Chicago police apologized for accidentally destroying a letter written by a young woman to her parents before her death.
“Dear Mom and Dad, I love you guys so much,” the letter from Nicole Porter read, WBBM reports. Porter died after taking a lethal dose of insulin in 2015. The 29-year-old’s death was ruled a suicide.
“She was struggling a little bit with depression,” Terry Porter, the young woman’s mother, said. “She was seeing a therapist."
Chicago police kept two suicide notes written by Porter as evidence following her death, and a detective reportedly emailed the parents copies of the notes.
“He said once the investigation was complete, that they would be released to us,” Terry said.
Months later, after her death was ruled a suicide, Nicole's parents began asking detectives for the notes.
“His response was I haven’t received anything from the coroner’s office,” Terry continued. “The case isn’t closed. I can’t release them.”
On April 13, the detective informed the parents the department had released the hold on the notes.
A month later, however, they were informed that the letters had been destroyed. Chicago police said the destruction was an accident.
“It was an administrative error,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Washington Post. “We reviewed it. The chief of detectives has personally ensured we have put another safeguard in place so that this will never happen again.”
“It was like everything was ripped right open again,” Terry said, according to WBBM.
She said having the letters would be a part of her daughter she could hold onto.
“It was the last ‘I love you’ she ever said to us," she added. "It’s the last physical thing she ever left for us. They’re a part of her that she gave to us in the last hours of her life."
While Terry said she’s grateful they have electronic copies of the letters, she is heartbroken that the originals were destroyed. She said she hopes the department reviews its evidence policies in the future.
“I don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else," Terry said.