Anne Morell Petrillo jumped from New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River on September 24th. Authorities are still searching for her body and she is believed to be dead. See update below.
The photo above is of Anne Morell in 1993 (courtesy of NY Daily News).
Ms. Petrillo, 38, was the mother of a 13-year-old-son, Michael, the daughter of deceased Anthony X. Morell and the daughter of Anne Scripps Douglas, the newspaper heiress of the Scripps family.
Anne Scripps Douglas, was murdered by Anne’s step-father, Scott Douglas. He murdered his wife in his step-daughter’s bedroom in Bronxville, N.Y. on New Year’s Eve 1993. The next day Scott Douglas jumped from the same bridge that Anne Petrillo chose for her own death.
Anne’s mother was murdered when her daughter was 22-years-old. She was pummelled to death by a hammer in her daughter’s own bedroom. It was rumored that Anne Scripps Douglas had told Scott Douglas, a former house painter, that she was divorcing him. Authorities actually doubted his death, but his body washed to shore some three months later.
The couple had a 3-year-old-daughter at the time, Victoria Douglas, who is 18-years-old today. She was raised by her mother’s sister, Mary.
Anne Scripps Davis lived for 6 days before dying. She was the great-great-grandaughter of Detroit News founder James Scripps, an heiress to the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain.
Anne Morelle Petrillo was also the daughter of Anthony X. Morell, who died in 2005. He married Anne Scripps when she was 23 years old. Daughter Alexandria was also born to the marriage. Anne Scripps Morell was said to be a devoted stay-at-home mother. Her husband, who she loved intensely, preferred the “fast-paced world of high finance and parties.” The marriage to Morell lasted until 1988 when Anne and Alexandria were teenagers.
Anne Scripps Morell’s friend of many years, Sharon Boles, is quoted:
“It was hard for her to be single,” said another friend, Gretchen Devlin. “Anne was more afraid of being alone than anything else. She had believed in Tony, believed in marriage . . . She was afraid to be alone raising her kids.”
She met Scott Douglas soon after her divorce. Her friends did not share her enthusiasm about Douglas.
Anne Morell Petrillo was deeply depressed, according to her aunt, Mary Jane Haggerty, and had been depressed since her mother’s death.
Family and friends described Petrillo as a “sweet, loving and dedicated mother” to her 13-year-old son, Michael, and a dog lover who took special care of her yellow Lab, Tucker, and spaniel, Cody.
“She was very sensitive,” said another aunt, Brook Morell. “She liked to be with her son and take care of her pets.”
“She was a darling person and it’s just so sad,” she said. “She had a real true heart. It’s just – people are fragile.”
Police acknowledge a suicide note left by Anne Morell Petrillo in her BMW SUV, found parked on the bridge. A search is underway about 25 miles north of Manhattan.
Ms. Petrillo’s body was found on Sunday, October 4th, 2009, three days after she jumped to her death.
I reported above that Anne had a half-sister,Victoria, who was three years old when their mother was murdered by Victoria’s father.
This report says that Victoria “saw” the murder. Her name is now Tori Scrippscarmody. She is a sophomore at the University of Vermont.
Some of you have asked about Ms. Petrillo’s husband. At this time, I have no information about her marriage.
A portion of Anne Petrillo’s suicide note said “I love everyone, but this what I want.”