Home » Journalist » Kathy Scruggs Cause of Death, Family, Downfall, Richard Jewell, Journalist

Kathy Scruggs Cause of Death, Family, Downfall, Richard Jewell, Journalist

Who was Kathy Scruggs?

Kathy Scruggs was an American reporter working for Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). She became popular in the 1990s for breaking the story that the FBI was investigating security guard Richard Jewell as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics bombing.

The article which was headlined  “FBI Suspects ‘Hero’ Guard May Have Planted Bomb” made Jewell the talk of debate even after being cleared of the crime. Eric Rudolph eventually confessed and pleaded guilty to that bombing and other attacks.

Kathy Scruggs Age when She died

Scruggs was 43 years old at the time of her death. She was born on Sept. 26, 1958, in Atlanta.

Kathy Scruggs Cause of Death

Scruggs died in 2001 of a morphine overdose.

Kathy Scruggs Family

Scruggs was born and raised in Atlanta. She was the daughter of Lewis “Bubber” Scruggs Sr. and Nancy Bentley Scruggs. Her father was a Gridiron Secret Society member at the University of Georgia and a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Her mother owned a travel agency. Kathy had an elder brother called Lewis Scruggs Jr. who worked in the insurance business.

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What happened to Kathy Scruggs

Kathy was known for her solid reporting. She worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter.  She became famous after breaking the story that security guard Richard Jewell was considered a possible suspect by the FBI. This led to him being scrutinized and ridiculed by the media before he was cleared as a suspect.

It all happened in 1996 when security guard Richard Jewell alerted police during the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kathy Scruggs
Journalist Kathy Scruggs

On the park grounds, he discovered a backpack containing three pipe bombs and assisted in evacuating the area before the bomb exploded, saving many people from injury or death.

For months after the bomb was detonated, he was suspected of planting it, resulting in negative publicity that “came to symbolize the excesses of law enforcement and the news media.”

Initially hailed as a hero by the media, Jewell was quickly identified as a suspect by the FBI and local law enforcement based on psychological profiling. Despite the fact that he was never charged, Jewell was subjected to a “trial by media,” which had a negative impact on both his personal and professional life.

After 88 days of public scrutiny, he was cleared as a suspect. Eric Rudolph eventually admitted to the bombing and other attacks and pleaded guilty. The media circus that surrounded the investigation was widely cited as an example of law enforcement and media excess.

Did Kathy Scruggs ever apologize to Richard Jewell?

Kathy did not personally apologize to Richard Jewell, However, the story haunted her until her death. She was never at peace as the story continued to get bigger and bigger with everyone crucifying Richard Jewel.

After Jewell was cleared, the media blamed her for making it public that Jewell was a suspect. She was blamed for ruining Jewell’s life who was once considered a hero.

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Kathy Scruggs Clint Eastwood Film

In December 2019, a biographical drama film Richard Jewel was released portraying the real life of Jewell. The film was written by Billy Ray and directed and produced by Clint Eastwood.

In 2017, the series Manhunt was released depicting the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber. In 2020, Manhunt: Deadly Games was released following the hunt for Eric Rudolph, who was the perpetrator of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing after suspicion initially fell on security guard Richard Jewell. Carla Gugino portrayed Kathy’s character.

Kathy Scruggs Downfall

Kathy’s downfall began when she realized how her story destroyed Richard Jewell’s life. She was never at peace as she was facing possible jail time together with the media blaming her for destroying Jewell’s life and reputation. The story contributed to her stress and failing health.

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