Police say Mass. woman facing foreclosure commits suicide
A 53-year-old woman shot herself to death Tuesday afternoon after she sent a fax to her mortgage company threatening suicide because of plans to auction off her home later in the day, police said.
Carlene Balderrama was apparently distraught that the company was planning to sell her foreclosed house at 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Taunton Police Chief Raymond O’Berg.
O’Berg said officers found Balderrama dead of a gunshot wound inside her 103 Duffy Drive house just over an hour after employees at the mortgage company, the name of which has not been released, received the ominous fax message and called police.
“By the time you foreclose on my house I’ll be dead,” O’Berg said the fax read in part.
The chief also said a suicide note found next to the body urged the woman’s husband and son to “take the insurance money and pay for the house.”
“It’s a tragedy,” O’Berg said as he stood in front of the two-story, brown-shingled house. “The financial stress must have been too much.”
O’Berg said he understood that the woman’s husband had no idea the house was about to be auctioned.
“She handled all the bills,” the chief said.
O’Berg also said he had been told that Balderrama had asked the mortgage company for an extension and been granted one, but he couldn’t explain why interested buyers showed up at the property expecting an auction while Balderrama’s body was still inside.
Her husband was informed by police of his wife’s death when he arrived home from work after 5 p.m. He pulled up in a pickup truck belonging to North Shore Mechanical Contractors, a Danvers-based company.
One neighbor said in the couple of years that he’s lived on Duffy Drive he has waved and said hi, but never spoken to the family.
The man, who declined to give his name, said in his mind the tragedy was especially unfathomable since he assumed Balderrama’s husband made a decent living as a plumber. He said the son worked at a nearby restaurant but that Balderrama seemed to spend most of her days at home.
He added that just last month, Balderrama’s husband had replaced the backyard deck on the couple’s home.
Across the street at 100 Duffy Drive, Joseph and Laura DaPonte were likewise shocked by the tragedy.
“Oh my God, oh my God,” Laura DaPonte kept repeating when she heard the news.
Joseph DaPonte said in the 32 years he and his wife have lived on Duffy Drive, they have never encountered anything comparable to Tuesday’s events.
DaPonte also said the fact that the house across the street had been foreclosed was not a secret.
“My brother-in-law saw it online,” he said.
The DaPontes said Balderrama, her husband and their son moved in three or four years ago from northern New England and generally kept to themselves.
“We only said hi,” Joseph said. “We don’t even know her name.”
An investigation is being handled by Taunton investigators and state police working out of the Bristol County District Attorney’s office.