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ID-ing friend who committed suicide

(19 Posts)
supernanauna1 Fri 15-Jan-21 19:04:17

A good friend of my son committed suicide yesterday. We believe she had a mental breakdown, probably because of lockdown. She was not born in this country, had several friends but apparently no relatives.

My son contacted the police when she went missing and was completely distraught when they rang to say that his friend is dead. Now they have asked him to do the identification along with another of the dead person's friends. The death was violent and I told him to ask if her face was marked, because he is a sensitive soul and frets and worries about everything and I don't want him suffering nightmares afterwards. The police have reassured him that there may be some dried blood on her face but her injuries won't be visible.

I know he feels he wants to do this for his dead friend but I'm uneasy about it. I've told him the ID can be done from dental records but I think he feels a responsibility towards her, especially because he hadn't spoken to her for a couple of weeks and he didn't realise how bad her mental health was.

I've said I'll go along for moral support even though I won't be allowed to view the body.

What also worries me is that the police have said my son will need to sign some paperwork and I wonder does this mean he will be expected to take responsibility for the funeral etc which wouldn't be fair. He wouldn't even have that sort of money in any case. Does any other poster know what happens when there are no relatives?

We've never been in this situation before and really could do with some advice please.


silverlining48 Fri 15-Jan-21 19:23:29

That is really sad. I am sure your son won’t be expected to deal with a funeral. No doubt the police will be looking to contact any family here or abroad. Maybe a call to clarify how this works might be helpful.

crazyH Fri 15-Jan-21 19:28:35

So sad thoughts are with your son and his friend’s family xx

GagaJo Fri 15-Jan-21 19:33:15

If you think it will affect his mental health, I would advise him not to do it.

I wouldn't be able to do it. I know it sounds selfish and callous, but it would affect me badly for a long time. Possibly trigger depression.

He can't help her now. And he isn't to blame.

Bibbity Fri 15-Jan-21 19:55:05

He will be in no way responsible for the funeral. They need him to formally Identify the body so he will need to sign to do that and confirm her details.

SueDonim Fri 15-Jan-21 20:05:45

How awful, I’m so sorry. flowers

I’m sure your son doesn’t have to do this. In two fairly recent suicides I know of, family were not required to ID their relative, dental records were used.

It sounds a harrowing thing to have to do and your son needs to protect his own well-being - his friend surely wouldn’t want him to suffer as she tragically did.

welbeck Fri 15-Jan-21 20:40:07

agree with GagaJo.
he does not have to do this. surely they can use DNA.
i would advise him to decline.
he may have to attend coroner's court.

Ohmother Fri 15-Jan-21 20:55:01

Encourage your son to contact SOBS. Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. They are easily found if Googled and will offer lots of types of support. He can’t be forced to identify but let him choose. It may help closure for him.

vampirequeen Fri 15-Jan-21 21:36:54

I'm sorry this has happened.

I suppose a physical identification is quicker and lets the police know that they've put the right name to the body which will help them to move the investigation forward. I would imagine that DNA or dental records would take longer.

But if your son doesn't feel up to it then there is no reason for him to do it. What do you think will upset him? Is it because it's a dead body or because it's his friend? I've seen several bodies and they just look as if they're asleep. The police would have warned him if there were unpleasant facial or head wounds. If it's because he would be identifying a friend then he has to put his own mental health first but then if he doesn't he may feel that he's let her's a bit of a Catch 22. Be there to support him...whatever his decision.

He will sign documents to confirm that the body is that of his friend. He won't be taking any financial responsibility. The local council will take care of the funeral if she hasn't left any savings and there is no one to pay.

Take care of yourself as well as your son. This has upset you too and you will push your feelings aside to help your boy. Make sure you find time for yourself and deal with your own feelings and emotions.


BlueBelle Fri 15-Jan-21 22:19:19

It’s far easier to do a physical identification
My 84 year old friend has just done it for her next door neighbour who was dead for nearly a week before anyone knew It’s the last act of friendship your son can give his friend

It sounds as if your son wants to this and as adult it’s his decision to make don’t make too big a thing about it but be there if he was wants to talk afterwards

NotSpaghetti Sat 16-Jan-21 10:04:45

I feel the reality may be less traumatic than the worr9about it. Of course it will be sad but imagining the body is surely worse.

There is a reassurance in seing a body that they aren't there any more.

Alexa Sat 16-Jan-21 10:23:56

"There is a reassurance in seing a body that they aren't there any more."(NotSpaghetti)

I know that is true.

supernanauna1 Mon 18-Jan-21 19:20:17

The ID process was done this morning and my son said it wasn't as harrowing as he expected it to be. Only the face was visible and she looked peaceful.

So my fears were unfounded, for which I'm grateful.

I'm also grateful to those posters who responded. You helped to get my feet back on the ground, so thank you for that.


SueDonim Mon 18-Jan-21 20:20:15


BlueBelle Mon 18-Jan-21 20:23:09

Good to know
Most things in life are so much worse in our thoughts like going to the dentist in my case

GagaJo Mon 18-Jan-21 20:29:01

Glad he coped ok and that you're not quite so worried about him.

Ohmother Tue 19-Jan-21 19:39:00

Keep SOBS in mind for later. X

Hetty58 Tue 19-Jan-21 19:57:33

'there may be some dried blood on her face' is just not right. Bodies are always tidied up before viewing.

No relatives at all? Very unusual too. I think somebody got a few facts mixed up!

NotSpaghetti Tue 19-Jan-21 20:37:15

Thank you for coming back.
Pleased it was not as traumatic as feared.