The blow of her husband’s suicide was difficult enough for Kim Cutts, but the aftermath hit hard, too.
She would like folks to be aware about details after such a tragedy. Cutts said she was traumatized when she was given back her husband’s property at the medical examiner’s office. The items included bloody rosary beads.
She has company in the aftermath department. At a new John Lennon exhibit in New York, his widow, Yoko Ono, shows the paper bag containing bloody clothes from the night he was shot to death.
About 29 years later, Ono still has the sack she was handed from the medical examiner’s office.
Cutts shared 17 years of her life with her husband, Robert Cutts, 38. He was like a father to her son, who is 18. Robert Cutts’ sons are 19 and 20.
The couple loved to dance, play board games and watch Disney movies. He worked as a welder, but was off on medical leave due to a car wreck.
He got depressed during his recovery, she said.
“I never got him back.”
Kim Cutts knew her husband had a handgun when he sped off last July 18 from their Everett apartment in her Jeep Cherokee.
“He said ‘Goodbye,’” she said. “The last thing I said was ‘Quit being a baby.’”
A couple riding ATVs found Robert Cutts’ body two days later in the boonies of Monroe. His wife got that awful knock on the door from the police.
Her husband, a graduate of Monroe High School, left a lengthy suicide letter saying he loved his wife very much, had lost his faith in God and felt the “weight of the world” on his shoulders.
Life doesn’t get any worse than that, but for Kim Cutts, it was not the bottom of the pit. She said she was treated callously by workers at the office of the county medical examiner and at the evidence room. Routine procedures were devastating, she said.
Cutts said she was given back a bloody gun, provided explicit paperwork she didn’t want to read and shown little courtesy when she retrieved her husband’s personal effects.
“I was widowed by my husband,” Cutts said, “And lost by the system.”
Snohomish County remembers things differently, said spokesman Christopher Schwarzen.
At the medical examiner’s office, Cutts said contents of an envelope, including her husband’s bloody rosary beads, were strewn on a coffee table in the lobby.
There is a private family room at the medical examiner’s office, but it was occupied, Schwarzen said. He said family members are told about what will be revealed in the envelope.
It was important, Cutts said, to find out if her husband was taking any nonprescription drugs. She said she asked for toxicology findings. She was handed the autospy with explicit details about the state of her husband’s body that she found to be the stuff of nightmares.
“It is unusual for someone to just ask for one part,” the spokesman said. “In this case, there is no record that the spouse only asked for the toxicology report.”
Cutts was traumatized when the bloody gun, in a stained box, was given to her at the evidence room.
Workers there do not clean any personal belongings, Schwarzen said, only dry them.
“They prepare the family for what they might see, which was done in this case,” he added.
And there was more fallout from the disaster. Cutts can’t afford to get her Jeep back from the towing company that hauled it out of the deep woods. She still makes payments on the 2007 model and still owes $20,000, she said.
She discovered most life insurance policies do not pay off after a suicide. The grieving widow would like to talk to others in her situation. Her e-mail is email@example.com.
Cutts has a box of mementos, including the suicide letter that provided no comfort.
“The note showed me what he had become,” she said. “I don’t understand when it went from a thought to a decision.”
Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, firstname.lastname@example.org.