Tracy is discovered to have tragically died of an apparent suicide, after having gone missing for several months. Sadly, she was one of Natasha’s close friends. Tracy’s former colleague Paul becomes a person of interest as he was one of the last people to see her alive just before her disappearance; there is a likely 50-50 chance he might have driven her to suicide. When the local investigators question him he is more than hostile and uncooperative. The detectives just assume he is unable to come to terms with Tracy’s suicide and is not coping at all well with her death. But they have no idea that there is more to it than meets the eye…
Police officers Kate and Tony, partners in the Merseyside Police force, visited Tracy’s former colleague Paul Jacobs, just a few weeks after her funeral. He had been one of the few people to last see her alive, according to one of her family members.
When the detectives knocked on Paul’s door, he wasn’t in the best of moods. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked in an unfriendly tone.
‘Mr. Jacobs,’ Tony announced. ‘We need to speak with you about Miss Preston.’
Without asking for Paul’s permission, they let themselves inside the house.
‘Whatever it is you need to discuss, just save it, okay?” Paul snapped. ‘I really don’t want to see anyone right now.’
‘We totally understand that you are still grieving,’ Kate said. ‘And we don’t expect you to feel like speaking to anybody or having any visitors. But this is extremely important.’
‘What is so important about it that you can’t bombard someone else with your twenty-one questions?’
Very difficult and rather disagreeable man, Kate thought. During her years as a police detective, she had never been forced to deal with such uncooperative people before. It had been made clear that Paul was extremely bitter about Tracy’s death. We were all saddened. But any sadness he had ever felt seemed to have been somewhat replaced – and worsened – by anger.
‘As soon after we are done talking to you, then I promise we will leave you alone,’ she said.
‘How close were you to Miss Preston?’ Tony asked. ‘And when was the last time you heard from her?’
Paul just looked at them as though he couldn’t believe what they were asking. ‘She had severed all ties with everyone and had stopped speaking to us before she finally disappeared.’
So Tracy had disappeared on her own accord, it seemed. But why in hell’s name would she have done that?
‘She just took off and vanished permanently, without any warning,’ Paul continued. ‘She had been gone without a trace for eight whole months. Nobody ever saw or heard from her again. Nobody even mentioned her name or heard it come up. The only time we would ever hear her name again was for the final time – only to learn that she was dead.’
‘We are really very sorry for your loss,’ Kate said. ‘It is sad for anybody to die in such a horrific manner, especially after having been missing for such a long time.’
‘Well, she made the cowardly decision to end her own life,’ Paul said angrily. ‘Nobody else is to blame for her suicide. Only she is.’
‘Fair enough, if that is how you look at it. That is fine. And I don’t blame you for feeling hurt.’
Why was Paul saying all of those things? Obviously, Tracy had been depressed for a long time and had needed help. She had had no intention of hurting any of the people in her life by leaving them behind.
‘Listen, her family and friends are the ones you should be speaking to about this, not me,’ he replied rather stiffly.
Elsewhere, Natasha decides to do her own probing into Tracy’s family history of depression, which may have caused Tracy to tragically end her own life. But when she turns to the Suicide Investigation Centre in order to find answers, Natasha is not prepared for the very disturbing details about her deceased friend…
Meanwhile, I had submitted Tracy’s profile on the Faces of Suicide website, including her date of death and a recent photo of her with a short remembrance message. The local detectives had provided us with information on identifying Tracy’s body after it had been found. They had then told me and my friends how sorry they were. I was in so much pain and sorrow, but appreciated their condolences.
Prior to her death, Tracy had disappeared, and her profile had been advertised on The Missing People Helpline. Soon, the final days of her life would have decreased to hours. By then she would have left a suicide note. But the major problem was that nobody knew where or when.
Tracy hadn’t close to everybody in particular, but those who knew her best knew that she wouldn’t have disappeared like that, no matter how depressed she was or how much her whole life was going downhill. Maybe she had been driven away by someone. According to Anna, Tracy had complained about being constantly harassed by one of the men at our workplace, possibly Paul. Neither she nor Paul got on at all well with each other, and I could tell she hadn’t liked him because she had been suspicious of him. I wouldn’t put it past him, as I didn’t like him myself either, but I had my own reasons. After all, Paul had a history of being unpleasant towards the rest of us (especially when heavily drunk).
If only Tracy’s friends and family had known her last whereabouts, I thought. Then maybe they could have stopped her from taking her own life and therefore they could have saved her.
The one unanswered question on everybody’s mind was why Tracy killed herself. What reason did she have for not wanting to be alive anymore? She must have had more than one reason. What if one or two of the people in her life had been one of those many reasons? Obviously, her suicide had been caused by somebody else. Now her blood would be on the other person’s hands for the rest of their life, and they would have to live with that conscience.
Vanessa O’Hara, another close friend of mine who was also my supervisor, had suggested we use the fax machine at her apartment. Maybe we could retrieve some further answers from the Suicide Investigation Centre.
I typed up a document-sized letter addressed to the S.I.C about Tracy’s disappearance. I filled in details about her low mental state, how long she had been missing, and when her body had been discovered and how she had died. Finally, I finished with the question on why she had committed suicide. Nobody knew how or why. Unfortunately, The S.I.C was the only available source and last resort.
When they faxed the answers back to me, my heart dropped completely. I was overcome with devastation.