Body found in Lincoln Park confirmed by police as suicide victim

June 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 39 Comments

We’ve received several questions about a large medical callout in Lincoln Park tonight. It closed before we got there – and unfortunately, we’ve learned, that’s because, as confirmed by a Seattle Police tweet, the person was dead, and there was nothing that medics could do. We followed up with SPD spokesperson Officer Drew Fowler tonight and he says they investigated and determined it was a case of suicide.

Every time we report suicide, we include this reminder: For anyone with thoughts of suicide, help is available through the Crisis Clinic, 24 hours a day – the hotline is 206-461-3222.

ADDED TUESDAY: As noted in the comment discussion, and confirmed by a school memo forwarded to us by multiple readers, the victim was discovered by students from Holy Rosary School who were at an event in the park, and that it, as you would expect, was a traumatic experience. In the memo, principal George Hofbauer wrote, “When something like this happens, the Catholic Schools band together. The High Schools, along with some grade schools, are sending their counselors to Holy Rosary today. The counselors will meet with each class. They will then be available for one on one meetings with children and staff who feel they need to talk privately.”

39 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for always publishing that crisis line phone number. We never know when someone in our community reading one of these stories is currently in a crisis and considering ending their own life, and may be able to take that step and call that number for help.

    My heart goes out to this man, whoever he is, and to his family and friends.

    Comment by Gabs — 10:48 pm June 2, 2014 #

  2. I second what Gabs said.

    On a related note, for those prone to depression and/or bipolar, watch that the change in daylight, for example as we go into long days of summer, doesn’t wreak havoc with your mood. These seasonal changes in the amount of daylight can affect sleeping patterns and trigger episodes. Try to regularize your sleeping patterns, even if that means blocking light out of your bedroom.

    Thought I’d just throw that out there for those who are affected but may not realize it; my sister is.

    Comment by G — 12:32 am June 3, 2014 #

  3. I just want to thank you for reporting on this at all. I know the larger news outlets in Seattle keep an unspoken rule of not reporting on suicides but I appreciate the awareness it can provide.

    Comment by Brian Connolly — 7:43 am June 3, 2014 #

  4. I was close to this person. Also close to his sister. Mental health is something everyone should think about. We live in a city with a high level of mental health issue. Moniter yourself and those around you.

    Comment by brian — 8:24 am June 3, 2014 #

  5. Brian – we are sorry for your loss and for the victim’s family/friends. To this point, sadly, I also note that suicide happens far more often than it is mentioned, even in publications like ours that don’t observe the outdated taboo. It is more frequent than homicide – the King County Medical Examiner’s annual report for 2012 listed 69 homicides, 281 suicides countywide. We only hear of the ones that came to public light, usually because, like this, they happened in a public place. In addition to the Crisis Clinic hotline, I also should mention the risk factors/warning signs list from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Not that you would always know – friends/relatives are so often left wondering whether they could have foreseen/prevented it, and there is no reason to add to that angst – but it’s helpful to be aware of this information anyway: https://www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs

    Comment by WSB — 8:44 am June 3, 2014 #

  6. This morning, Holy Rosary sent out a message to parents noting that it was school children who discovered the man hanging in the tree.

    Comment by OP — 10:01 am June 3, 2014 #

  7. How old was this guy?

    Comment by alki resident — 11:26 am June 3, 2014 #

  8. AR, I don’t know. OP, thank you. We’ve received the memo from several parents – have been out on a story but will be updating upon return. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:46 am June 3, 2014 #

  9. I was this wonderful man’s girlfriend and had no idea .

    Please give your family and friends an extra hug tonight.

    I am so very sorry for the kids at Holy Rosary and coaches that found this wonderful man that had mental illness. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    To all of his friends and family, we can not blame ourselves . I know this is easier said than done believe me. I’m struggling with the blame part right now.

    I will forever love and miss you. Miss you already Sweetie

    Comment by Shelly B — 1:09 pm June 3, 2014 #

  10. Shelly B… how terrible to have that happen to you. We lost a very very close friend last year to suicide. We tried to help him but HE DID NOT WANT HELP. He chose to wallow in his sickness. he was only 46… what a waste, a musician, poet and writer… so sad.

    Our thoughts and prayers to you and his family. His course was laid out for him by our maker and nothing you could have done would change that.

    Peace.

    Comment by Jeff F — 1:19 pm June 3, 2014 #

  11. Brian and Shelly B, I’m so sorry.

    Comment by Jason — 1:57 pm June 3, 2014 #

  12. So, so sorry, to his family, his friends, his girlfriend, the kids who found him. My comment here seems so tiny, trivial and dumb, but my heart truly aches for you.

    Comment by AJP — 2:38 pm June 3, 2014 #

  13. Brian, Shelly B, and all of this Man’s love ones; deepest condolences to all of you….

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 3:36 pm June 3, 2014 #

  14. Shelly,

    My child was part of the group of children who found your friend last night. You were in our thoughts and prayers last night and now we have a name to continue them with. I am very touched that during your time of terrible grief you are thinking of others and reaching out to the kids. Thank you for your prayers. I am very sorry for your loss.

    Comment by MC — 3:46 pm June 3, 2014 #

  15. There were and are strong ethical reason not to report suicide at all, namely to avoid contagion suicides and protect the family.
    .
    Those are not outdated ethical concerns.
    .
    If anything, more caution should be used now. It’s true that a death by suicide can be covered with regard to ethical considerations (which clearly was done here).
    .
    However, the community involvement with media like WS Blog means that information that violates health standards and ethics is likely to be posted in comments (for example, we now know the method from the comments section).

    .

    Comment by JoAnne — 5:22 pm June 3, 2014 #

  16. JoAnne, there are no remaining ethical grounds on which ignoring suicide and/or sweeping it under the rug is recommended to media. We are deeply familiar with the American Federation for Suicide Prevention’s suggestions http://www.afsp.org/content/download/1066/16814/file/recommendations.pdf and they are what we follow. Key point:

    Covering suicide carefully, even briefly, can change public misperceptions and correct myths, which can encourage those who are vulnerable or at risk to seek help.

    If you look at this and our past reports, carefully and briefly are hallmarks of what we do. Also, reporting the method is not considered to be unethical. Romanticizing or dwelling on it is, as is explicitly detailed description of how it happened. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:32 pm June 3, 2014 #

  17. Maybe next to the suicide hotline you can list a number for the long term unemployed to get a job.
    -
    Since moving to Seattle 3 years ago I’ve had nothing but rejection after rejection after rejection. I have a BS in Accounting with over 20 years of experience, I’m an advanced Excel user, I’ve written business plans, I’ve done SEC reporting (10K/10Q), & I make a delicious shrimp mousse dip.
    -
    Recruiters have done nothing for me, zippo. I seldom get responses after an application & I haven’t had an interview for a professional (accounting or business) job in 2+ years, that’s a long time.
    -
    My wife’s boss put in a good word & got me an interview with a professional firm downtown. The Controller said to me, “why do you want THIS job, you could do MY job!” Gee thanks, Rick.
    -
    I started selling consumer merchandise online several years ago with tremendous success, just not enough to live on. My margins are off the charts … did I mention I’m highly analytical & very good with numbers & spreadsheets?
    -
    I had an interview 2 weeks ago with Goodwill who was hiring for an e-Commerce Auction Lister for their online site, hey that’s me! I’m an eBay Top Rated Seller but Goodwill chose someone else, likely because they saw my professional background & assumed $13/hr wouldn’t keep me very long.
    -
    The only reason I’m still breathing today is because I have a wife & dog that love me deeply.
    -
    I’ve applied at Costco & Amazon & Nordstrom & Macys … small companies, big companies, the results are the same.
    -
    I’ve never been arrested, I don’t do drugs, & I’ve never smoked in my entire life. I’m not looking for handouts, I haven’t received any unemployment compensation.
    -
    But if you work in HR or you’re a hiring manager somewhere, maybe you could take another look at that person who’s been out of work awhile or someone that has a strong aptitude just not relevant experience (i.e. smart people CAN learn if you give them a chance), you could change someone’s life for the better.

    Comment by drahcir61 — 6:32 pm June 3, 2014 #

  18. WSB I applaud your ethics and compassion and very considerate reporting on this issue.

    Comment by LFauntleroy — 6:33 pm June 3, 2014 #

  19. drahcir61 good luck, thanks for sharing your story. so true. long term unemployment is a huge stressor and major contributor to serious depression.

    Does anyone know – there used to be a regular support network that met one morning at C&P Coffee for unemployed professionals. Anyone know the details?

    Comment by Gabs — 7:32 pm June 3, 2014 #

  20. It’s been in our calendar for years. Look for Notes from the Job Search: http://westseattleblog.com/events (browser “find” probably easiest way to scroll to it)

    Comment by WSB — 7:39 pm June 3, 2014 #

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss, Shelley.

    Comment by Chris W — 9:13 pm June 3, 2014 #

  22. Shelly B,

    I knew your boyfriend and his sister and enjoyed the conversations I had with him. Please accept my condolences to you and his family.

    Comment by kj — 9:57 pm June 3, 2014 #

  23. I’m so sorry Shelly B for your loss. My heart goes out to you, his family and friends.. and the the ones who found him. Hope he found the peace he was searching for and he can rest in peace.

    There is an City over night suicide prevention walk coming up June 14th-15th and Community walk at Green Lake Oct 12th, if anyone is interested in walking in someones honor, or for yourself, should you have ever thought or attempted..I can’t do 20 miles, so I will be doing the Oct. walk

    http://www.afsp.org/out-of-the-darkness-walks

    Comment by ~HockeyWitch~ — 11:16 pm June 3, 2014 #

  24. My heart goes out to Shelly B, Brian, the other loved ones who are affected by this, and the children who were in the park that day.

    @ JoAnne – as tragic and private as this is for those who knew this man, it happened in a very public place with children coming upon the scene to witness the means by which he took his life. This was not a hidden event and compassionate connections between some of his loved ones and the public are unfolding on this blog.

    Thank you, WSB, for your professional and respectful reporting on this.

    Comment by m — 11:29 pm June 3, 2014 #

  25. This man was our friend, a fun loving, always there for you, great to be around person. He was a good friend to many in West Seattle and this summer will just not be the same. It is So sad, words cannot express. I am so sorry to the children who had to witness this, so sorry. Mental illness is real and stigma that comes with it needs to be done away. RIP my friend. You are missed.

    Comment by RJB — 6:29 am June 4, 2014 #

  26. This man was more than a friend, he was an inspiration, a confider and one of the best people I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Although this event has struck me with unconditional force I am astounded by the amount of support and understanding from community members, school members, friends and family. Thank you for your love during this devastating time. RIP

    Comment by YourGolfingBud — 10:56 am June 4, 2014 #

  27. I met this man for the first time on Saturday while walking through the alley on the north end of Lincoln Park. My husband knew him from the golf course and introduced me and our friend who was with us and our two dogs to him – he had a genuine warmth and kind eyes. We only connected for a moment and now seeing this story hurts my heart for those who are suffering with his tragic loss. What I can say is that he seemed at peace on Saturday, he was smiling, he had a warmth that was felt by strangers, and didn’t appear to be suffering. You never know what’s going on behind the facade of the physical form as this is reminder to always treat others with kindness and compassion. And even though we can’t control the actions of others, we can show them love – even if it’s the last interaction they experience in this lifetime. You were and still ARE loved by many. Be free…

    Comment by Laura — 11:41 pm June 4, 2014 #

  28. I am so sorry for your terrible lost Shelly B. My daughter was there as part of the group of children coming across him. She knows he is in heaven now. We immediately prayed for him and family. I had talk to my daughter because this hits home for us, though not a successful suicide took place in my family but the attempt was real. I will continue to pray for him and you, knowing he is alright now. Thank you for thinking of the kids they are truly sorry for your lost.

    Comment by Kathleen — 6:18 am June 5, 2014 #

  29. Thank you to all for your kind words and compassion. This amazing man was my brother. None of us had any idea of the deep deep pain he was in. He left this world way too soon and will forever be missed.
    My heart aches so deeply for the children. My brother would have hated the fact that kids found him. I am so truly sorry for all that had to witness this tragic event.
    Thank you for all of the love and support during this difficult time.

    Comment by Leanne — 1:27 pm June 5, 2014 #

  30. What a beautiful outpouring of support and love from this community for both the deceased and the children who so sadly bore witness to his death. He was my cousin and he could so easily make others smile and laugh. I wish he could have done so for himself.
    I am comforted knowing that these children are being supported through professional counseling. We are having a difficult time explaining this to my own children and I am so sorry that others are having to find words for such a tragedy when explanations seem incomplete.

    Comment by Jenean — 4:31 pm June 5, 2014 #

  31. …and what an amazing outpouring of love and generosity from this man’s family and friends. It is obvious he was loved and I am so sorry for how this must be impacting you. your generosity in worrying about the kids and families who were involved is incredible. bless you all.

    Comment by HRS Parent — 6:28 am June 6, 2014 #

  32. I am one of those long term unemployed and I have been having thoughts of ending it. I am unable to pay my rent and have been pawning what I can but I am going to end up homeless. The other nite I knew if I had a weapon I might have used it. I read this story and the grief that is caused by death is far worse than me being homeless. My heart goes out to all that loved this man.

    Comment by Char — 9:10 pm June 6, 2014 #

  33. Char … I hope you have contacted the Crisis Clinic … they’re not just for that moment when you are on the brink. Also, 211, and the West Seattle Helpline, if you are in this area. Just for starters. I worked through a crisis like that with my mother over the span of several years. You matter. Everyone matters. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 9:16 pm June 6, 2014 #

  34. Char, you were brave to post that. It’s true, this kind of event causes wounds for others that sometimes never heal. There is always a better way. The love you create is far more valuable than the things you own.

    Comment by evergreen — 12:50 am June 8, 2014 #

  35. Thank you to WSB and Evergreen. I just read these comments to me and I want you to know that you both made me feel so good. I know that life is good but all it takes is letting the hopelessness over take you for a moment. Thank you for caring.

    Comment by Char — 7:19 pm June 8, 2014 #

  36. My cousin (8th grader, he goes to Holy Rosary, and I used to as well) was at an after-school program meet in the park, and was one of the kids who found the man. I can’t believe that kids had to see this…

    Comment by Anonymous — 4:08 pm June 10, 2014 #

  37. This man was my best friend, when I married he was my best man, long term roommate and uncle to my three adult children. We worked together side-by-side for ten years here in Southern California. I have known him and his sister their entire lives. In fact, my parents and his parents were life-long friends. My father and his father had been best friends for over 55 years until his passing a few years ago.
    I knew him as well as a person can know another and this event has shaken me to my core. To say this was not the kind of individual to take his own life is the understatement of the year. He was the most alive person I know. Although he never married or fathered children he was almost never alone. The ability to mask this level of depression has left me questioning everything I thought I knew about depression. He never reached out. I wish I had the ability to read the signs of his mental situation. I did not see it and my failure will forever haunt me.

    Comment by Brad Boatman — 8:31 pm June 10, 2014 #

  38. Shelly B., et al, I too knew this one-of-a-kind man for close to 25 years. I had the wonderful experience of being roomies with him and another girl. Our friendship blossomed into a lifelong love and respect for each other. His ability to lighten up a room and make me laugh from the depths of my soul will be with me forever. It is just so hard to believe that one of the funniest guys I knew was in that much pain, yet never said anything.

    Comment by Shawna Ross — 9:51 pm June 10, 2014 #

  39. I am still in shock about all of this. I dated this man in the early 90′s for over 2 years. He was the most fun loving guy I ever knew. My nieces and nephews adored him and my brothers and sisters were very fond of him as well. We have such good memories of times spent hiking, laughing, going to concerts, theme parks and many more fun places. I would’ve never pegged him for someone who could be depressed, with his giant smile and happy eyes. Depression can be so mysterious and can come on pretty quickly. He is the 3rd person I’ve known to take his life,(all men). The other two men had work related circumstances that made them ashamed of themselves. So much pressure we put on ourselves these days to succeed and make a lot of money. It’s just so sad people don’t realize all the people who will be hurt when they are gone. Even someone as far away from his life as me is touched and saddened. I can’t stop thinking about him and how much he must’ve been hurting. Leanne- and the children who found him, you are in my prayers.

    Comment by Terri — 11:54 pm June 10, 2014 #

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