ENTERTAINMENT
11/03/2014 12:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Florida Woman's Case Reopened: Homicide or Suicide? (VIDEO)

In September 2010, 24-year-old Michelle O’Connell was found shot to death in what authorities ruled a suicide. But Michelle’s mother, Patricia, and sister, Jennifer, insist that Michelle, who had a 4-year-old daughter, never would have taken her own life. They believe that Michelle’s boyfriend, Jeremy, a sheriff’s deputy, killed her. The family has become divided because Michelle’s brother, Scott — also a sheriff’s deputy — and his wife insist that Michelle’s mom and sister are living in denial. They claim that Michelle committed suicide, but Scott’s own mom thinks he’s betraying his family to protect his job.

The case was recently reopened by the governor of Florida, so Dr. Phil brings the family together in an effort to help them move forward.

“You can’t know what happened in that room. All we can do is infer it based on the evidence in the investigation,” Dr. Phil says to Scott.

Scott responds, “This has gone on for four years. There’s been an initial ruling of suicide. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says they believe it was consistent with homicide, but not one person from that agency will stand up and defend the report, which they used for their belief. My mom, my sister and [Michelle’s friend] Ciara are not experts in the field. They’re emotional, they’re passionate, and I understand that.”

“When you say it’s just overwhelming that this was a suicide, I’m sorry, I don’t see it that way,” Dr. Phil says to Scott. “I also can’t say it was a homicide.”

On Dr. Phil on Monday, hear from one of the first responders on the scene and why she believes the initial finding of suicide was wrong. And, Dr. Phil examines some of the warning signs of suicide to assess whether Michelle’s behavior prior to her death may indicate if she took her own life. Check here for local listings.

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