The father of the young beauty queen who leaped to her death from a Manhattan high-rise Sunday morning said his daughter was “pure,” didn’t use drugs or alcohol and said it was likely some kind of depression led her to take her own life.
“She was pure, she didn’t take any kind of drugs or prescription medication,” a man who identified himself as Rodney Kryst, 62, told The Post from his home in Charlotte, NC, Tuesday. “She never had any kind of substance abuse problem.”
Said Kryst, “I think it had a lot to do with family dysfunction but it will be awhile before we can talk more. She was sad.”
Rodney Kryst is a Polish-American former bodybuilder. He and her mother, April Simpkins, a human resources executive, split up when Cheslie was young and her mother remarried. Rodney and April had four children together.
“Today is a special day to show appreciation to all the fathers and father figures who have made our lives special,” Kryst said in a video she posted on her social media about her father on Father’s Day in 2020.
“My dad introduced me to athletics. He took my siblings and me to the track every weekend when we were young when we didn’t want to. And he told us endless stories of his body-building days.”
She also gave props to her stepfather and said both men inspired her.
On Monday, Cheslie’s grandfather, Gary Simpkins, said the family was reeling from the loss.
“To be extinguished so fast is just devastating,’” Simpkins said Monday. “‘So hard to imagine one minute they’re here and one minute they’re not. And you know that the only [way] you’ll ever see them again is when you yourself pass away.”
Kryst was found by police at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday on the ground outside of the Orion condominium building at 350 W. 42nd St., where she lived on the ninth floor. She was alone when she jumped from an open terrace on the 29th floor that morning.
Kryst’s family released a statement after her death.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie. Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.”
The statement added: “Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor, and colleague – we know her impact will live on.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.