Murder/Suicide Mystery In Georgia

Tom Sublett was the Commissioner of Glynn County, Georgia. He body was discovered this past December in a lake. His hands were tied and he had a gunshot to the head. The Coroner ruled it a suicide.

Facts of the case include:lake

  • There was a gun found in Mr. Sublett’s car but not near the lake;
  • Authorities also uncovered unused bullets, zip ties, empty prescription bottles (belonging to he and his wife), Mr. Sublett’s wallet, and blood evidence on the dock and the car;
  • He was last seen playing poker with friends the night before his death;
  • Was described as a well-liked, trusted man; and
  • Had no history of substance use or abuse, depression or suicidal thoughts.

Mr. Sublett’s family “strongly disagrees” with the Coroner’s ruling as a suicide. There is a $70,000 reward for his any information about his death.

There are likely other facts of the case that have not been reported but its unclear how an individual shoots themselves in the head when their hands tied.

NY Daily News

This story reminds me of a recent documentary that aired on PBS who asked the question: Should we abolish coroners? The National Academy of Sciences say yes.

Coroners are not necessarily trained medical professionals. Qualifications vary greatly state to state. PBS, citing the National Association of Medical Examiners, noted the following problems with coroners:

  • Colorado recommends and encourages but does not require their coroners to be trained in forensic death investigations.
  • Jay County, Indiana elected an 18-year old to the position of deputy coroner while she was still in high school.
  • Georgia, the state discussed in the above story, only requires that their coroners be at least 25-years old, be a high school graduate, complete one week of death investigation training, and not be a convicted felon.

Watch this PBS Clip About Abolishing Coroners:

Watch Should We Abolish Coroners? on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

The 4 Best Questions To Ask a Teen Who Might Be Suicidal

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health describe the development of a new and improved questionnaire to better assist ER doctors in identifying teens who are strongly at risk for suicide. In their study, four questions in particular where found to be the most accurate for identifying youth at risk for attempting suicide: Suicide Questions

The study authors estimated that without these improved screening questions, 14 patients would have gone undetected and thus untreated.

You can read more about the study here.

These might be the four most important questions you can ask a troubled teen. It could save their life.

Another study this week showed that one is 25 teens attempt suicide. One is eight teens contemplate suicide.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, seek help immediately. Go to the emergency room if you feel that you cannot protect yourself. Call 911 in immediate emergencies.


Incredible and Memorable Video: “Why I Jumped”

Tina Zahn was a mother of two, wife, church and school volunteer in addition to working full-time. She was also struggling with postpartum depression. One day, she was so distraught, she rushed to her car and decided that it was time to end her life by jumping off a 200-ft bridge. Unbelievably, 911 was called and she was saved. Part of this video is taken from the surveillance camera of a State Trooper’s vehicle. You have to see it to believe it.

Interestingly, Tina reports that she did not recall anything about the event until months later.

Studies of suicide survivors show that their decision to end their lives was often not well-planned. Those decisions were often made impulsively, just like in Tina’s case.

Know the Risk Factors For Postpartum Depression.

Below are some book recommendations:

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Documentaries About Suicide

A reader asked if I knew of any documentaries about suicide. I knew of several but I wanted to research what else was available. The result: relative to other subjects, there are hardly any documentaries about suicide. It may be because it is a controversial topic. Some people believe that focusing on suicide might increase its likelihood.

Probably the most famous documentary about suicide is The Bridge which caused a great deal of controversy during production. Watch the video of The Bridge‘s filmmaker Eric Steel being interviewed by Charlie Rose.

Below is a list of documentaries about suicide. If I missed any, please let me know in the comments section.

1. The Bridge: A documentary about individuals who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It features friends and family members of individuals who jumped from the bridge and also at least one person who jumped and survived.

2. How To Die In Oregon: (HBO Documentaries): Oregon was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. This film discusses Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act and features several terminally-ill patients who chose to end their life with medication prescribed by their physician.

3. Boy Interrupted: (HBO Documentaries): This film tells the story of a 15-year-old with bipolar disorder who committed suicide. The film also examines what it was like for his family to deal with his mental illness and his loss.

4. Jonestown: (PBS FRONTLINE) This documentary is about Rev. Jim Jones and the mass suicide in Jonestown in 1978. The phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” is thought to have derived from the Jonestown tragedy. Over 900 men, women and children drank soft drinks laced with cyanide for the purpose of ending their lives. There are several documentaries about Jonestown but this one particular is told from the perspective of cult defectors, relatives and journalists.

5. *Heaven’s Gate: This documentary is about a San Diego-based cult that was formed by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles in which 39 members committed mass suicide. The purpose of ending their lives was to reach an alien spacecraft which they thought was following Comet Hale-Bopp. If you’re interested in cults you’ll like this documentary.

6. Cry For Help: (PBS FRONTLINE): This documentary follows the efforts of two high schools attempting to address adolescent teen suicide and mental illness. Many people who have seen this documentary find it to be very compelling.

7. The Self-Made Man: This is a documentary made by Susan Stern whose father committed suicide at the age of 77. You can read more about the film here.

8. Kevorkian: (HBO Documentaries): This is less of a documentary in the traditional sense but a film about the life of Jack Kevorkian starring Al Pacino. Jack Kevorkian has performed over 130 physician-assisted suicide and has earned the name “Dr. Death.” His work is very controversial. It is an interesting documentary and worth watching.

PBS FRONTLINE also has a documentary about Dr. Kevorkian.

9. Daughter of Suicide: This is a documentary by Dempsey Rice, whose mother was a psychotherapist and an amateur photographer. It is the story of her mother’s death by suicide as well as an in-depth look at the healing process of the family. Daughter of Suicide is the recipient of many awards.

10. Aftermath: The Legacy of Suicide: This documentary deals with how children cope after the death of a parent by suicide. It features three people who lost their fathers to suicide at an early age.

Suicide Survival Story

Some individuals attempt [amazon_link id=”0375701478″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]suicide [/amazon_link]and live. Studies have shown that those who have lived are often thankful they survived. Many were able to receive help and never considered suicide again.

A blog reader was kind enough to share a [amazon_link id=”0375701478″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]suicide [/amazon_link]survival story. This story has the power to be inspirational to others who may feel hopeless or that their life can’t improve. This story is a testament to the fact that life can be better.

If you would like to share your suicide survival story, please click here for submission. All personal information will be removed and your post may be slightly modified.

Disclaimer. This is not a substitute for psychological advice. If you are feeling suicidal then you should get help immediately. Call 911 or go to the hospital. 

One Reader’s Story

In this moment is hard but reassuring to write about my story. I have Bipolar Disorder. When I was a child and a teen, did’t know it, just was sad most of the time, and had days, weeks or months when everything was possible. Mi grades reflected it so good, some months I failed or got 6 (I live in Mexico and the grades are numbers, it will be something like D), and some others straight 10 (like an A). I always thought, and I guess my parents too, that it was my will. Like just made an effort when I wanted to.

I grew up, and started medicine school, ’cause I wanted to become a neurologist since I remember, I was doing ok, but like 5 or 6 months after I entered, I started having trouble concentrating, I did’t want to do anything, and was tired all the time, I thought I didn’t like my choice of career, so I quit. Mi parents got scared at first, because it was all of sudden. The thing is I lost my purpose, and my way in life with this. I didn’t know what to do.

Since that moment, everything was like black, I was sad most of the time, did a major in Communication studies, but did’t like it. I was hospitalized like 3 times in a psych ward, and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and whatever, and I tried to kill myself 3 times, the last one, almost got it. I was in the hospital for a week, and unconscious like 5 days. That one, was really significative for several reasons: 1. It wasn’t planned, or like I was feeling sad for long time, or something, I just feel so bad that night, and wanted to ended everything. 2. I regreted, after I took the pills (a lot, of everything, antipsychotics, antidepressant, etc), I realized what I have done, and that I didn’t want to die yet, so I call my doctor, and she send an ambulance, I guess that’s why I can tell my story now. 3. I realized I didn’t want to die, just to stop the feeling of sadness and emptiness, so I promised myself I wouldn’t do it again.

Since that moment, (like 3 years ago) I have accepted I have a disease, that there is a part that might not be completely in my hands, I really work very hard not to feel too depressed (not so hard not to be manic, honestly I like mania), I swim, do yoga, play tennis, eat correctly, sleep well, take my meds, have a routine, and that helps me a lot. But there are days, like today, when everything is black again. The difference, and what I would tell someone who wants to kill him/herself, is that today I know is not forever, maybe today everything is black, but maybe tomorrow everything will be colorful again, and the thing with bipolar is, that some other day everything will be so bright, and beautiful, that I will understand life, death, love, the universe, everything, for a moment (and honestly I love when that happens).

I would say that, it passes, everything passes (I know it sounds like a Hallmark card but is true). And, maybe, what have worked for me, has been to concentrate on beautiful things, stuff that makes me happy and laugh. For instance, I refused watching news, and watch cartoons on TV, although I am 33 years old, and I know is not a grown up thing to do. I worked at home doing something I enjoy so much, working in an office made me very nervous, and then I had hallucinations, so it was not cool. Uh, I have a dog, and enjoy walking with him in the park, I have an organic garden. I don’t know, for each person is different, but try to do things that make you feel happy, that make you laugh.

Mi point is, in my case I know I suddenly feel very depressed, and in that moment, I want to die (even today). But now I know is not forever, also when I don’t feel so sad I work in finding activities I enjoy and love, so in my blue moments, when I feel like doing nothing, I do it, and out of sudden I don’t feel that bad.

I am happy I survived, because I feel sadness, and emptiness, since I was a kid. I mean, it didnt’ know what it was, but I feel so bad most of the time. And there was a time when I believed I will never feel ok. I remember one day I said to my best friend (when she was depressed) that I didn’t want to die without feeling happy, really happy not manic, (is different) one day. That would be the saddest thing in a life (I believe). Now I have experienced happiness and peaceful of mind for months, and is awesome,  I can’t wait to be there again.

Maybe, my experience is a little bit idiotic, I know, is not very amazing, is just a struggle of a mind that goes to extremes trying to find balance, but I hope it helps someone else. I just want to finish saying that I get it, I feel it, when is hard to open your eyes and get out of bed. When you walk on the street with sunglasses so people can’t see your tears, when smiling is painful. When you would like to beg someone, anyone, to take away your pain ’cause you feel you can’t stand it anymore, but words won’t come out of your mouth. Actually, I’m in there right now, and all I can tell myself, and others like me, is tomorrow everything will be bright again, I (and you) will be able to enjoy music, trees, swimming, my (your) pet, etc, all we have to do today is hang in there, and get out of bed even though it hurts today.


Just a little epilogue. Today everything is colorful again. I don’t feel a 100% yet, but I feel so much better. I was depressed for 5 days, that kind of depression where you want to be death, but I was able to stop it in 5 days instead of months. It used to take me months and lots of meds to get over it. What I do (and hope it work for others) is simple:

1) get out of bed in the morning (even though I really don’t want to)

2) try not to skip or cancel any activity or appointment (I know is hard I cried everyday in my commute, and a lot)

3) eat well, not skip meals (even though I wasn’t hungry)

4) not sleep more than usual (8-9 hours per day, I know I sleep a lot, but I need it, haha!). Although I might need a short nap, because let’s admit it being depressed is exhausting. But keep it short, not all afternoon.

5) go out for a walk, and try to say hi to people you usually meet, and help someone.

6) talk to others about mundane topics. (it helps to distract your mind)

7) do something that kills hours, and help you forget everything. (In my case is paint my nails, cut the damaged tips of my hair, drawing or coloring something)

I think is the most important, I remember my former therapist always telling me that I needed to do things when I was depressed, and I was like “come on, you are not feeling this pain, how come can I do any activity.” And as a result I ended overdosing with pills, or having an accident, or in a hospital without doing anything for myself. Now I do what she said. I know is the complete opposite, I mean, one feels like can’t do anything. And I won’t lie, it hurts like hell. Is harder than staying in bed or try to kill yourself, but always works. Doesn’t hurt less, but certainly the feeling that something is killing your soul, lasts less.