His former trainer Percy "Buster" Custus also told ABCNews.com that Turpin was never mentally fit to be on the show. "He wasn't even supposed to be on the show," said Custus, a former Golden Gloves boxer. According to Custus, Turpin not only failed a psychological evaluation for the show but had previously attempted suicide. Nonetheless, Custus said, the young athlete was pushed to join the show.
The network established a fund for Turpin's family, but Custus believes NBC could have done more. "I'm not happy with how they treated Najai," he said. "I'm not happy with the fund either."
NBC did not respond to requests for comment.
James Scott Terrill
The Georgetown, Ky., single dad appeared on the ABC reality show "Supernanny" in January 2008, seeking help in managing his two sons, Lane, 11, and Tate, 5, after their mom abandoned them.
But after the cameras left, Terrill was reportedly still struggling with parenting solo. On July 4, 2008, he called Georgetown police from the cemetery where his father was buried and threatened to shoot himself in the chest. Police stayed on the phone with him for nearly an hour but in the end the 37-year-old took his own life.
ABC Entertainment, declined to comment. ABC Entertainment is part of The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ABC News.
In the second installment of "Paradise Hotel," the Fox reality show in which participants compete to see who can stay in a luxury hotel the longest, 25-year-old Clutter appeared, even though he had committed suicide just after production was wrapped on the show.
Originally the show covered his Oct. 12, 2007 death by saying the former call center employee had fallen during a climbing accident. But after an investigation by the Sheriff's office outside Amarillo, Texas, where he died, it was determined that Clutter had actually jumped from the top of a cellular tower.
"There were no findings of foul play [and] all evidence and findings show that [Clutter's death] was a product of his own demise," read the Sheriff's report obtained by RealityTVWorld.com.
A member of the Sheriff's Office was also quoted saying that Clutter battled depression and bipolar disorder and his family had recently wired him money so he could return home and receive treatment.
His family and producers agreed to keep in Clutter's scenes, according to Broadcasting & Cable.com.
Fox did not respond to requests for comment.
Reality shows in other countries have experienced similar tragedies, proving it's not just an American phenomenon. In fact, the 1997 suicide of a Swedish man who participated in the forerunner to the "Survivor," series, a show called "Expedition: Robinson," produced by Mark Burnett, led Burnett and other producers to screen potential contestants through psychological testing before they were casted. Nevertheless, several incidents have occurred since then.
In England, two contestants killed themselves and another reportedly tried after participating in reality shows, according to TheWrap.com. Simon Foster was found dead on April 15, 2008 presumably from an excess of methadone and alcohol, after he did English version of the show "Wife Swap" with his then wife Jane. Carina Stephenson, a 17-year-old English girl, took her life in May 2005, two weeks before her role on the UK reality show "The Colony" was to air.
Jo O'Meara, who appeared on England's "Celebrity Big Brother," downed pills and whiskey after she was accused of being a racist and a bully on the show and received death threats when it was over. She survived after a friend found her, but O'Meara was still furious with producers for "abandoning" her, she told Britain's News of the World in March 2007.
"I actually did hardly anything on that show, but it made me look like some monster," she said. "Then when the show finished playing with me like a puppet it abandoned me and left me to sort out my problems, knowing just how bad I'd become."