Category: Archive

Colorado suicide ruling, investigation defended

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The family of the late Padraig Welch, who died mysteriously in Colorado last November, have said that they have no option but to live with the uncertainty of how he met his end.

Welch’s death was ruled a suicide by police officers investigating the discovery of his body behind a Wal-Mart in Frisco, Colo., the morning after the Donegal man had set out to drive home alone from a U2 concert in Denver, to his home in Avon.

However, his relatives in Ireland and the U.S. have insisted that Welch had every reason to live, and was not depressed or suicidal. They also raised questions about the thoroughness of the police investigation.

On his journey from Denver, the Walsh visa recipient apparently had a flat tire and discovered that the spare in the borrowed car was flat as well.

The next day, a Wal-Mart employee found his body hanging from the neck by his belt, in Frisco, 40 miles from where he left the vehicle.

Welch’s sister Eileen has repeatedly asked why the police have never found whoever it was that gave her brother a ride from his abandoned car to Frisco. Along the way, he tried to make several cell phone calls and also stopped to buy cigarettes.

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However, a reporter for the Summit Daily newspaper, in Colorado Springs, said that he felt the police investigation had been conducted thoroughly.

Speaking to the Echo, Reid Williams said: “The first thing I would say is that the report seemed to be complete and thorough. The physical scene was well examined and the investigating officer made many attempts to get information from businesses that were open along that road at the time Padraig would have been making his way around town.

“In my professional opinion, it’s not as though there’s a coverup or anything.”

Williams, who has worked as a suicide hotline counselor, refused to rule out any possibility in the case, but he did suggest that some aspects of the case did add up.

“There are aspects that make perfect sense,” he said. “Padraig’s sense that he was being exploited by his employer, his borrowed car breaking down, a long journey by hitchhiking or otherwise on a mountain highway in the snow, and getting dropped off alone in a small town that had already closed up for the night — not to mention the emotional experience of seeing U2 earlier that evening.”

The police report into Welch’s death noted that he had been drinking and had smoked marijuana, but not to an extent that would have rendered him over the limit for driving.

“Like Padraig’s family, I’d feel a lot better if someone who saw him between Denver and Frisco came forward,” Williams said.

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