Ashley Judd Says the She Felt Like ‘a Possible Suspect’ in Mother's Naomi Judd’s Death

Ashley Judd claimed she felt ‘cornered’ and ‘powerless’ as police arrived and began investigating Naomi Judd’s suicide at her home on April 30.


Ashley, 54, called out law enforcement for the way her mother’s death was handled in the immediate aftermath in an op-ed for The New York Times published Wednesday.

The actress revealed she found her mother on that day and held Naomi’s “laboring body” before police arrived.

“I gushed answers to the many probing questions directed at me in the four interviews the police insisted I do on the very day my mother died — questions I would never have answered on any other day and questions about which I never thought to ask my own questions, including: Is your body camera on? Am I being audio recorded again? Where and how will what I am sharing be stored, used and made available to the public?” she wrote.

The questioning continued while Ashley wanted to be ‘comforting her mother’ as the country music star’s ‘life was fading.’ She alleges that the police interviews ‘felt mandatory.’

“I assume they did as they were taught,” Ashley said. “It is now well known that law enforcement personnel should be trained in how to respond to and investigate cases involving trauma, but the men who were present left us feeling stripped of any sensitive boundary, interrogated and, in my case, as if I was a possible suspect in my mother’s suicide.”



“I felt cornered and powerless as law enforcement officers began questioning me while the last of my mother’s life was fading,” Judd writes. “I wanted to be comforting her, telling her how she was about to see her daddy and younger brother as she ‘went away home,’ as we say in Appalachia. Instead, without it being indicated I had any choices about when, where and how to participate, I began a series of interviews that felt mandatory and imposed on me that drew me away from the precious end of my mother’s life. And at a time when we ourselves were trying desperately to decode what might have prompted her to take her life on that day, we each shared everything we could think of about Mom, her mental illness and its agonizing history.”

She says that her family petitioned the courts in early August to stop release of the investigative file, “including interviews the police conducted with us at a time when we were at our most vulnerable and least able to grasp that what we shared so freely that day could enter the public domain. This profoundly intimate personal and medical information does not belong in the press, on the internet or anywhere except in our memories.”

“This profoundly intimate personal and medical information does not belong in the press, on the internet or anywhere except in our memories,” Ashley said.



Ashley did make mention that the specific police who arrived at the home was most likely following ‘terrible’ and ‘outdated interview procedures.’

Ashley and Wynonna Judd announced their mother’s death via a statement shared to social media.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” the joint statement read. “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

 

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