The Search for Records on Dave Duerson’s ‘Meticulously Executed’ Suicide

Published September 28th, 2011, Uncategorized

Dave Duerson, the former football star, shot himself to death at his condo in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, on February 17. In addition to being identified by autopsy as a victim of chronic traumatic encephelopathy, he was a National Football League Players Association-appointed trustee of the Bert Bell / Pete Rozelle NFL Retirement Plan.

In an excellent article in the May issue of Men’s Journal magazine, “The Ferocious Life and Tragic Death of a Super Bowl Star,” Paul Solotaroff and Rick Telander wrote, “Apart from the large patch of blood beneath [Duerson], the place was immaculate, said Miami-Dade police officers. Veteran detectives, they said they’d never seen a suicide planned and executed so meticulously.”

I recently submitted requests for all public records from the Duerson file to two Florida agencies: the city clerk of Sunny Isles Beach and the Miami-Dade (County) Police Department. Sources familiar with the bureaucratic flow in those parts say the Sunny Isles Beach documents are likely to contain relatively mundane notes of first responders. The meat of the death investigation is in the hands of MDPD.

In an email today, Major Rey Valdes told me: “Unfortunately, the reports you requested have not been completed” in the Duerson matter – MDPD case number PD110317067557.

Even though it is more than seven months since the Duerson suicide, such a delay is not unusual even in routine cases, Sergeant Theodore Sayre said in a phone conversation. Sometimes a loose end of paperwork, such as a medical examiner’s report, remains unsigned in the crush of more urgent homicide investigations. Sometimes the coordinating detective simply hasn’t yet had an opportunity to dictate, proofread, and formally submit the main closing report.

To be clear, I am not seeking public records because I believe they will reveal baseline facts about the suicide itself different than those already reported. But suicide investigations include probing motives, and toward that end, dead persons’ residences are searched for clues and specifics.

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Meanwhile, still no response from New York writer Rob Trucks or Deadspin.com editor A.J. Daulerio on my repeated requests for more primary data – or even a smidgen of background – on Trucks’ Duerson interview excerpt, which Deadspin published shortly after the suicide.

Trucks and Daulerio may simply be hyper-proprietary and non-public-spirited about their material.

Or they may fear that release of the full Duerson interview transcript or audio, or the negotiations before or after, would expose Trucks’ meticulously executed “oral history project” as the ravings of a mentally disturbed person, offering nothing except exploitation value.

 

Irv Muchnick