CARBONDALE — A 911 tape obtained last week by the Times confirms that the call reporting the death of 21-year-old Molly Young last March indicated her demise was the result of an overdose, although first responders soon learned that Young had died from a gunshot wound to the left side of her head.
During the 90-second call made shortly after 9 a.m. March 24, 2012, Young’s on-and-off boyfriend, Richie Minton, told the dispatcher he woke to find Young dead in his bedroom. Minton’s roommate initiated the call but passed the phone to Minton after verbally stumbling over the address of the apartment. The conversation went partially as follows:
Dispatcher: Who is this to you?
Minton: It’s my ex-girlfriend.
Dispatcher: And how old is she?
Minton: She’s 22.
Dispatcher: OK, and is she not breathing at all?
Minton: No, I woke up, and she’s covered in blood. She’s overdosed. She bled out through the nose.
About a minute into the exchange, Carbondale Police dispatcher Amber Pellegrini joined the call. Minton, also a Carbondale Police dispatcher, asked her to send a squad car to his apartment on North Westridge Drive.
“Amber, this is Richie,” Minton said. “My girlfriend just committed suicide. Can you send an ambulance, er, can you send a car over 500 N. Westridge …”
The release of the tape came about a week after a coroner’s jury ruled the cause of Young’s death undetermined due to a lack of evidence. State’s Attorney Mike Carr declined to comment on the case’s status, although he said his office would make an announcement soon after it decides how to proceed.
During the Jan. 31 inquest, Illinois State Police investigators said they found journals, social media postings, an undated letter and text messages in which Young expressed suicidal thoughts and said she had tried to kill herself by taking pills the day before her death.
Young went to bed at home the night before, but she left her home around 3 a.m. in response to a call and text message from Minton, investigators said.
Around 4:40 a.m., a text sent from Young’s phone to Minton’s roommate indicated she planned to shoot herself in the head, investigators said. Minton told Carbondale Police, the first on the scene following the 911 call, that he had been asleep and woke to find Young’s body on the floor next to his bed. He also said he had tried to perform CPR.
Responding officers secured the apartment as a crime scene, according to the coroner’s report. Because of Minton’s employment with the Carbondale Police, the investigation quickly was handed to the Illinois State Police. Minton already had obtained a lawyer by the time ISP investigators arrived at the Carbondale Police Department to interview him. He has not spoken to ISP investigators since then, they said at the inquest.
The toxicology report showed no abnormal levels of drugs in Young’s body. Police were unable to identify any fingerprints on Minton’s .45-caliber pistol that fired the fatal shot, and investigators found no gunshot residue on Minton’s or Young’s hands, State Police officials testified.
Upon arriving at the scene, Carbondale Police encountered Minton exiting his bathroom, investigators said, and his lawyer indicated later that Minton had washed his hands. Minton also had been expected at work earlier that morning and had received numerous texts and phone calls from Pellegrini looking for him.
The Times obtained the 911 tape following a Freedom of Information Act request made in October that initially was denied at the direction of former State’s Attorney Mike Wepsiec. The Times requested review of the denial by the Illinois Attorney General.
The tape was released last week after Carr, elected state’s attorney in November, said he would no longer exert the same exemptions cited by Wepsiec. A similar situation preceded the release of the autopsy and coroner’s reports late last month.