Daughter of Slain Newspaper Heiress Jumps to Death

Flung self over same bridge where father committed suicide 15 years ago

Saturday, Sep 26, 2009  |  Updated 3:49 PM EDT
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Daughter of Slain Newspaper Heiress Jumps to Death

AP

Morrell apparently jumped off the Tappan Zee Bridge, the same bridge her father jumped off of after brutally killing her mother 15 years ago.

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The daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas is believed to have jumped to her death from the same bridge as her stepfather after he brutally killed her mother 15 years ago, New York state police said.

Cops are searching the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown for the body of Anne Morell Petrillo; they confirmed yesterday her death is believed to be a suicide. Witnesses saw the 38-year-old woman leave her car on the span Thursday night, take off her clothes and plunge into the Hudson River, reports the Daily News.

A note was found in Morell's BMW SUV car, but authorities wouldn't comment on what it said.

Authorities are still searching for her body.
    
She was just 22 when her mother was beaten to death with a hammer in Morell's bedroom by her stepfather, Scott Douglas, on New Year's Eve in 1993. Anne Scripps Douglas was hit at least five times in the head and face as she was lying on a bed; she clung to life in a coma for six days before dying.
 
Douglas fled and jumped to his death from the same bridge. Cops couldn't find his body and initially believed he may have faked his suicide. Then Douglas' badly decomposed body washed up in the Bronx three months after the slaying.

The case brought national attention to domestic violence in wealthy homes and was the source of a 1997 television movie, "Our Mother's Murder."
    
Anne Morell has a sister, Alexandra, who had no immediate comment on Morrell's apparent suicide.
    
Anne Douglas was the great-great-granddaughter of Detroit News founder James Scripps.
 

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