The last night of Curtis Durbin’s life, his mother went into his room to give him a hug.
Months before, the 20-year-old Durbin had battled severe depression, but he was making progress, Victoria Durbin said. He had gone to counseling and received treatment, and everything appeared to be on the right path.
“I got to spend three of the best weeks that I have ever spent with my son,” she said. “He was in a great spot.”
They were planning to leave the next day to visit family in Wichita, and he was excited about going with her, she said.
But then everything went wrong. Victoria Durbin said she went to bed and woke up early the next morning and noticed that her son had left their Platte City home. He likely connected with some friends, she said.
Early on Feb. 3, police said, Curtis Durbin started fires inside a dozen vehicles. They found his body inside a charred white GMC in the 2100 block of Wilkerson Drive in Platte City. He died of smoke inhalation. The vehicle’s owner told KCTV-5 that the only way to open the driver’s door from the inside was with a screwdriver.
Durbin’s funeral will be held at noon today at D.W. Newcomer’s Sons White Chapel Funeral Home at 6600 N. Antioch Road. Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Like many young people, his mother said, Durbin often struggled to find a direction in life and occasionally hung out with the wrong crowd.
He attended high school in Butler, Mo., but dropped out in the ninth grade. Victoria Durbin and her son moved to Platte City in 2007.
In January he was charged with second-degree burglary. Authorities allege that he broke into a residence in Platte County in October and stole a television, a video game system, a shotgun and other items.
“He was depressed, and he couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do, and there was a multitude of things he needed to work on,” she said.
Victoria Durbin said Curtis was her only child.
“He was my world,” she said. “I have not lost my son. I have lost my best friend.”
She said Curtis had been asked to leave a residential treatment facility for 21 days because he’d violated an administrative policy. He needed additional counseling and treatment, she said.
“It was a matter of waiting for a phone call and he would have been back in there,” Victoria Durbin said.
She encourages other parents whose children struggle with depression to seek help.
“Now that my heart has been ripped out of my chest, I am willing to do anything I can so that another parent doesn’t have to go through what I have,” she said.