The circumstances of his death, as told by his mother
My son David was married September of 1998. He was only 20 and she
was 19 with a baby on the way. The following year brought us a beautiful granddaughter.
Unfortunately the stresses of life come along and things happen with consequences. My son
and his wife did drugs, that is how he met her. During their marriage I do not believe
they were doing drugs, if they were it was minimal. My son was finally growing up I
could see him standing up tall, goals and dreams and proud of his family.
Then one night after Fathers Day they had a fight in the early
morning hours. The baby was crying, they exchanged words, my son punched his wife on the
mouth for which she received a few stitches. As far as I know he had never hit her before
but this one incident cost him everything.
The police took her from the hospital to the Womens Shelter. He
never got to speak to her again after that night. He never saw his child again after that
night. This is was June of 1999.
He came to me at my workplace the next day and told me he just got out
of jail. I said for what? He broke into tears and told me he hit her he cried, and
cried and cried. I called her mother but understandably met much hostility. His wife
stayed at the Womens Shelter for a whole week and then moved home to her mothers.
She had put a restraining order on David and also on the 4-plex apartment they were living
in. He could not see her and he could not go home. I spent hours talking with David her
the next month and a half trying so hard to keep his hopes up.
In July she served him with custody papers and he was told the divorce
papers would follow soon. He was crushed. I could see him sinking into a hole, I called
her mother again and told her to tell his wife he was suicidal the mother would not
let me speak to my daughter-in-law no contact was allowed. The mother told me to
take him to the hospital. On several occasions we tried to contact her family and asked
her to please let David talk to his wife and at least ask for forgiveness. He was never
granted a conversation. No one had any feelings for David. David and his wifes
family doctor told him he deserves what hes going to get.
During all this time the appointments with the lawyer, counsellors,
psychiatrist were all happening. He was enrolled in Anger Management classes. It was his
responsibility to show sufficient remorse which her family didnt believe he was
doing. The court days came and kept being pushed off for lack of one document or another.
Finally David demanded this charge be settled and told his lawyer to finish it even it
meant he went to jail. Every time we went to the courthouse he eagerly hoped for his wife
to come but she never did. The courts were not fair they gave him a $1,000
fine, a year he could not contact or speak with his wife and a years probation. It would
be their first anniversary in September, only 1 Ĺ months away.
David sunk deeper with no hope. I convinced him to go to the hospital
and he was admitted into the psychiatric ward. He was there for two nights and one day. He
again walked into where I worked and I asked him what he was doing out. He said the doctor
said he was not suicidal go home. (I wonder how many more signs they needed
I saw them all.) My heart sank as I once again knew the danger at hand. I told people he
was suicidal they told me he had an attitude.
We managed to get the restraining order of his apartment so we could
pack it up as he did not have the rent money and was living with us. We asked the landlord
to contact her and tell her to take all that she wanted out as we were going in to pack it
up. She said she wanted nothing. It was very hard and emotional to go there with my son
and pack up all their things. We put this all in storage in our garage.
He met with his probation officer. That day, Monday, August 16th,
1999 the officer called me to tell what a nice young man I had for a son and he was going
to do just fine. David came and we went for coffee and he told me he was starting a job
the next day and was joining a band and teased me because I didnt know he
could sing. Then out of the store across the street from the coffee shop came his wife and
baby in the baby carriage. I told him he could not go talk to her yet we had to do
this the legal way. His eyes filled with tears and we left the coffee shop. I watched him
leave in his car and my heart sank.
That day was busy and he called me later and talked to me for awhile. I
tried to lift him up but I was worried. I told him I would be home at 5 and we would talk
some more. Work got very busy so I called my daughter to call and talk to her brother,
which she did for quite a lengthy time.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. I stood in my store and I felt my son there.
My friend asked me why I was staring into the wall, so I brushed it off. A few minutes
later I called home, no answer. I left for home right before 5 and all the way home I
knew. I came up to the door of the house and it was locked, first clue. I came into the
house and saw a note on the door jam of the basement. I read only the first line before I
raced down the stairs "To my family, if you are reading this note it means I
have taken my own life
In the basement was his bedroom and I could see he was not lying on his
bed. For a moment I was relieved but in the meantime I had walked a few more steps
and saw his feet on the floor on the other side of the bed. I raced over to him
there he lay a gun under him, a shot between his eyes, blood streaming away from
his head. That moment cannot be described. I remember telling him he was not be laying on
a cold concrete floor. 911 went through my head. I ran upstairs to the phone as the
portable was not working and the operator kept me on the phone until the police came. At
one point I did convince the operator to let me go back to see him to see if he was alive,
but he was dead so I went back to the phone to tell her. Again she would not let me off
the phone. I wish I had held him before they took him away.
The police took me down to the police station and we were not allowed
home until they were finished in the house. We went home about 10 p.m. and family members
went downstairs and cleaned up the blood. I went down and saw the corner of his bedspread
full of blood and we put that in a garbage bag and threw it away. My husband had an
antique rifle he had for years, never used and never had bullets for it. Didnt even
know it worked it was hidden in the basement up in the rafters. David found it and
got bullets and used it it worked just fine. The police called and asked us if we
wanted the rifle back we said no.
No one can describe a loss of a son. I slowly watched him die, I stood
by helpless - no one would listen no one would help. No one believed. It was summer
time and everyone was on holidays help was very scarce and hard to find and always
postponed. We tried to help him, we loved him, we miss him.
Donna Bengert, Mother of David
Back to Men Who Broke
The White Rose
Thoughts are Free
Posted 2003 02 04
2003 02 11 (Replaced Donna Bengert's account of her son's death with the final
version of her report)