Nate Burrell, who had participated in two seasons of A&E’s 60 Days In, publicly committed suicide in downtown Allegan, Michigan on Saturday.
60 Days In follows people who volunteer to be imprisoned in a county jail under assumed identities for two months. Burrell, 33, first appeared during the show’s third season and was slated to appear in an extension of the fourth season after establishing rapport with inmates inside Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail.
However, according to Michigan court records, Burrell was charged with multiple counts of assault and one count of rape in late October. As a result, he was facing five felony charges — including assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. His arraignment was scheduled for November 9.
Prior to his suicide, Burrell posted a long note on Facebook outlining his plan and saying goodbye to his loved ones. The note began with Burrell assuring his Facebook friends and family that, “this isn’t an admission of guilt.” Instead, he revealed that, “I’m just tired, I’ve been through so much in my life, the pain of my situation now hurts more than I ever imagined. I can’t keep going on.”
Burrell also alluded to an impending separation from his pregnant wife, writing that, “I can only imagine how bad this would all turn out, all the legal crap that would ensue after this with custody and everything else. You win! You have promised for weeks, you will ruin my life and I had no idea who I was messing with. You are right, I didn’t know who I was messing with.”
Yet, Burrell ended his post with an encouraging message for his wife, stating, “Jordan you are going to do better raising our son without me than with me.” He also reassured his friends and family that his decision was not “spontaneous” and that he had attempted to utilize mental health assistance. Unfortunately, he was discouraged by the way in which the American healthcare system handled patients who were contemplating suicide and his condition worsened after his hospital stay.
Burrell served as an active duty Marine from 2006 to 2010 and competed two tours in Iraq. He served in the Reserves for three years before he was honorably discharged in 2013. Burrell used his suicide note to urge for mental health care reform within America — especially for veterans.
In his post, he stated that, “we have been told we are weak if we seek medical help in the military” and that veterans “aren’t getting the treatment they need when they reach out for help.” Therefore, “you need a better system America. This is the reason veterans and our military are killing themselves at such a high rate.”
Burrell also reaffirmed his decision to commit suicide by writing that, “for those who are mourning — know I’m in such a better place. I’m no longer fighting the battles that have been causing so much pain in my mind and life.” He is survived by his sister, Chelsey Walker.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is a valuable resource and can be reached by phone (800) 656-4673 or online at rainn.org.