder why the mortgage company waited an hour before calling 911 . . . .

  18. @blue_duck: From the article NoWin linked to,

    When police arrived at 103 Duffy Drive minutes later, O’Berg said, they found Balderrama dead from a single gunshot wound from her husband’s rifle.

    I was reading about how stupid people are in trashing their house when it is foreclosed b/c the sale money goes towards paying off the mortgage. It was apparently a high powered rifle, which means lots of splatter, and lots of blood on the floor. That stuff soaks into carpet like crazy, and if god forbid they had hardwood floors, they pretty much have to rip it all up, as it will soak into the porus surfaces.

  19. @mmstk101: Well, they probably get a crap load of faxes, so by the time someone pulled all the faxes off the machine, sorted through them, realized that this was a suicide note, it’s reasonable for almost any size company. I have a fax machine next to me, and I’ve left faxes on there for two hours sometimes before even checking them.

  20. blue_duck says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: Ah, I missed that.

    They call those trashing fits “demolition parties.” Apparently it’s quickly becoming a huge trend.

  21. mmstk101 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: Good point. I didn’t mean to imply that they were negligent, I just thought that it was interesting to note.

  22. PunditGuy says:

    @vdragonmpc: I wish I could afford a car newer than 7 years old… Oh wait I have a family and responsibilities.

    I have a family and responsibilities too, and a one-month-old Nissan Altima. Why do you think those things are mutually exclusive?

  23. @blue_duck: I also heard from the humane society that people are also abandoning their pets in the homes, pretty much (hopefully)throwing down some food and water, and locking them in. Most of the time when people show up to either show the house or to check it out for sale, they will discover the dead or close to death animals inside. Most of the time, the person said the animal has to be put down, and they will find chewed pieces of carpet and other things in their stomachs as they tried to eat anything b/c they were starving. The house usually then has to be cleaned to get rid of the flies and animal waste then, which is more than a dead body, as the animals don’t confine themselves to one room.

  24. GoldHoops says:

    Read the first sentence of the post. TRAGIC.

    Geesh. When did The Consumerist start attracting such heartless bastards?

  25. cmdrsass says:

    @vdragonmpc: I lost sympathy when I saw the SUV and Eclipse. Thats ridiculous.

    The Eclipse doesn’t belong to them. It has a NH plate. This story takes place in MA.

    Unless they’re pulling the old “MA resident registers their car in NH to avoid taxes and fees” scam.

  26. ladycrumpet says:

    This is so sad. What also saddens me is everyone jumping all over this family’s grief to condemn them for their poor financial choices, as indicated by most of the comments in that link provided by NoWin. Talk about kicking someone while they’re down.

    Desperate people just don’t think clearly. Regardless of their financial judgment I wish the poor woman hadn’t seen taking her life as the only way out.

  27. Nighthawke says:

    {devils advocate} As the PrePo’s (previous posters) have said, she never thought it out or consulted with a financial counselor.

    She “jumped out of the window” without checking all her options. {/devils advocate}

    A shocking and sad state of affairs when an event like this happens.

  28. blue_duck says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I don’t understand that. If for some ungodly reason you MUST get rid of your pet, at least take it to a shelter~ at least there, they’d have half a chance and even just staying alive until someone else can give them a good home. I, personally, could never give my dog away for any reason.

  29. RandomHookup says:

    @chiieddy: I kept hearing that and wondering how in the world hubby didn’t know she wasn’t paying the mortgage…all the while filing for bankruptcy 2-3 times. That doesn’t make sense.

  30. donkeyjote says:

    @Nighthawke: I think you mean
    {devil’s advocate} She “shot herself in the face to spite her nose” {/devils advocate}


    @Git Em SteveDave:
    On a different note, I don’t think an insurance company should have to pay out for suicide when the insurance money was the ONLY goal in mind, or atleast, one of the main reasons.

    And you been watching too much CSI Bladefist :P

  31. blue_duck says:

    @Nighthawke: My thoughts exactly.

  32. blue_duck says:

    @donkeyjote: I work at a financial institution and recently saw a very high life insurance check to someone’s daughter after she committed suicide. All I’m saying is, it happens…

  33. blue_duck says:

    @blue_duck: Her mother committed suicide~ obvious, but I thought I’d make it clearer :P

  34. theblackdog says:

    @Bladefist: I believe insurance companies will pay out, but they have rules. Usually you have had to have been paying premiums on insurance for at least 2 years…and they do reduce your benefits if it’s suicide.

  35. @Bladefist: @donkeyjote: If it is a whole life policy it really shouldn’t matter as far as cause of death. (My personal whole life policy pays out in the event of murder/suicide.) Term life is less likely to pay out – but as mentioned above – it does depend on the policy itself.

    On to the subject at hand – I wonder if the mortgage company is going to post the fax on Forgive me for being a heartless bastard – but it’s pretty messed up for her to try to put her suicide on them. “I don’t want to deal with my problems – I hope you feel guilty because of it.” It is tragic, especially for her family, but it certainly didn’t have to happen.

  36. @blue_duck: From my own experience, shelters WANT money to turn an animal in. I caught a stray Tom who knocked up one of my cats. The local humane society wanted $60 to take it, and the ASPCA wouldn’t take it b/c I was in the Humane Societies “area”. I was very close to telling her that cinder blocks are $1.50, and string is even cheaper, but I didn’t. I ended up driving ten miles away and let him go. The lady in the article I heard said that people delude themselves into thinking that the animals can fend for themselves.

  37. coan_net says:

    @Bladefist: That is exactly what I thought when I read the story – many insurance policies won’t pay for suicide… or at least will not pay much if any.

  38. Orv says:

    @Bladefist: If someone isn’t financially savvy enough to get a mortgage they can afford, they’re probably not savvy enough to get a decent car loan, either. If those are her cars, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were upside down on them and would have actually lost money by selling them.

  39. nicemarmot617 says:

    As indicated by the recent article in Times Magazine, most suicides are impulsive. This was clearly one of those, although I certainly blame this woman for her own financial irresponsibility, suicide isn’t the way out – then you’ve just killed yourself, devastated your family, AND left them with a huge mess – financial and emotional – to clean up. If I was her own family, I would have a very difficult time forgiving her for any of this. Sometimes suicide is the selfish way out.

    As for giving up pets – I had to give up my dog shortly after I graduated college – he got sick and I couldn’t afford his treatment. A friend of mine offered to adopt him and pay for his medical treatment. I agreed but I am heartsick about it to this day and still think about my dog and miss him a lot. (Even though I get to visit him occasionally, the advantage of giving him to a friend.) Anybody who leaves their pet to starve in an empty home should be subjected to the same treatment. Lock them in a foreclosed house with no way to get out, no food no water and no way to relieve themselves. It would only be fair.

  40. MissPeacock says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I hope you spayed your cat after that. The thought of people leaving their pets in their homes to die makes me want to vomit everywhere.

  41. digitalgimpus says:

    @Bladefist: Depends on policy, and local law from what I understand.

    That said… by the time the family claims and gets the money (i’d bet given the circumstances the insurance company will try and hold out) … that house will be sold.

    So she still didn’t keep the house.

  42. vdragonmpc says:


    Can you make the payments on the Altima? Are you? Then you are making your responsibilities.

    People CANNOT go out and buy 2 major cars payments and have a house payment that is out of their range. An Eclipse, Tahoe and 233,000$ mortgage is a healthy chunk of change along with an expensive lifestyle.

    The article states that the husband made 90-100k a year and there were 2 other working adults. Where did the money go?

    Why were there 3 bankruptsy attempts?


  43. SacraBos says:

    @PunditGuy: They are when you’re not paying your mortgage…

  44. @MissPeacock: Yes, she was spayed after I weaned the kittens. They were spayed, except for one who was neutered.

  45. Jnetty says:

    My life insurance states that they won’t pay if I commit suicide within the first two years of the policy. When I read that I was like what!

  46. RabbitDinner says:

    Wait, so the husband didn’t even know the house was going to be auctioned off that afternoon? Man.

    Yeah, there is some degree of culpability. If a student commits suicide and its found out that they wrote about it on the SAT, the College Board could be sought. But blaming the mortgage company is certainly a cop out, and there was no duty or reasonable expectation for the company to have read it in a reasonable amount of time

  47. @RabbitDinner: Honey, what’s this sticker on the door say? It’s been partially ripped off, but I can kind of read it. It says Fore-something. Did we win a Forerunner? We did! Well Hot Damn!

  48. ICherub says:

    I’m surprised, given much of the news lately, that no one seems to be speculating whether this was really a suicide and about the husband, who had obviously been deeply involved in the financial problems for years. The fact that he claimed ignorance of the financial problems to police was very suspicious. Also, the line about using the husband’s rifle made me wonder–depending on the kind and length of rifle, it can be hard to shoot oneself with any accuracy. In any event, suicide notes have often been used to cover homicides.

    I write this only as a general thought–I know it’s not very nice, but since we’re all discussing it…

  49. blue_duck says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I’ve never heard of having to pay to bring a stray in~ then again, I’ve never been in that situation. My dog is so lazy, I know he could never fend for himself…

  50. joel. says:

    she committed suicide and THEN faxed her note? that’s talent.

  51. Sudonum says:

    I read both articles, unless I missed it, there was nothing stating what the husband’s wages were, just that he was a plumber, and worked for a mechanical company. Also, I saw nothing that stated that there were 3 other working adults in the house, just a line that stated that her son worked as a cook in a local restaurant.

    And FWIW, that’s not a Tahoe, that’s the smaller Trailblazer. My FIL bought some stripped versions for his business for around $20k. And as someone else pointed out the Eclipse has New Hampshire plates. Might be theirs, might not.

  52. AD8BC says:

    This is tragic and I pray for her family and her soul. This whole thing will be fery difficult on her family, I am sure.

    This is one reason that, in a marraige, both husband and wife need to be fully involved in the finances. They both could have handled the situation together, with love.

  53. synergy says:

    @blue_duck: I volunteer now and then for an animal shelter. They do charge for people to bring animals in. So rather than pay, people drive up and tie dogs to trees outside and take off. The shelter’s open 7 days a week so someone will see it sooner or later and bring it in. And the person dropping it off doesn’t have to give ID or pay the “receiving fee.”

  54. Cap'n Jack says:

    Very sad story. Hope this doesn’t start a trend, considering that things keep getting worse before they start to get better.

  55. RabbitDinner says:

    Awful, I can’t imagine the stress of losing a home, and then to boot, having to tell, at the last minute, the husband who’s been kept in the dark. What stress. I doubt the auction proceeded as scheduled, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still lost the house. She was depressed and desperate, but all she did was solve her own problems, now her husband has to deal with losing his wife and his home. It’s taken me a while, but I finally understand what my 5th grade teacher when she meant that suicide is selfish. This isn’t blaming the victim, but when I hear of it happening, especially to a friend of a friend/someone close, I realize that no problems are solved. You can’t take it with you, that goes for money and material possessions, but problems such as this as well. I just hope the husband doesn’t follow down the same path.

  56. Burgandy says:

    @NoWin: Wow, they didn’t mention that stuff in the original article I read.
    On a side note, I didn’t think you could file for bankruptcy that frequently, not that I ever intend to do it myself, I just thought the original one was “on” for something like 7 years.

  57. @synergy: This is why I was so upset. I caught the cat in a have a heart trap, and they wanted me to pay. If I knew how to neuter him, I would have. But he was unmarked(no notch/tatoo), and at the time I didn’t have 60 bucks floating around. I know they video their office, so I couldn’t drop him off there. As a kid, I once used a leash to tie my cat to a branch while I went to school(I was a kid, and had no concept of time. I thought TV stopped when you turned it off, and started again when you turned it on). He got the leash off the branch, and took off to our corral. He ended up jumping off the end of a pile of old fence, and the leash caught on one of the boards, and he hung himself. I loved the cat, and never meant him harm. I still feel bad to this day, so I could never tie a cat up. That’s why I ended up taking him to a park ten miles away. He was a outside cat to begin with, so he could handle himself. In a weird twist, my neighbors reported seeing a similar cat a few months later.

  58. RabbitDinner says:

    And I don’t mean to nitpick, but why is the paraphrase in quotes? I’m pretty sure the woman didn’t refer to herself in the third person.

  59. RabbitDinner says:

    And I guess it’s paraphrasing the article, but it makes it sound like she actually, whatever nvm

  60. mistaketv says:

    This is what happens when you buy the cheap Mother’s Day cards. Always, always buy Hallmark. Clearly, she didn’t feel loved.

  61. oldheathen says:

    Imagine bearing the weight of a secret like that for three years…still I have to call b.s. on husband not having the slightest clue. He may not have realized how depressed she was, but there’s no way to hide financial difficulty of that magnitude unless one partner deliberately keeps their head buried in the sand.

  62. ShariC says:

    I’d like to say that the lack of humanity displayed in some of the comments on this post shock me, but I know better.

    Anyone who kills himself or herself is mentally ill. None of the logic or rational paths out of this situation were going to work for her. She was likely literally driven to a psychotic break by the stresses surrounding her finances.

  63. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It’s taken me a while, but I finally understand what my 5th grade teacher when she meant that suicide is selfish.

    @RabbitDinner: I always found that irritating because it sounds as though they think people who commit suicide do it because they only care about what they want and not how it will hurt others. In fact, some people actually do see it that way.

    While I also understand what’s meant by it, I don’t think selfish is the right way to describe suicide.

  64. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @vdragonmpc: Your post is not only blaming the victim, it’s callous and inflammatory. Read the comment code, and behave yourself.

  65. RabbitDinner says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I wouldn’t go so far as to call it selfish myself, but intent aside, because who knows what was going through the poor woman’s mind-no problems were solved-just left to the husband. And I’m not blaming the victim.