Not long before 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day, Daniel Kennedy called a friend in North Carolina and told him he couldn’t live without his wife Dennise, who had died of cancer immediately after Christmas.
Kennedy, 74, was calling from the house he and Dennise–she spelled her first name with two n’s–had owned at 25 Pritchard Drive for 20 years: they’d signed the deed two days before Christmas, in 1998. Now Kennedy told his 68-year-old friend he wanted to die. He told his friend not to bother to talk him out of it. It was something he “had to do,” his friend reported him saying when he almost immediately called the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to report the phone call.
Kennedy told his friend he would leave the front door of the house unlocked: he was fully aware that his friend would call authorities, that authorities would respond and that they’d need to get in the house. What he didn’t tell his friend was how he would end his life.
Crista Rainey was one of the deputies dispatched to the house at 2:38 p.m. There was no answer at the door and no one visible through any of the windows. She could hear music playing through, from various points around the house, according to her incident report. And she noted that the front door was unlocked. Rainey went in “due to the exigent circumstances,” announcing herself as she went in. By then other units were also present, and paramedics had been dispatched.
Kennedy was found in his master bedroom shower stall with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was still breathing and had a pulse. A Hi-Point .380-caliber gun was next to him. Deputies tended to his wound. But about a minute before Flagler County Fire Rescue paramedics arrived, he died: a paramedic pronounced Daniel Patrick Kennedy dead at 2:56 p.m.
Sheriff’s deputies established a crime scene that was then taken over by detectives and the crime scene investigator pending the arrival of the medical examiner at 5 p.m. The body was removed to the medical examiner’s office in St. Augustine at 5:30 p.m. The commotion generated sustained concern from neighbors for much of the evening, as it was not clear at the time what had taken place. Later, a family friend arrived at the scene and secured the house.
It was the first recorded suicide of the year in a county that, in 2017, led the state–proportionately–in the rate of suicides. Final figures for 2018 are not yet available.
The following resources are available for individuals in crisis:
In Flagler: The Crisis Triage and Treatment Unit (CTTU) is a crisis assessment and referral service for Flagler County residents experiencing behavioral health crisis. It is located at 301 Justice Lane in the Brown & Brown Outpatient building at the Vince Carter Sanctuary in Bunnell. This program is limited to individuals escorted to the program by law enforcement between the hours of noon and midnight daily. Law enforcement is able to transport individuals to SMA to assess and determine the appropriate clinical disposition. When required and appropriate, SMA then transports the individual to a receiving facility in Volusia County.
In Daytona Beach: Stewart-Marchman Act Corporation Crisis Center
1220 Willis Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Crisis Line: (800) 539 – 4228
Available 24 hours.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800/273-8255 (TALK).