September 14th, 2004

8-pointed Star

Puzzling over an item in the local paper

The Detroit News ran an article entitled Shame turned good cop into killer this morning. According to the article, after the officer was caught stealing $466 from the police property room, he went home, wrote a suicide note; killed his 9-year-old son, the family's pet dog, and his wife; set the house on fire; and, finally, shot himself.

I'm not shocked that the officer killed his family; in a twisted way, it makes sense — he killed them in order to shield them from gossip and ridicule. What I can't comprehend is how this guy ended up in such dire financial straits that stealing from the lockup seemed reasonable.

According to the article, the family's annual income was approximately $100,000, yet records indicate that he owed $61,000 on credit cards and an additional $9,600 on other loans. In addition, Oakland County deed records show the couple bought their home in Waterford in 1993 for $109,000 and took out a $99,000 mortgage. They refinanced the house nine times in the next 11 years, pushing their debt on the house to $200,000 in their last mortgage in December 2003.

Where the heck did all that money go? Investigators say there was no evidence of drug use, an addiction to gambling, or any other vice linked with extensive debts. So just where did it go?

I'm not hopeful about seeing an answer to that question printed in the paper. Which means I'll be left wondering, and wondering if there was a problem someone, somewhere should have noticed long before desperation lead to tragedy.
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