“None of this is anyone’s fault but my own. So please don’t blame yourself or anyone else.”
But CBS Chicago reported that the letters are now gone — accidentally destroyed by the Chicago Police Department, which was investigating the young woman’s death.
Nicole Porter’s mother, Terry Porter, said her daughter was only a semester short from earning her nursing degree — but was tired, stressed and had been in therapy for depression. In February 2015, she committed suicide through an insulin overdose.
She was not diabetic, her mother said.
Chicago police detectives sealed up Nicole Porter’s apartment and took her driver’s license, suicide notes and syringes as evidence but promised to return the letters to her parents once the investigation was complete, Porter said.
The case came to a close earlier this year.
But Porter said that when she and her husband, David, went to retrieve the letters, they were told that their daughter’s last letters had been destroyed.
“I almost hit the floor. I was devastated,” she said. “Those letters were something we wanted — they were meant for her sister, and for me and her dad.”
Chicago police told The Post that it was an accident and that the department is “deeply sorry” for the mistake.
“It was an administrative error,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, adding: “We reviewed it. The chief of detectives has personally ensured we have put another safeguard in place so that this will never happen again.”
Guglielmi said that in non-criminal cases, there is a destruction schedule for evidence, but that when families request the items, a hold is placed on them.
In this case, Guglielmi said, detectives did send a photo of the letters to the parents and “had all intentions” of returning them when the case was closed. But, he said, there was “a paperwork error from one department to another” and the hold was not extended on the suicide notes — so they were destroyed.
“We’re so deeply sorry,” Guglielmi said. “We gave them our deepest condolences, and we apologized for the family’s loss and for the mistake.”
Porter said her daughter’s death was ruled a suicide in May 2015 and, a few months later, she and her husband began asking for their daughter’s letters.
A police detective scanned copies and emailed them to the couple, she said, but he told them he could not release the originals until the case was closed.
“So we left him alone and, during that time, we received the death certificate that gave cause of death as insulin overdose,” she told The Post. “We emailed the detective and said, ‘When can we have the letters?’ ”
In April, Porter said, the detective told them the case had been closed, and the hold had been released on the evidence. But, she said, when she and her husband went to get the letters in May, the notes were long gone.
“It’s hard,” she said. “Suicide notes to somebody else might just be two pieces of paper with words on them, but to me, they were part of her — and they were meant for us. They didn’t belong to the Chicago Police Department.
“If I could just hold them in my hand, it would feel like I could hold a part of her,” she said, her voice cracking. “I feel like that was taken away from me. It’s just really hard.”