2017-07-29 02:47:21 UTC
Couple caught in ‘financial spiral’ jump to their deaths
By Shawn Cohen, Stephanie Pagones, Danika Fears, Tamar Lapin and Natalie Musumeci
July 28, 2017 | 6:55am
A broke Manhattan chiropractor and his wife jumped to their deaths from an office building Friday — leaving suicide notes describing how they “cannot live with” their “financial reality,” law-enforcement sources said.
Glenn Scarpelli, 53, and Patricia Colant, 50 — who had carted trash bags filled with belongings from their home to the curb Thursday — leaped at around 5:45 a.m. from the ninth floor of the Madison Avenue building where they worked.
Their bodies were found sprawled in the middle of East 33rd Street in Murray Hill.
Inside each of their pockets was a suicide note and ID in a plastic baggie — presumably to make sure the letters didn’t get too bloody to read.
Scarpelli titled his typed suicide note, “WE HAD A WONDERFUL LIFE.’’
“Patricia and I had everything in life,” the dad of two wrote.
But the note took a dark turn, describing the couple’s “financial spiral,’’ sources said.
Colant’s letter included contact information for family and friends and instructed that a specific person notify their children about their deaths, a law-enforcement source said.
“I just don’t understand why this would happen, why they would do this to their kids,” said Adam Lamb, a fellow chiropractor who was friends with the couple for 16 years.
Records show the couple, who lived in the Financial District, were drowning in debt and slammed with dozens of tax liens from both the federal and state government.
But “I feel like there’s something else going on,” Lamb said. “Even with all that debt, it still doesn’t make sense.’’
Steve Bogan, a relative of the couple, called their double suicide “very shocking.”
“Right now, everybody’s in a daze,” he said.
The couple, described by several friends as warm, doting parents, leaves two children — Joseph, 19, and Isabella, 20 — who recently graduated from the Upper East Side’s Loyola HS, where tuition is nearly $38,000 a year.
Last year, Joseph said in a school speech that his parents once gave him advice on how to cope if he lost “everyone I love.”
“I am going to share with you some advice given to me by my own parents when I was younger,” Joseph told his Loyola classmates at a morning assembly in March 2016.
“My parents repeatedly told me that I could wake up one day and lose everyone I love, but no one will ever be able to take away my faith.”
Joseph attends the University of Miami School of Business Administration, while his sister is enrolled at St. Edwards University in Texas, according to the high school’s alumni magazine.
“They were both beautiful people,” said a former Loyola student who is friends with Isabella. “They were a big Italian family, always inviting people over for the Festival of the Seven Fishes.
They were always involved in school.
“Their kids didn’t know anything about their financial problems,” she added. “None of us did. He seemed like he loved his job.”
But one lien against from September showed the couple owed $23,304 in federal taxes, while another in April 2015 indicated a $232,295 debt.
In 2013, the feds took legal action against Scarpelli for failing to pay back a nearly $60,000 student loan he took out in 2000 while studying at the Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Mo.
According to a 2016 GOBankingRates study, the No. 1 cause of financial stress for people in New York is paying down debt, with the average balance per person hitting around $50,000.
But the couple’s friends were taken aback by the suicides.
Noel McDermott, who owns Beckett’s Bar & Grill, which was near their office, described them as “great parents.”
“They were always with their kids,” he said. “They were genuinely down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky people.”
Scarpelli was a former president of the New York Chiropractic Council, which is raising money for the couple’s kids on a GoFundMe page.
“This horrific event has left their two children, Isabella and Joseph, without the love, support and guidance of their loving parents,” the page says.
“Glenn and Patricia were the embodiment of serving out of love, and giving out of abundance.”
A lawyer for the family, Mathew Levy, said in a statement that they are “distraught.”
“We ask that you respect their privacy as they gather information,” he said.
Scarpelli ran the Madison Wellness Center with his wife, who was his receptionist, an acquaintance said.
A neighbor at the family’s home said there were several items such as lamps and full trash bags dumped on the street in front of the their residence on Thursday.
They had recently requested a change of address at their office, a local mail carrier said.
“That was their business,” she said, describing the couple as “inseparable.” “I guess they were closing up. That was their passion project.”