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Analysis reveals Mesquite councilwoman’s last word was ‘sorry’

After further analysis of the chilling 911 recording, police in Mesquite now say City Councilwoman Donna Fairchild’s last known word was "sorry" not "suicide."

In an unusual move, the Mesquite Police Department has corrected the transcript of the call Fairchild made to dispatchers moments before she shot herself in the early morning hours of Jan. 25.

Her death was the final act in a murder-suicide that also left her 62-year-old husband, Bill, dead and shocked the city 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Authorities originally interpreted Fairchild’s 911 call as, "We’re in the bedroom, the front door is unlocked, and I’m post suicide." They now think the 52-year-old finished the 12-second call with the words, "and I’m so, so sorry."

A public memorial service for the couple will be held at noon today in Mesquite.

City spokesman Bryan Dangerfield said the police investigation of the murder-suicide is essentially over.

Detectives are awaiting the results of toxicology tests by the Clark County coroner’s office and tying up a few "loose ends," he said.

In a statement Thursday, Mesquite Police Chief Douglas Law said those final details "could help us understand the ‘why,’ but we may never know."

Friends of the councilwoman have said Fairchild exhibited no unusual behavior in the hours leading up to her death.

Speculation is rampant in the community of about 21,000, but Fairchild left few clues as to her motives.

On the day she shot her husband of 21 years and then killed herself, Fairchild was facing discipline or possible removal from the City Council because of a $94.60 travel reimbursement form for a trip she did not take and for another possible violation of the city’s code of conduct.

On the night before her death, she made arrangements with city officials to resign from her elected post before that day’s council meeting.

Dangerfield said the change to the 911 transcript came after the recording was sent to a Henderson transcription company for further analysis. After the company, iWrite Transcription Inc., cleaned up the audio, it became clear that Fairchild did not use the words "post suicide," a mechanical-sounding phrase some had attributed to her background as a Denver police officer.

Dangerfield said it certainly sounded that way to him when he first listened to the recording.

Though changing the transcript does not alter the overall version of events, Dangerfield said he was glad to see "the record set straight."

Law has said the call from Fairchild came in at 4:33 a.m. on Jan. 25. Officers arrived at the couple’s home about two minutes later to find them both dead.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal. com or 702-383-0350.

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