VERONA - An email from a concerned friend of a suicidal student in Verona, Italy, mistakenly went to a police department of the same name in New Jersey, but authorities say it helped save the woman.
Police Chief Mitchell Stern says the department received an email April 14 from someone concerned about a student at the Verona Academy of Fine Arts in Italy. Stern says the email came from a student in the United Kingdom who says the woman told him in an online chat that she was going to harm herself.
“I’ve got to take care of this right away. Everything has to stop,” says Stern. “Somebody's life is in danger. That's what we have to do. You have to act on that."
After several dead ends, Stern eventually got in touch with Interpol, which forwarded the emergency to the state police in Italy.
The Italian Interior Ministry says the student was found with her wrists partially slit and with a half-empty bottle of antidepressants.
Stern says that the email and the student’s situation resonated with him because just a few days before his police officers were able to successfully stop a young woman from harming herself with a knife.
"Suicide, it stops the pain for the victim but it just opens a world of pain for everybody else,” says Stern.
Stern says that he received an email from the student whose life he helped save thanking him.
The chief is working on a reply to the student and wants to tell her to get assistance if she feels she needs it. He also wants to tell her that no problem is insurmountable.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.