Marizza Mitchell’s story – The First Lieutenant’s untimely death and its aftermath

Marizza Mitchell

Marizza “Mitch” Mitchell was only 25 years old when she took her own life on April 9, 2021. Born in 1996 to Tiffany Quini and Phillip Mitchell, Marizza had a penchant for being self-taught in numerous skills such as photography, poetry, and playing musical instruments.

She was accomplished from a young age and obtained a College Associates Degree at the same time she graduated from high school with honors. Moreover, she documented her life as the National Vice President of DECA on YouTube. Marizza’s preventable death in her adulthood is seen as another case of the military’s long-standing negligence of mental illness.

Marizza Mitchell was battling depression after the murder of her unit mate Vanessa Guillen

Marizza Mitchell and Vanessa Guillen
Marizza Mitchell and Vanessa Guillen

At the time of her death, Marizza Mitchell was a First Lieutenant of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment stationed at the Fort Hood military base located in Texas. She had a promising career ahead of her.

Things changed when the widely publicized murder of Vanessa Guillen at the hands of a fellow soldier came to light in June 2020. Mitchell and Guillen were in the same unit and had known each other. According to a Facebook post made by her mother Tiffany Quini on June 11, 2021, Mitchell became depressed over Guillen’s death and felt unsafe and untrustful of her unit.

She battled depression for months and was prescribed Aripiprazole by the doctors there. However, after being on medication for several months, another doctor discontinued her medication based on it being unfit for a soldier on duty. They instead prescribed her other medications that were not effective, to say the least.

Mitchell’s mental health severely deteriorated under the side effects of the new prescriptions and on January 1, 2020, she attempted suicide. Fortunately, the gun did not fire when she pressed the trigger and in a moment of clarity, she alerted her chain of command. Upon learning of her suicide attempt, her guns were seized and she was admitted into the behavioral health ward of Darnall Hospital.

After staying at the ward for a week without much treatment offered, she was enrolled in a month-long outpatient treatment program as opposed to an inpatient treatment program that she needed. Mitchell felt suicidal again.

“After a few days, she called me and said the program wasn’t working. They were not offering any help; it was just a bunch of soldiers talking about their problems. She said she needed something more beneficial like an inpatient program,” wrote Quini.

Mitchell took her own life by suffocation a week after she was told that she “would never get better”

Marizza Mitchell's mother Tiffany Quini
Mitch’s mother, Tiffany Quini

Despite Quini’s attempt to have her daughter join a proper treatment program, the commanding officers did not fully register the seriousness of the issue and Mitchell remained in the outpatient program for the remainder of the month.

Later, the doctors informed Mitchell that she was going to be expelled from the army for attempting suicide and decided to cut off her medications and prescribed Aripiprazole to her again. Unsettled by yet another abrupt change in the medication, she sought a second opinion before doing as instructed.

“She knew the only reason she felt suicidal was due to the side effects from the meds they had her on so she asked for a second opinion before switching. At her second opinion, the doctor told her she was unfit for duty and would never get better,” wrote Quini in the post.

Mitchell was ‘devastated’ by the news and a week later on April 9, she took her own life by suffocation. After her death, the military failed to abide by Quini’s request to have access to Mitchell’s medical reports. They told her that due to an “ongoing investigation by the army”, the reports were being withheld from outsiders. Quini wrote:

“The doctors and the chain of command failed her and failed me. I told them I need her medical records because I intend to hire an attorney to hold them accountable for her death. I still have not received those records… They are aware that I cannot retain an attorney without those records. I fear they are covering up another Fort Hood failure.”

After waiting for almost a year, Quini received her daughter’s medical records in April 2022 and found that the behavioral health department had mismanaged Mitchell’s mental health care and treatment.

Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend, Kelley Morgan, was called out for using her suicide to get clout on social media

Marizza Mitchell and Kelley Morgan
Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend, Kelley Morgan | sugarbaddiemitch/instagram

On June 30, 2022, Tiffany Quini posted a video on her TikTok account urging Marizza’s ex-girlfriend, Kelley Morgan, to stop using her suicide case for clout and money. Quini also said that Morgan’s relationship with her daughter was one of the main causes of her suicide.

Quini described Morgan as a “very hateful and malicious person” who “completely destroyed her daughter” and accused her of posting misleading information about their relationship on social media that painted her in a good light.

She further claimed that Morgan was aware of Mitchell’s suicide plan nine days before the incident and had not taken her issues seriously or even alerted her family members about the grave information. However, she later retracted the statement and said that she was unsure of Morgan’s actions in the situation.

Morgan, who had previously posted videos talking about Mitchell’s suicide and sought donations to fulfill her last wishes, went private on TikTok amid the accusations.

While her videos implied that she and Mitchell were still together at the time of her death, Quini states that the couple had broken up before that. Nonetheless, Morgan was apparently the last person Mitchell spoke to before her suicide.

“Kelley thought my daughter was nothing more than a puppy that she adopted and decided she didn’t want to take care of anymore or a toy that she didn’t want to have and could just give away. This person that is becoming TikTok famous off my daughter’s suicide is a really awful person,” said Quini in her video.

Kelley Morgan sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tiffany Quini to stop mentioning her in online posts

Kelley Morgan has yet to address the controversy and has seemingly taken a hiatus from social media. But it is known that she had sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tiffany Quini over threats she received after Quini’s video became viral.

Quini acknowledged the letter from Morgan in a statement posted on July 10, 2022. She wrote:

“The letter claims that the threatening messages were sent in response to my videos addressing the videos she posted about my deceased daughter. Though I have no way of verifying these accusations, I would like to ask that no one send any threatening messages to her as that was never my hope or intention.”

Yet, Quini agreed to refrain from using Morgan’s name or images in further social media posts and also requested her to remove two videos that referenced Marizza’s death. She stated that if Morgan were to remove the two videos in question, she would also lend the same favor and remove the videos on her account that called her out.

Although there are no public statements from Morgan as of now, Quini hopes that the both of them can move forward with their separate lives.

“I will continue to advocate for suicide prevention of soldiers, for mental health, and for domestic mental and emotional abuse prevention in honor of my daughter because her life mattered,” she added.