Standing: The Reaction

That this page is even necessary is a sad statement about human nature. On the other page, I presented the basic story that is being circulated, propelled in large part by the efforts of Linda Fossen, that Beth Murschell somehow, for some unknown reason, maybe demons, purposely drove DJ Forrester to commit suicide. I then presented the last page of the medical examiner’s official report, showing that her death was in fact an accident.

Remember, these are people who have again and again expressed their concern and horror that DJ supposedly killed herself. They are just so upset about it that they are compelled to speak out.

Wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that if they were to find out that their dearly beloved DJ, the person they were so concerned about, didn’t actually commit suicide at all, they would be delighted? She didn’t sit there in despair, driven to finally take a whole handful of pills in an effort to die? She didn’t. It was an accident. Isn’t that good news?

Isn’t it a good thing for those who knew her well to know that they don’t have to feel guilty thinking that maybe they should have called her an extra time or two, or even driven to her home to stop her from doing what they thought she had done?

Her death was an accident.

Reasonable people would think that’s good news.

Not so for these folks. They are unhappy about it.

The first reaction ignores the whole issue and consists of outrage that I labeled Cathy Harris “St. Catherine of Victimhood.” Outrage because, well, she’s a saint and one cannot disparage saints.

The second is more interesting. Dan Keller, that mighty sleuth, found a little link. It’s an article about how the medical examiner who signed the report on DJ has complaints against her. The implication, of course, is that the medical examiner is wrong. DJ did too commit suicide. We said she did, so she did. And if the medical examiner comes to a different conclusion, well, the medical examiner is bad and wrong.

First, we have a person who was appointed to office by a very controversial governor, and there are complaints. I’m shocked.

Second, the only complaint involving her determinations of causes of deaths involves a perceived propensity on her part to rule prison deaths as homicides even if they are seen as accidental by prison staff. In other words, she is perceived as someone who is more prone to rule something as intentional (homicide) instead of unintentional (accident). Oops.

But this is the best one. Somebody has (gasp!) committed a felony. I got a copy of the supposed death certificate.

After repeatedly insisting that we just “call the courthouse and get a copy of the death certificate,” now doing so is a felony and OMG, this is really bad.

And how could I get it? And I claim to have the toxicity levels. How could I know that? How could I know that?

Death Certificates, Medical Examiner’s Reports, etc., A Little Primer

Even though I worked for years as an RN, I really didn’t understand death documents or the laws surrounding them until our son died. I suppose nobody does until they have to deal with the paperwork that results from a death.

A death certificate is a legal document, very like a birth certificate, used to prove that a person has died and to obtain certain benefits – life insurance proceeds, transfer of property titles, access to bank accounts, among other things. Because it can be used that way, only people with a bona fide reason to have a copy of a death certificate can obtain one.

Linda Fossen was completely wrong. (This is shocking, I know.) Nobody can “call the courthouse and order a copy of the death certificate.” I knew that when she said it, but it’s nice to see her flapping around asserting falsehoods over and over again, so I let her. (An exception to this concerns getting death certificates of people who died a long, long time ago, as genealogical researchers often do.)

The medical examiner’s report is a completely different document. It’s a public record.

I am sitting here at my desk with three such hard-copy reports beside me. One is our son’s. The other two are reports of two young men who died within a day or so of Nate, and from similar causes. We got them because we wanted to know about our son’s death and there was a huge fear on the part of the police at the time that all three deaths were related and perhaps homicides. They were not, but here I sit with all three medical examiner’s reports.

How did we get them? Simple. My husband called the courthouse in Carthage, NC, and requested them.

Would you like to know how Anna Nicole Smith died? Everyone wanted to know at the time. Here you go.

Like Nathan (who was a regional celebrity), the entire medical examiner’s report is publicly available and was reported in the press.

How about Michael Jackson? Yep. Here you are. And if you want a copy of the whole thing, you can get that too.

It’s public information, folks. Just request a copy, pay whatever fee is required, and it’s yours.

What I posted on the other page was just the last page, which is a summary and includes the conclusions, the cause and manner of death, and the medical examiner’s signature.

In DJ’s case there are three other pages. Because I am not a completely insensitive jerk, I did not post the whole thing. It has a detailed description of the condition of her body and her internal organs. If you want to read all that, get your own copy. The drug toxicity levels are there too.

I did not post all that because it’s not relevant. Toxicology reports are very comprehensive. If you took a decongestant two days before you died, it shows up. However, none of that is meaningful in determining the cause of death. Apart from possible drug interactions, your decongestant would have had no effect whatever on your death.

And this raises a question, one I asked Fossen the other day. How do the authorities know it’s an accident and not suicide? How can that be determined?

I knew the answer to the question when I asked. There is often a very clear way to know. I was trying, successfully, to paint Fossen into a corner. She obliged me.

Linda Fossen didn’t have the slightest idea how DJ Forrester died. Not a clue. She had just gone on the “source” who told her that the death had officially been ruled a suicide by the state of Florida. If there was a source.

I am not a medical examiner. I don’t pretend to be one or to know even a fraction of what is involved. However, I do know a weensy bit about blood levels of drugs. Toxicology reports are sort of meaningless if you don’t have something to compare them with. It’s a bit like looking at the results of your lab tests when you go to the doctor. If they didn’t have those notations that say “Normal level: X mg – XX mg,” you wouldn’t know anything from reading them (unless you do this all the time and have the various levels memorized).

Our son, for example, had 0.03 mg% methadone in his aortic blood. So what does that mean? I had no idea, so I looked it up. The toxic level for methadone is 0.02 – 0.2 mg%. In other words, Nathan’s blood level of methadone was just a fraction (0.01 mg%) over the toxic level. He had ingested just barely enough to be toxic. What does that mean?

It means that he had taken enough of the drug to cause “untoward symptoms.” With methadone, as with other opiates, that can and does include respiratory depression, as well as a pretty severe loss of consciousness. The person will just not wake up, or will be so drowsy that they are incoherent and unable to control their movements.

With methadone, the lethal dose is 0.04 – 0.2 mg%. Now what does that mean?

It means that you’re dead.

As you can clearly see, my son didn’t have lethal blood levels. He had toxic blood levels. He also had a pretty severe case of sleep apnea. And the two things probably caused his death (methadone and other opiates are absolutely contra-indicated in people who have sleep apnea, especially when untreated as his was.)

DJ’s blood levels of oxymorphone were similar to Nathan’s levels of methadone — just barely into the toxic zone.

But wait. Why are there such wide variances? That’s because what is “toxic” for you might not be toxic at all for me. And what might be lethal for me might not kill you.

For example, I cannot consume much alcohol (another drug). If I have more than two decent-sized glasses of wine, well… I just don’t do that, because I know what happens. Other people can drink half a bottle of wine and be fine. Everyone’s tolerance level is a little different. It’s the same with these opiates.

And that is, among other things, what indicates that neither DJ nor Nathan was suicidal. When you’re trying to kill yourself, you take a whole bottle of pills, or at least a whole handful. If you do that, your blood level will be in the lethal area.

There is no way to determine how many pills either of them took. I know because I asked. They cannot tell. Everyone’s metabolic rate is different. It also can make a difference if the person took three pills all at once, or took one pill and then another a half hour later, and then a third a half hour after that.

However, what we do know for certain is that DJ Forrester did not take 25 oxymorphone tablets. The number would have been closer to two, or maybe three, and maybe spaced out.

Her blood level is consistent with a scenario where she was in pain (physical pain) and took her regularly scheduled pill and then decided that she was hurting so badly that she took a huge chance and took another pill. She went to sleep and never woke up.

That, combined with the absence of any suicide note or empty pill bottles lying about, indicates an accident.

And Now Back to the Subject

All of this stuff has been raised in order to deflect us from the real issue here. Linda Fossen and company (while Fossen is by far the most vocal, she is not the only person guilty here) have accused Beth Murschell of what amounts to plotting to drive a person to suicide, and current plotting to do it yet again. You cannot be guilty of driving somebody to commit suicide if they didn’t commit suicide.

It’s absolutely ridiculous to have to repeat this.

But when confronted with this information, Maytag’s response is simply “No.” She will leave her completely false, totally fabricated, entirely made-up, libelous accusations firmly in place. While this is unfortunate in the sense that the libel remains in place against Beth and the lie remains about DJ’s death, it’s actually sort of good because I can continue to link to it so that everyone can see what a vicious lunatic she is.

Update on Maytag’s vicious blog

One of Beth’s children saw the tombstone graphic on Maytag’s blog. Maytag, who has no children and hasn’t got a clue what constitutes good parenting, is glad.

If this is hard to read, it’s because I have not altered the size of the type. This is Maytag’s response to realizing that the medical examiner’s report was, in fact, real, and that her source was incorrect/lying/drunk/delusional/nonexistent. The blog itself with the accusations about DJ committing suicide and Beth being the cause remains intact.

By the way, I do not “join” with Linda M. Fossen in anything, ever, period. Nothing. Ever. She’s trying to mitigate the embarrassment of having been proven absolutely wrong. The apology to DJ’s family is appropriate, although it should be in a font size that is readable at normal computer resolution. The refusal to remove the statements about DJ committing suicide that are completely false, and to refuse to remove the accusations that Beth drove her to do so is just mind-boggling and are indicative of the sort of person she is.

And this is one of Maytag’s collaborators (or Maytag herself, who knows?) insisting that a “correction” was published — which you can see above. And that there was no “intentional lying.”

Well, yes, there was intentional lying. Maytag said, repeatedly, that her “source” had said that the source talked with DJ’s son and that he said that the death had been ruled a suicide by the state of Florida. This is absolutely false. DJ’s son never told anyone any such thing, and Maytag knows it.

In her world, maybe this is an “error.” In mine, it’s a lie.

There are only two possibilities: either Maytag had no source and Maytag was lying, or Maytag’s source was lying.

Prescription opiates are dangerous. Please know that. More people die from accidental overdoses of prescription opiates every year than from heroin and cocaine combined. Some of these are due to diverted use. Some are deaths of the patients who were prescribed the drug. If you have pain that is not relieved by your pain medication, do not double up on the dose. Call your doctor. Call him sixty times if you have to. Tell him you will bring the pills to his office and let him watch you dispose of them if he’s hesitant to write you a new prescription for fear that you’re going to divert the ones you already have. Do whatever you need to do, but do not take a second or third pill. And do not mix them with other pain killers. Just don’t.

I did not know DJ Forrester well at all. I had interacted with her a few times on the various Survivor’s forums, and that’s all. I never knew her to be anything but a very nice woman who seemed thoughtful, intelligent, and kind. I’ve been in contact with several people who knew her better than I did. And they tell me of a woman who was looking towards the future, filled with optimism about it and managing to cope with her ongoing physical problems with courage and grace. One of them wrote this and sent it to me. I thought it appropriate to add here.

Remembering DJ Forrester Roberts


Do not remember me as one gripped by fear
No matter what, I kept a smile on my face dear
My journey was hard and long
But no one could steal my song

Our lives are very cruel, hard, unfair and rough
Somehow inside we all endure and remain tough
Never hope did I let go
Even though life sent many woe

Not defined by things that happened to me
Defined by my fight back –how the world I see
Think of me for just a while
Remember my happy smile

I held fast to my rope even as it burned
Never letting go for hope– justice I yearned
Your journey has its own length
Go on with courage and strength