Insurance Companies and Law Firms deal with very controversial subject matters. And usually when we are asked to conduct an Investigation for an Insurance Company, we can be assured there is an attorney on the other side.
We were contacted by a Major Insurance Company regarding an apparent suicide, the coroner and the police department both stated the insured committed suicide, but yet the family couldn’t believe he would take his own life. There was just too much, they felt, he had to live for. There was no suicide note, no indication that he was depressed and he was supposed to announce his engagement in less than a week. He and his girlfriend had recently returned from a Caribbean vacation and become engaged during the trip. He had a life insurance policy his parents had taken out on him and his brothers when they were small and had just recently turned the policy over to him. He was now responsible for paying the premiums. He changed the beneficiary from his mother to his fiancé within the last 60 days of his life.
The police found him in his own bed from a drug overdose. There was no evidence of foul play. His girlfriend had spent the night with him and left for work from his apartment. He wasn’t feeling well, so he had called in sick that day. He telephoned his mother to let her know they wouldn’t be coming over for dinner that night. He had dabbled in drugs years ago, but hadn’t touched anything illegal since he quit. After his death, his family collected his personal belongings from his apartment but found it strange they couldn’t find his cell phone. They knew he had taken pictures of his trip and had family photos from various events they wanted to keep. The police were called and informed them they did not recover any cellular device at the scene. This was very strange because he had used the phone the day of his death.
At the funeral his mother saw his fiancé talking to an unknown male, when she asked about it, she was told it was a friend of her son’s, but later when the mother approached him, he was nervous and didn’t seem to know a whole lot about her son. After her son’s services, the family talked about the stranger at the funeral. They felt something just wasn’t right with the situation. They knew their son didn’t commit suicide, that’s all they really knew.
The mother asked the fiancé if she had her son’s cell phone, which she denied having. A few days later a good friend of her son’s brought his cell phone to the mother’s house. It was password protected and she didn’t know the password, that’s when her family attorney contacted our office for cell phone forensics, not for cell phone spyware, but for forensics data recovery. The mother had attempted to input various passwords and none of them opened the phone. We instructed her to bring the phone to our office as the phone was needed so that forensic cellular evidence could be extracted using data mining software. Once the password was by-passed and the information forensically extracted the forensic investigator obtained the deleted text messages to and from her son and his fiance and the contents of those test messages proved without a doubt that her son had taken his own life due to the fact he found out his fiancé was involved with another man. We also obtained documentation that the life insurance policy’s benefactor had been changed back to his mother a few days prior to his death. They found an email that had been saved on his phone to the Insurance Company the attached document of the change of beneficiary, but it had never been sent to the Insurance Company at the time of his death. With these new revelations the change of beneficiary was placed in the hands of his mother’s attorney.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations