Massachusetts mother Carlene Balderrama was so despondent over the imminent foreclosure on her home and the family's dire finances that she apparently saw only one way out: suicide.
Balderrama, 53, hadn't paid the mortgage on the three-bedroom house she lived in with her husband in 42 months, the Boston Herald reported. John Balderrama said he had no idea.
“I had no clue,” he told The Associated Press. He said that unbeknownst to him, his wife had been fielding letters from the mortgage company, PHH Mortgage Corp., and shredding them.
Police investigating her shooting say all the evidence points toward the conclusion that Balderrama took her own life.
“We’re still investigating, but it definitely appears to be a suicide,” Taunton Police Chief Raymond O’Berg told the Boston Herald Thursday.
The Bristol County District Attorney's Office concurs.
“We might look at finances if we thought there was foul play, but all signs point to it being a suicide," spokesman Gregg Miliote told the Herald. "We’ll see where the investigation takes us.”
Balderrama faxed a letter to her mortgage company about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday warning that she'd be dead by the time they foreclosed on her house later that day.
Balderrama apparently shot herself once with her husband's high-powered rifle. Her body was found at 3:30 p.m., after PHH Mortgage called the police.
The mother of a 24-year-old son also apparently left her family a suicide note, discovered next to her body.
"Take the insurance money and pay for the house," she wrote.
It's unclear whether or not John Balderrama, who works as a plumber, will be able to collect money on his wife's life insurance policy, according to the Herald.
“She put in her suicide note that it got overwhelming for her,” he told the paper.
The $232,000 home in Taunton, Mass., about 35 miles south of Boston, was to have been auctioned off at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Interested buyers arrived to take a look while Balderrama's body was still inside, according to O'Berg.
O'Berg said Balderrama's fax read, in part, "By the time you foreclose on my house I'll be dead."
John Balderrama had tried to file for bankruptcy three times since the family purchased the house in 2002, the Herald reported. On two occasions, PHH Mortgage began foreclosure proceedings.
Balderrama's husband was earning about $95,000 a year as a plumber as of April 2006, according to the Herald, and reported bringing in $6,932 a month after taxes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.