In the pre-dawn hours of a typical New York City morning, 53-year-old chiropractor Glenn Scarpelli and his wife, 50-year-old, Patricia Colant, wrote detailed notes of explanation and leaped to their deaths from a ninth story window of a Madison Avenue office building.
Their suicide was carefully crafted to avoid injuring others or risk having their own two children become witnesses to the tragedy, and their broken bodies laid in the middle East 33rd Street in Murray Hill at 5:45 a.m., awaiting discovery. Authorities were on the scene in minutes. As an eyewitness to the double suicide explained:
Perry Kim, 49, a worker at Pure Green, a juice shop on the same block, said that he was outside just after 5:30 am this morning when he heard an ‘ahhh’ noise and saw two people fall from the top of the building. The man appeared to hit his head, and the woman had suffered abdominal injuries. They landed face up to the sky. He said his manager called 911 and police and EMTs were there soon after but the bodies were immediately covered.
Throughout the day, news leaked about the couple’s suicide notes, found tucked inside a pocket on each body. The notes, sealed in Ziploc bags along with identification, presumably to avoid damage and confusion, reflected two wounded parents explaining the desperation of a downward financial spiral, and begging for their children, Isabella, 20 and Joseph, 19 to be cared for by those who remain. Their anguish was palpable.
Scarpelli’s note spoke of a beautiful life, turned ugly with overwhelming debt. He titled his missive, “WE HAD A WONDERFUL LIFE…Patricia and I had everything in life.” As the husband and father continued, he recounted a list of financial hardships the couple believed they could not overcome:
September showed the couple owed $23,304 in federal taxes, while another in April 2015 indicated a $232,295 debt.
In 2013, the feds took legal action against Scarpelli for failing to pay back a nearly $60,000 student loan he took out in 2000 while studying at the Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Mo.
Colant’s note resonated with love for their children and read in part, “in sum and substance, our kids are upstairs, please take care of them.” But it also showed the practical side of tying up loose ends:
Colant’s letter included contact information for family and friends and instructed that a specific person notifies their children about their deaths, a law-enforcement source said.
How gut-wrenchingly sad that a seemingly loving family, with a bright, albeit at times, a challenging future, has succumbed to a real American made tragedy.
From a very young age, we have been indoctrinated to believe that hard work, a good education and solid work ethic would advance our generation’s successes beyond our parent’s and grandparent’s wildest dreams. So, here we are, struggling to connect what we believe to be true with the downward helix of reality that we continue to witness. Our once progressive and wealthy country, attempting to right the wrongs of a misguided administration and failing. No, our government did not force this couple to take their own lives. But has it been helpful? Has the gridlock and hate become so severe and divisive, that there will be no end to the hapless struggle of millions seeking to stand tall once more, and live the American dream—or are we doomed just to survive it?