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Sheriff DiPaola's Suicide Note Impounded

Sheriff DiPaola's Suicide Note Impounded

Middlesex County Sheriff James V. DiPaola

The Boston Herald via YellowBrix

November 29, 2010

MIDDLESEX – Middlesex Sheriff James V. DiPaola told his wife Friday he was going to his office in Medford to clean his desk and then — bringing only a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic and a laptop computer — drove 80 miles north, checked into a seacoast resort in Wells, Maine, dead-bolted the door and within the span of an hour shot himself in the head, police and sources told the Herald.

Those partial details of DiPaola’s matter-of-fact execution of his own death were released yesterday by Wells police, but his suicide note was impounded pending completion of the medical examiner’s investigation — leaving few immediate clues for friends who were stunned by the sheriff’s sudden fatal act.

The remains of DiPaola, 57, a father of three daughters who sources said spent his last Thanksgiving with loved ones, were being held at Bibber Memorial Chapel in Wells, where it’s expected they’ll be released today to Spadafora Funeral Home of Malden.

Police said that DiPaola checked into a second-floor room with a view of a parking lot in the Ledgeview Inn at Lafayette’s Oceanfront Resort between 5 and 6 p.m. Friday, closing the door for the last time on a career in public service spanning more than three decades.

By 7 p.m. he was dead, Wells police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam said, citing investigators’ estimates. He lay down on the bed, muffled his pistol with a pillow and pulled the trigger.

A multipage note DiPaola wrote on a legal pad and left on a dresser has been taken into evidence by the Maine medical examiner’s office, Putnam said. “I have not read it,” she said. “We try to be considerate to the family.”

Among many friends who said they are mystified by DiPaola’s suicide was Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut). She credits DiPaola with getting her legislative career started, and said she hopes his note has some answers for his family: “Hopefully that will help them deal with it.”

Putnam said no alcohol was found in the room, only a note, laptop and gun. The “Do Not Disturb” sign had not been displayed.

Police have not been able to nail down any history between DiPaola, the resort or the state of Maine to help explain why he chose a hotel in Wells, Putnam said. Real estate records don’t show he owned any property there, although friends have said they believed he may have had a place in Maine at some time.

“He checked in for one night and was due to check out Saturday morning,” Putnam said. “I just find it hard to believe that anything would be so terrible.”

From the DiPaola Family:

The entire DiPaola Family wishes to acknowledge the outpouring of support and condolences they have received from colleagues, friends, and acquaintances regarding the loss of their beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother.

We as a family have decided that all funeral and internment services for the Sheriff will be private.

We request that both the public, as well as the media, respect our decision.

No further communications on this matter will be forthcoming.

We thank you in advance for respecting our decision and our privacy.

The DiPaola Family

  • Myavatar_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is so sad. All too often, people in these professions that feel the weight of the world. An error in judgment, a mistake that makes us feel we've let down our friends, family and colleagues. It can be pretty tough living up to the expectations of others, of ourselves. We're all human, we've all made mistakes and some have spun out of control. Nothing can be done to out punish what this man has put himself through that brought him to this end. May God bless you Sheriff DiPaola. May God bless and comfort all who loved you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    It's really awesome to see all of the comfort provided here in this matter. It breaks my heart that such a strong leader is now gone. From far away, not even knowing this family, I feel the losss and sadness for his loved ones and his friends. With the love of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, my family will pray for a spirit of comfort and peace for you that only God can give in this time of mourning. May Mr. DiPaola be honored for his life of service, love, and commitment throughout his life......hold on to the good times, embrace your pain, and let it go. It's easier said than done right now, but it will get better. God is with you always.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Prayers to all in this difficult time. The several page note will explain it, if his family chooses to release the details.

  • Img00033_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My Prayers are with the Sheriff and his family because it is not up to us to judge.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Those of you that did not read the "Earlier Report" above this is the crux of the situation:

    "DiPaola, a 57-year-old Democrat with more than 30 years in public service, had announced abruptly a week ago that he would retire in January, after being questioned by the Globe about his plans to collect a state pension while continuing to serve as sheriff. He had also acknowledged an ethics investigation into his office."

    We had a similar situation in central Mass. where one of the people running for Sheriff was the former Head of the State Police who collected a disability pension for heart disease. People did not vote for him because he (in their minds) did not deserve the pension b/c he could work as a Sheriff. FYI In Massachusetts, Sheriffs do not patrol but are keepers of the Jails and transport prisoners to/from court and serve civil process. Big time different job description from a State Trooper.

    Both of these men were much maligned in the press. Called Cheats, thieves, etc. An entire reputation crushed. When both of them gave more than 30 years to law enforcement;retired and were strong enough to be Sheriffs.

    Sadly, Sheriff DiPaola must have felt that the pressure was too much and committed suicide. Despite Mash's Theme song "Suicide is Painless" it is anything but. The pain and questions left behind for the family is immense despite any note, etc. explaining his reasons.

    If you get to this point reach out for help: family member, clergy, fellow officer, Suicide Anonymous; if u are brave enough to end your life then you should be brave enough to seek help.

    In closing, my heart goes out to the DiPaola family and please allow me to dedicate the epic Stephen Foster song "Hard Times Come Again No More" to the Sheriff's memory.

  • Icpc_sm_max50


    over 4 years ago


    How sad that he could not find a different answer. Praying for the family and gency.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    I am not familiar with the troubles the Sheriff was having, so I can't speak to them. I heard it said some time ago that suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem, and I believe that. Sure wish Sheriff Dipaola had made a different choice .........

  • Bulls_eye_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I have to agree with Jakesdad for the most part. Suicide is a very selfish act. For the person ending their life, it is over, but for those who knew and loved that person, they are left without answers, a profound sense of guilt and the questions of "what could I have done to prevent this". The pain it causes loved ones is unbearable at times and as it is the last action of their loved one, the family and friends are left to deal with it. How can that NOT be selfish. But one must also consider that those who opt to check out in that manner are just not wired the same as those who step up and deal with life as it comes. Some are not equipped mentally to deal with life's problems so they take the only means they deem necessary. Sadly, their last act is a selfish one. I wish the family Godspeed in dealing with this tragedy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I pray the words you left behind will help heal the broken hearts of those who loved you most. RIP, Sheriff.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    cops1521, I think you have as much of the whole picture as anyone can have, right. Jakesdad, MidnightMike, I understand anger towards, and/or incomprehension of, someone for completion of suicide; I'm still dealing with a bit of that in my own life, and probably will 'til my own watch is ended. Let's all keep in mind, there are sooo many other facets to any one person's life, and if he had other personal issues perhaps as big as the one in this story that were stacking up against him, he could have lost sight of life's priorities, and mistakenly thought this was the simplest, most decisive way out.

    I pray for his family, his officers, his brothers and sisters in arms, his friends, that they find strength within themselves and each other, and eventually answers and forgiveness. And I pray for the Sheriff, that God welcomes his bruised soul Home.

  • Img_0231_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I will not speculate on any allegatios made against this man as I find it unseemly to do so. Nor will I speculate as to what, if anything, his act means in all this.

    All I will do is pray for him and his family and offer condolences and support to them and his colleagues. That all that should be done.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Tragic for those left behind. The Sheriff must have decided he was backed into a corner with no way out. He decided suicide was the answer instead of a grand jury indictment.............if he had indeed broken the law.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Prayers to the DiPaola family during this tragic time for them.

  • Dirty_harry_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Prayers for Brother DiPaola's family.

  • Police_car_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Jakesdad, I agree suicide is selfish--he should have stood up and dealt with it all--but unforgiveable, I don't know. None of us really knows what was going through this man's mind, or what else he was dealing with in his personal life. We probably never will. That ME gets a great deal of credit for nor releasing his note.

    As cops1521 says, we need to be there and be ready for other fellow officers who are in such a mental state that this is a possibility for them. IF somebody asks for help, or indicates that they need it, we need to try to assist them.

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