Open Letter to the Memphis TN Community on Behalf of Andrew Dunlap

Subject: Open Letter to the Memphis TN Community on Behalf of Andrew Dunlap
From: Miranda Culp
Date: 28 May 2015

On May 27, Andrew Dunlap attacked his parents in their home. He is charged with attempted murder and he is bipolar/schizophrenic.

To the DA handling Andrew Dunlap’s Case, his Attorney and the Memphis Community;

I have known Andrew since 1996. We were college sweethearts and he was unlike any man I had ever met: kind and polite, thoughtful, funny and incredibly creative. He was and is, in my mind, the archetypal Southern Gentleman.

Andrew loves his parents and admires their 50-year relationship with a special reverence. When I spoke with his mother Marcia last summer after they had moved Andrew back in with them, she said, “Well, he loves us and he wants to please us, so that makes it easier.”

I cannot describe to you the suffering this family has faced so bravely in dealing with Andrew’s disease. Marcia told me that when Robin Williams committed suicide, it sent Andrew into a tailspin because he regularly heard voices that told him to kill himself. He was not even diagnosed as bipolar/ schizophrenic until he was in his late 30s and I really believe that had this happened around college, when most schizophrenics are diagnosed, this whole horrific event might not have happened at all.

John and Marcia Dunlap are some of the most kind, Christian parents I have ever met, and the last people on earth who deserve this horror. Andrew is a loving son, a magnificent person whose consciousness has been hijacked by a truly monstrous disease. He did not make decisions that night; he was trapped in a heinous nightmare that culminated in the attack on his parents.

I do not know why, if Andrew had stopped taking his medication, he was not in a facility. I do not know why, when John and Marcia came home and saw that the house was ransacked, they did not call 911. But these things indicate a lack of responsiveness on the part of his doctors in adequately arming the Dunlap’s with vital information and taking steps to ensure Andrew didn’t hurt his family or himself.

I don’t want to diminish the reasonable outrage that everyone feels as a result of this horrible crime. But finding Andrew guilty of attempted murder is like finding an Alzheimer’s patient guilty of forgetting, or a cancer patient of losing weight. His disease is hell enough.

What I want the Memphis community to understand is that justice in the traditional sense will only do Andrew’s family more harm. If Andrew goes to prison, he will not make it. I urge the Memphis Community to get Andrew into a mental health facility where he can finally get the care he needs.

Miranda Culp