The Fox News videographer removed his camera from the tripod and started to walk back to his news truck. "Just got a call from the newsroom, it's a suicide or maybe at this point still an attempted suicide..... we don't cover those."
An hour later only two CMPD cruisers remain, the crime scene tape gently rising and falling in the afternoon spring breeze. A couple of CMPD officers, a homicide detective and crime scene tech mill about. The tech making notes and taking photos under the watchful eye of the detective. The passenger door to the SUV still open as if someone was emptying groceries and had just stepped inside. A hundred feet away neighbors slowed their cars, looked for a moment and then carried on with their lives.
On a cold stainless steel table, the body of what was once a healthy young man. The physician standing next the table has finished his work, and noted the "Cause of Death" as self inflicted gunshot.
The Charlotte Observer obituary made no mention of suicide, not one of the dozens of comments even hinted that he took his own life.
Brian O'Neal Wheatley, 34, of Charlotte, NC, passed away on Monday, March 26, 2012. He was born on October 11, 1977 in Orlando, FL. He moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, at the age of 14. Brian attended Charlotte Christian School and graduated with the class of '96 from Southpark Academy.
The sad footnote to a life reportedly spent in turmoil. Friends say Brian suffered on and off again bouts with depression, some noted drugs and marriage problems.
But to look through the many photos of Brian show that he had much to live for friends family and a true love of everything outdoors.
Four days later CMPD Homicide Detectives were back in the same neighborhood. The low pitch rumble of Charlotte Fire's Ladder 24 is followed up the divided tree lined street by Medic. There are no sirens yet the Medic units LED lights and strobes are still flashing as the trucks slowly climb the hill towards Rea Road.
Just a block or so away CMPD Officers are back on the job. A woman in her mid 60's has apparently taken her own life. It is just after 11:00 when a CMPD Detective is seen outside walking the victim's dog. An extremely kind gesture in a rather unkind business.
Mary Glenda Cashner was 66 years old. Concerned neighbors speak of her gently, and that she had suffered with a medical condition called Fibromyalgia a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.
The pain and depression had reportedly taken a toll on Glenda Cashner, and she too has apparently taken her own life. Her obituary is here.
In both cases the pain of depression was too great to bare, but it is the families that must now bear so much, because it all falls upon them.
Another beautiful Carolina spring day, the warm breeze sends petals cascading across the driveways like flurries during a snow storm. Flowers have sprung from every corner of this elegant neighborhood but behind the doors families grieve.
Suicide is simple for those who take their own lives, for the rest of us even this writer we are burdened with the question as to why?
Cedar Posts Update: I got a lot of grief about this post, much from the Cashner family, some via the comments and others via email. The ME report has been released, and as expected Glenda Cashner took her own life. It is not a matter of she accidentally took one or two or ten pills too many. She took a hand full and choked them down hoping it would end her pain. It did.
Yet there is no joy in being right, I only hope her family can find peace and the rest of us learn to recognize the warning signs.