On the day of his death, Michael J. Crutchfield e-mailed home to relate his pain.
"As you know, there are more people waiting for me to pull this trigger than there are waiting on my return to the States," Crutchfield wrote in a portion of the message intended for his mother.
"I'm done hurting. All my life I've been hurting... end this pain," Crutchfield wrote at the end of his two-page message.
Crutchfield, 21, of Stockton, Calif., killed himself Dec. 23 in Balad. He was assigned to Fort Bragg and his friends said he felt like he had no one to talk to.
In his last phone call to friend Angelina Sotello, Crutchfield said he felt lonely and that no one cared, she said. Crutchfield, who had been in foster care, did not talk about his childhood, even when asked, she said.
Six months after his 17th birthday, he moved into the Duarte family's home in Stockton to finish school after the foster program ended.
The family never saw anything in him that would lead them to believe he would take his own life.
"We don't see what goes on over there, so we don't know what happened or what triggered him. Maybe it was just too much," Danielle Duarte said.
Published online on Dec. 29, 2006