Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame says he has learned the mother of Police Chief Mike De Nardo, who killed himself Thursday, did not die last weekend as Fillingame had been told.
Fillingame called the Sun Herald on Saturday morning to say what the embattled police chief told him for several days was not true.
De Nardo had said his mother had died.
“Normally that’s not something you lie about,” Fillingame said, adding the revelation was heartbreaking to him.
De Nardo shot himself in the chest Thursday at the Bay St. Louis police station and was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said.
In the hours and days after his suicide, it was revealed he had been under investigation and being suspended.
Fillingame told the Sun Herald in a video and news story Friday morning he had been in communication with De Nardo over the prior weekend and early in the week as De Nardo traveled to New York in the wake of his mother’s death.
De Nardo told Fillingame in a text message he was having difficulties getting home. Fillingame has since provided the Sun Herald with a screen shot of the text conversation.
Fillingame, trying to make some sense of De Nardo’s suicide, had said besides being under investigation, De Nardo was reeling from the effects of his mother’s death and a difficult trip home that took days.
But after the Sun Herald interview went online Friday and in print Saturday, Fillingame learned from De Nardo’s stepdaughter and then his son that De Nardo’s mother is alive.
Now Fillingame says he doesn’t know if De Nardo went to New York or even left Bay St. Louis during those days.
Fillingame has a string of text messages from De Nardo and had phone conversations with De Nardo about his mother’s death. The mayor was being sympathetic and supportive.
“I had no reason to not believe him about his mother,” he said. “Obviously something else was going on.
“Once again, that breaks my heart. Now we really don’t know what was going on.”
Fillingame said De Nardo had supplied details about his mother and her condition, and confirmed he was in New York. Fillingame said De Nardo told him he was stuck in Cleveland, Ohio, had flights canceled and had to take a 20-hour bus ride home. He even texted the mayor Tuesday saying he was in New Orleans and still trying to get home.
“These are even more bizarre twists than what we were aware of in the last week of his life,” Fillingame said.