It is the sort of thing for which there will be lots of controversy, many theories, and few answers.
People around these parts are still reeling from the news that a Dallas-area mayor last week killed her 19 year old, college-bound daughter, and then herself, in a tragedy born of tragedy.
Jayne Peters, 55, was the Mayor of the city of Coppell, a city outside Dallas. She was a former software developer. And since 2008, a widow. But apparently finances were getting away from her. She had apparently spun so many elaborate and convoluted lies that her life was completely out of control by June 12.
It is said that Peters was left with virtually no financial resources after her husband died. The Rev. Dennis Wilkinson said, “They had spent money for his treatment and surgeries and experimental stuff that they did to try and save him.” Her position as mayor was an unpaid position. She did contract software development work, but it wasn’t a fulltime job. She also received financial help from the church. But many people who knew her well said she kept much of this private.
She had given her only child, Corinne, a brand new Hyundai for graduation. One has to wonder if Corinne suspected it was a rental car. Friends and neighbors had been under the impression that Peters bought the car for her daughter.
Corinne was bound for the University of Texas this fall, and on her way to orientation. Or so she thought. Her mother told her she’d taken care of all the details for registration. Yet UT say they have no paperwork for Corinne Peters. Friends say Corinne truly believed she had been accepted to UT.
Lies built on lies apparently led Jayne Peters to leave notes in various places about her nearly 4000 square foot home, and outside on the door to warn first responders. She had allegedly been using city credit cards to pay personal bills. Her home had been up for auction and foreclosure several times over the past year. Yet no one knew of this spiraling out of control. Sadly, no one seemed to know.
Corinne could be seen about town in UT tee shirts. Her life was just beginning. After losing her father to cancer in 2008, she was about to embark on a new adventure toward adulthood. Friends say that Corinne wasn’t known as the best driver among her fellow classmates. They often teased her because she made a ritual of kissing her fingers and touching the dashboard of her car when she came to a yellow light.
The teen confessed to friends her worries about leaving her mom behind when she left home for college.
Corinne was found fatally shot in the laundry room downstairs, while her mother’s body was upstairs. One note was found on a kitchen island, next to her late father’s cremated remains. There were notes pertaining to the pets remaining in the home. The two dogs were to be kept together and given to relatives, or “put down,” wrote Mayor Peters. “Please ask my family to take care of the pets.”
She listed the other pets individually. “There are four cats. Mystic, the black cat, 9 years old. Sassy, Siamese, 11 years old. Snowflake, Siamese, 11 years old. Reno, brown Abyssinian, 6 years old.”
Corinne’s parents had bought her a Hyundai Sonata around her 16th birthday. But just after Donald Peters died in 2008 of colon cancer, she wrecked the car. Until recently she had been driving one of the family cars. Then she showed up with what friends said was a new car – the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.
The Hyundai had been taken back to the car rental agency before the business opened.
The last time anyone saw Peters was 12:30 p.m. that afternoon. She was walking south on MacArthur.
The typed note on the front door read: “To our first responders: Here is the key for the front door. I am so very sorry for what you are about to discover. Please forgive me. Jayne”
Mayor Jayne Peters seemed happy at the local July 4th parade, handing out candy along the parade route. Shaking hands and talking to constituents. Yet inwardly she had to be deeply troubled that the bank had tried to foreclose on her $422,780 home where they had lived for the past 17 years. As recently as February and March of 2010. She was in debt to her homeowners association who put liens on her home on three different occasions.
Mayor Jayne Peters always reached out to new neighbors. She was the one to organize the annual Halloween party. Corinne Peters was a member of the drill team, a 2010 Coppell High School graduate.
A neighbor who Corinne had babysat for the previous week said there was no indication of anything wrong at the house. But Corinne was upset that she had to cancel two different orientations to college because her mother was sick.
They say Corinne’s passion was dance. One friend said, “She had the best technique on the team. Beautiful pointed feet, and leaps and turns. Everything about her dancing was flawless.”
“DNR, please do not resuscitate under any circumstances,” read another note.
On the morning of the shooting, Corinne was seen at 6 a.m. loading up a vehicle in front of the home. Minutes later, Mayor Jayne Peters was seen unloading the car.
“Please, please, please, no funeral. No memorial – just cremate us both,” said yet another note.
The city manager discovered the two bodies on Thursday evening after the mayor failed to appear at a scheduled Council meeting.
It has been said that when women use a gun as a means to commit suicide, it shows they mean business. Corinne Peters was methodical in her actions. In her notes and her last deeds. It was her last piece of business.
Once I wrote an in-depth article about a 14 year old girl who committed suicide. She was angry because her father told her she could no longer see a boy she had been dating.
She came into the room where he sat one evening, and simply said, “Dad, do you want to see a trick?”
When he looked up, she held a gun up to her head and pulled the trigger.
Life, over just like that in a split second. So many conundrums to how such decisions are made. And no possibility of going back to alter plans.