|Correspond with us, including our executive editor, professor
Yves A. Isidor, via electronic mail:
|email@example.com; by way of a telephone: 617-852-7672.
|Want to send this page or a link to a
friend? Click on mail at the top of this window.
learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008
Facing foreclosure, wife pumps fatal shots into her body
By The Associated Press
TAUNTON, MA — A 53-year-old wife and mother fatally shot herself soon
after faxing a letter to her mortgage company saying that by the time they
foreclosed on her house that day, she would be dead. Police in Taunton said
Carlene Balderrama used her husband’s high-powered rifle to kill herself Tuesday
afternoon after faxing the letter at 2:30 p.m.
|Carlene Balderrama, 53. Courtesey
The mortgage company called police, who found Balderrama’s body at 3:30 p.m. in
her raised ranch house. The medical examiner’s office also responded to the
scene, according to police logs.
The auction was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and interested buyers arrived at
the property in Taunton while Balderrama’s body was still inside, according to
police Chief Raymond O’Berg.
Police did not immediately release the name of the mortgage company. O’Berg said
Balderrama’s fax read, in part, “By the time you foreclose on my house, I’ll be
O’Berg also said a suicide note found next to Balderrama told her husband, John,
and 24-year-old son to “take the (life) insurance money and pay for the house.”
Balderrama’s husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy three years in a row, from
2004 to 2006, but the courts dismissed the petitions. Those are reorganizations
in which debtors with regular income work out repayment plans with creditors.
Debtors who declare bankruptcy under Chapter 13 are generally allowed to keep
their homes while paying off their debts over three to five years under a
court-approved bankruptcy plan.
“I had no clue,” said John Balderrama explaining that his wife handled all of
the couple’s finances. “I’m just lost. I tell you, I’m beside myself.”
He said Carlene had been intercepting letters from the mortgage company and
shredding them without his knowledge. He had no idea she hadn’t paid the
mortgage in 42 months.
“She put in her suicide note that it got overwhelming for her,” he told The
Associated Press in a phone interview today. “Apparently she didn’t have anyone
to talk to. She didn’t come to me. I don’t know why.”
According to the Taunton Assessor’s Office, the home at 103 Duffy St. is valued
at $283,300. The brown shingled raised ranch sits on a 17,860-square-foot lot.
|Robert E. Kline for The Boston Globe.
Several cars were seen parked outside the address this afternoon, and several
people inside peeked through a window at a reporter. A television set could be
A long-haired man who answered the door said he didn’t want to comment.
“Just leave. We don’t want to talk to nobody,” he said before closing the front
The neighborhood is located in a cul de sac housing development not far from
Taunton High School. Several houses in the quiet neighborhood have “for sale”
signs on them.
Dire economic times can result in increased stress and even a rise in suicide
rates, said Thomas Butero, site director at the Pleasant Street office in New
Bedford of Child & Family Services Inc., a private nonprofit organization.
“It conjures up all kind feelings of hopelessness, despair and a real sense of
failure” for a family’s primary breadwinner, Butero said.
However, people usually do not kill themselves over a single event or issue.
Instead, suicides often follow a series of difficulties, he said. Suicidal
individuals also tend to experience a narrow “either-or” view of situations, and
they isolate themselves from others, he said.
Butero stressed organizations like Child & Family Services can provide
counseling to those suffering from such anxiety.
Joe Whitney, who works with Balderrama’s husband, a plumber, said Balderrama
handled the bills and her husband didn’t know about the foreclosure.
“John didn’t even know about it. That’s the surprise,” Whitney told The Boston
Globe. “It’s just one of those awful, awful, tragic events.”
Neighbors on the forested side street said Balderrama had lived in the home for
about four years with her husband, John, who is a plumber, and their 24-year-old
Noreen Mendes, who lived about four houses down the street from Balderrama, said
she often stopped and chatted with her.
Mendes said Balderrama never mentioned any financial problems, but often spoke
about repairs the family was making to their house. Two weeks ago, a contractor
came to the house to give Balderrama an estimate on a roof replacement, Mendes
“She was just so sweet, so nice. I never realized she had any problems, so it is
just shocking,” Mendes said. It was not immediately clear if Balderrama’s family
would receive benefits from her life insurance.
Most life insurance policies have a “suicide provision” that states benefits are
not payable if the person covered kills himself or herself within a certain
period after taking out the insurance, said Loretta Worters, spokeswoman for the
Insurance Information Institute. These provisions typically stipulate a period
of two years when suicide results in loss of benefits, Ms. Worters said. S
tandard-Times staff writers Brian Boyd and Joao Ferreira contributed to this
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of
democracy and human rights