For me and for Deb’s many family members and relatives and friends, Deb will always be remembered for the vibrant, loving, outgoing, happy and positive-looking, helping, and outdoorsy person that she is, was and had been. Deb loved the beach (thus the picture above), and as those close to her know, Deb loved her Annie (below).
I received a phone call on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at about 8:30 am California time (11:30 am Florida time), during which I was told that my dearest sister Deborah Trotta (Tate) was missing, and had been missing since the day before on September 11. My responses several times were – yes, do immediately call the police. Following a couple of calls and texts (and I immediately left a phone message and texted Deb on her phone), and a short time later, I was told that Deb’s body had been found on the beach which was near her home (Martin County, Florida).
This is in memory of Deb and to honor and remember her for the fully-beautiful person that she is and was, and to wish for God’s blessings and prayers for her. I am also working to bring about Deb’s wishes and what she would have wanted, and to find out and reconcile whatever happened, achieve whatever closure is possible, and express sadness for Deb and what she must have been feeling and went through.
In the best of worlds and for some situations what is said above might be enough, and for people to have their memories. But this is not the best of worlds or the standard situation. Deb’s death and her situation can only be described as a tragedy. People who care about Deb, and there are many, naturally want to share, and to know and are asking what happened – how could this happen? I have been asking and trying to obtain information since the first phone call that I received on September 12. Information is missing, information has been requested, and very unfortunately information and access to that information are not being provided. What aren’t fully known are the “what” and the “why” of what happened? Except from family and relatives and close friends who care and are concerned, information and documents about Deb and specifically what happened and what was communicated on September 10-12, 2021, and the week(s) before are not forthcoming. Thus, it is impossible to reconcile what might or might not have occurred, and why, and to reach closure. Instead, the tragedy, the grief and grieving, and the wondering are made worse and are prolonged for those who care.
I have been told that Deb sent a text at 5:37 pm Florida time on September 11. I requested a copy of the text – my request has been denied – I have been told that the text is private. Deb wasn’t a private person and wouldn’t have been a private person about these types of matters, at least not with me or with her family and relatives and close friends.
It is my understanding that Deb made a phone call on September 11, and asked about Annie. I have been told that Annie wasn’t with Deb – it would have been very out-of-place and unnatural for Deb to have been without Annie, and at night, and all night, and all the next morning until almost 12 Noon the next day.
I have been told that Deb left a note. I requested the actual wording, and a copy. Neither of which have been provided. I have been told a couple of different but somewhat similar versions. If there is a note, and if it is in fact by Deb, from what I have been told it sounds to me like the possible note is out of despair and final resignation – and Deb’s then lack of the control and ability to complete and to bring about what I and others had been working on with Deb – like there had been an event or a catalyst on September 11. There are also any number of different scenarios about what could have occurred, and did occur, prior to and at the beach, including interactions with other people. Deb could be a fighter, and she had a natural forward-looking generally positive view of and approach to things and life. The possible note also sounds like Deb named Annie as a recipient or the recipient of Deb’s worldly things and possessions. Deb deeply loved and cared for and about Annie, who was Deb’s greatest and closest in-person and always present joy and solace. On September 13, I communicated that we will take Annie. Our having Annie also has been denied. In addition to her wishes, Deb had communicated who she would have considered acceptable for Annie, and who definitely was not.
All of this and what occurred should be an open book. But it isn’t. What happened needs to be known – for Deb, and for me, and our family and the many relatives, and Deb’s friends and very long-time friends, and our Dad (deceased 2015), and the Tate and Zitter families both alive and deceased, and Anne Tate (Zitter) (deceased), and for legacy and family to follow, and hopefully for some closure.
Deb used her phone as a primary means of communication, as do many people – calls, messages, texts, emails, pictures, recordings, internet, etc. Her phone is another key. Did she have it with her, and when? When did Deb use or try to use her phone on September 10-12? When did other people contact or try to contact Deb? I was told on the morning of September 12, that Deb did not have her phone with her. If true, that also would have been very strange and unnatural, concerning, troubling and alarming, including as the time and the day and then the night progressed and moved on.
I am informed that the Sheriff’s Office has Deb’s phone – I don’t know where they found it, or when. I have asked the Sheriff’s Office to safeguard and to preserve Deb’s phone and what is on it. I have also asked for access.
I am informed that under Florida law the “next of kin” or “representative” (husband) of Deb has apparent authority over her phone and what is on it – and what to do with it – whether to safeguard, preserve and share the information and memories that are on Deb’s phone, or to keep them hidden or secret, or to delete, destroy or erase forever the memories, information and life of activities – Deb’s life and activities. I have requested access to Deb’s phone, that Deb’s phone information be shared, and that Deb’s phone and what is on her phone, and her phone account access be safeguarded, kept active, and preserved, and not be deleted, destroyed or erased. This request also has not been agreed to, which in this case means that it has been denied. Florida, California and other states need legislation and law changes on phone access and information for the close family and relatives.
I’m not prone to supposition. Presumably Deb was at the beach (alive) for a considerable length of time beginning on September 11. People probably or certainly might well have seen her and her car during the day and the night. From my view, if I had known that Deb, my beloved sister, should have or normally would have been at her home on September 11 or by a certain time, but wasn’t, and also was out of the house without her Annie, and at night, and all night, and all the next morning until almost 12 Noon, I would have known and certainly would have thought that something was very wrong and out-of-place beginning on September 11 and thereafter. I would have been calling and texting Deb, and her friends and family and relatives. Anyone who might know or have information. I would have been out looking for Deb including at the beach which she frequented, and looking for Deb’s car (found in the beach parking lot, I am told), and asking others to look for Deb, and contacting the Sheriff’s Office. After calls and texts, the beach and the parking lot would have been my next frantic search. Most people would have done so, I believe. Perhaps that happened, but if it did, I haven’t been so told. There is a dearth of information being provided.
There is more – much more is known, including things about divorce and what was being worked on for and with Deb. As Deb’s surviving brother I cannot be silent on this. Deb would want me and others to speak and to take action and to find out in this situation when Deb cannot. Deb also would not want the information and documents, and her memories and life of activities, and access to them, to be controlled and withheld and erased from the people who care about Deb and who are asking and wondering and thinking about her and what happened. From the first phone calls on September 12, I requested a full investigation and complete information to learn what had happened that would lead to what has at this point been referred to as death by gun shot.
This is a summary. I’m also not discussing the tragedy as a lot of information isn’t known. It is my experience in cases that what happened remains speculative or at least unconvincing unless all of the significant information is obtained, shared, recreated, and critically evaluated. And in this case information, documents and events also are in conflict or are simply strange and out-of-place and don’t make sense. In any event, whatever the eventual analysis, the “why” and the “how” did this happen, and how could or should this have been avoided and prevented are important and are needed, as are also honoring and bringing about Deb’s wishes.
Please say a prayer for Deb and for other people who you know who are in her or similar situations. Deb is remembered and will be remembered always and thought about often. I can tell you that this is definitely true for me and for other of Deb’s family and relatives and friends.
Deb made known her wishes and intentions, what she wanted and would have wanted, and what she would not have wanted, including for her beloved Annie. We do need to find out and attempt to reconcile what happened, and to bring about Deb’s wishes – to care for Annie as Deb wanted – to get Deb’s ashes to California as she wished (and where Deb long wanted to be able to move) – and for Deb’s things and belongings and what she had and owned in this world to go for the purposes and to whom she wanted, and would have wanted in this situation, and as she wished.
I also thank everyone who is asking about Deb, and about what happened, and who is concerned, and who is sharing information and what they know or have heard. Please, yes, I am requesting that anyone who has any information or who has heard something or anything, whatever it might be, that might be relevant to what happened, or possibly why, or what was going on, to help reconcile and piece all of this together and possibly bring some closure, and to please reach out to me or to other of Deb’s family, relatives and friends. I am easy to find – try email at email@example.com or if that doesn’t seem to work try firstname.lastname@example.org.
My dearest Deb, my sadness for you is absolute. You will always and everywhere be with me and in my thoughts and prayers. Your loving brother, God bless, and prayers, and always, Dave
That’s all for now. More to follow.