Mom wants answers in daughter's death

Posted at 8:30 AM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 06:37:22-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Nearly a year after a Fort Myers mother lost her 25-year-old daughter, she still hasn't come to terms with the loss. Her death was ruled a suicide, but her mom still has doubts.

"I didn't get to say goodbye. And she would not have done that, she just wouldn't have."

10 months after her daughter was found submerged in the Caloosahatchee River, this Fort Myers Shores mom still can't wrap her head around it.  Her 25-year-old daughter Chelsey's death was ruled a suicide.

Police reports say she intentionally drove her car into the water under the State Road 31 bridge back in July.  But her mom is worried there's more to the story.  She says no one will listen to her concerns, so she turned to Four in Your Corner. 

We met with her on the banks of the river where her daughter was found.  It was the first time she's been there since the night her life changed forever.

Most would call the setting beautiful, but for Maggie Green, taking the step to come back to this place is painful.

"You don't want to have to think about what took place here and what's just too much."

Too much because this serene waterfront spot in eastern Lee County is the same place where her daughter was pulled out of the river in the dark of the night.

She was found four days after her mom reported her missing in July, inside her 2-door white Dodge Stratus.

Detectives say it was no accident.  "The sheriff's report says she drove down here and drove her car into the water," says Maggie.

Suicide by drowning is what the autopsy says.  The report also included toxicology, showing Chelsey had alcohol and cocaine in her system.  According to people she was with the night she disappeared, Chelsey wasn't just intoxicated, but inconsolable.

Friends told police she was crying and very upset in the hours leading up to her disappearance.  It was the anniversary of her late father's death.  Her brother even shared a text with police that Chelsey sent him that night, saying she "hates her life without daddy."

Chelsey's mom says that behavior wasn't unusual.  "So she always got emotional when she had been drinking, but not to the point of doing this."

Even with the facts laid out in those dozens of pages of investigation and medical examiner reports, Maggie has questions.  "There's just something there that doesn't add up."

Her biggest concern comes straight out of the autopsy report.  It says Chelsey suffered blunt trauma of the head.  That's curious to Maggie because the police report says "examination of the body showed no signed of trauma."

Maggie says she called the lead detective about what she calls a discrepancy.  "I called him as soon as I saw the autopsy results, and said 'there's a head injury on here.  Why didn't you tell me that?'  And he said that was insignificant.  And 'I said why was it insignificant?'  And he just said 'ma'am, that was insignificant.'"

Chelsey's mom has other concerns about her daughter's death being ruled a suicide.  Like how, if Chelsey was so intoxicated the night she died, she would even be able to get her car down the steep winding bumpy dirt road and into the river by herself without damaging her car?

She also raises questions about part of the police report that says Chelsey sent a 'ping' or GPS locator from her phone to a relative, showing she was "On the south side of the State Road 31 bridge."  It was her last communication that night.

Her family believes it was a distress call, because she may have been trying to escape from the car, despite detectives' conclusion otherwise.  "I just felt like these guys aren't going to listen to me.  They already made their mind up."

Four in Your Corner got on the phone to try and get the Lee County Sheriff's Office to address some of Chelsey's mom's concerns.  A spokesperson told us they won't talk about Chelsey's death, because it's a suicide.

We also called the medical examiner, who ultimately ruled Chelsey's death a suicide and found that "blunt trauma" to her head. They too told us it's their policy not to talk about their findings.

It's not the answer this grieving mom wants to hear about her only daughter, who she says had a passion for life.  "She loved everybody.  Everybody loved her."

She says she'll keep pushing for answers, knowing Chelsey is by her side.  "Chelsey's my angel.  I see her...I see her all the time.  I see her in the clouds. I see angel wings. I  feel her with me."

Maggie is hoping to have her daughters death certificate changed from suicide to accident.