Parents of Teen Pilot Tried Suicide
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ The parents of a 15-year-old pilot who crashed a small plane into a Tampa skyscraper had attempted suicide as teen-agers, the St. Petersburg Times reported Thursday.
Charles Bishop’s mother, Julia, and father, Charles Bishara, entered into a suicide pact after they were denied a marriage license in 1984, the newspaper reported.
Their son died Saturday when he crashed a stolen Cessna into Tampa’s Bank of America building. Investigators said he had a suicide note expressing support for Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bishop’s mother, the former Julia Detore, tried to marry Bishara when she was 17 and he was 19, but the couple was denied a marriage license in Rhode Island for reasons that remain unexplained, the newspaper said.
The couple stuffed rags into the tailpipe of Detore’s car and tried to fill it with carbon monoxide to kill them both, the newspaper said, citing police reports and accounts in 1984 editions of the Malden (Mass.) Evening News. When that failed, they allegedly agreed Detore would stab Bishara with a butcher knife, and he would slash her wrists with the same knife, the Times said.
After Bishara was stabbed, he asked Detore to call an ambulance, according to the 1984 news reports. Paramedics found him on a sofa bleeding heavily with a lacerated liver. Bishara denied that the pair had attempted suicide, though Detore insisted that was the case.
Detore was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to commit murder. She was ordered to undergo a 20-day evaluation at a state hospital in Waltham, Mass.
Bishara’s sister Dawn said her brother refused to cooperate with prosecutors, and the charge against Detore was dropped.
The couple married after their son was born in 1986 but divorced when he was a baby. Pam Campbell, an attorney for Julia Bishop, said the boy’s father had little if any contact with him.
Campbell said the boy’s family had no idea why he crashed the plane.
``There was no warning. There was no thought he would ever commit suicide,″ said Campbell, who also represents Charles Bishop’s grandmother. ``This is an honor student with goals and aspirations.″
Campbell said she was told that the court file in the 1984 suicide case was sealed.
``Basically it was a Romeo-and-Juliet type of suicide pact,″ Campbell said. ``They were both very depressed. ... And they were very young.″
Julia Bishop, who changed her name and her son’s from Bishara, has declined interviews since Saturday. She told Pinellas County officials she changed her name because Bishara is an Arabic name and the United States was at war with Iraq at the time.
Police have not been able to contact Bishara.
The Times reported that Bishara’s parents learned of their grandson’s death through news reports.
``It’s just a tragedy to find your grandson in this way,″ Robert Bishara said. ``We lost someone we didn’t even know.″