“He’d been seeing his doctor and he was really resisting the help. He did not want help.” — Crystal Janes-Russell
Bonded by loss
Crystal Janes-Russell, now 33, and Heather Wondra, 32, knew each other when they both attended Buena High School in Ventura from 1997 to 2002. They weren’t close then but through tragedy in early 2013, they became fast friends — reunited at Wondra’s father’s funeral. Just four months before, Janes-Russell had had a funeral for her father. Both men had died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
“I know without a doubt, my mentality at this point would be a lot different if I didn’t have somebody to say, ‘This is so stupid’ and ‘I hate this,’ but you know, she gets it,” Janes-Russell said of her friendship with Wondra.
But it wasn’t only through their fathers’ suicides that they could relate to one another. Randal Craig Janes, Janes-Russell’s father, and Dale Fischer, Wondra’s father, both worked in law enforcement. Both were well-liked. Both of them had rocky marriages that ended in divorce. Both men appeared to be essentially content and enjoying their later years.
“He was super-independent,” Janes-Russell said. “He was super-social and friends with everyone.”
“He was very independent,” Wondra said. “I never worried about him really. He was very social; he loved sports.”
Both fathers were very religious as well.
“After he died, when we were going through his paperwork, he donated $500 to the church every single month,” Janes-Russell said. “He [also] did a lot of missionary work.”
“My dad was very religious also,” Wondra said. “He did have an obsession with the return of Christ. He had tons of books just on the return of Christ.”
And both of their fathers died in their early 60s — Janes at 61 and Fischer at 62 — and both within six months after they stopped working. Both fathers also had family histories of suicide — Janes’ father killed himself after receiving a medical diagnosis at 75, and Fischer’s mother attempted suicide on more than one occasion. Janes and Fischer both suffered from paranoia after exiting their professions, believing that they were being watched and were headed toward some sort of path of legal punishment. Their fathers’ stories, however, deviate leading up to their deaths.
Janes had retired from the Ventura Police Department in 2001. He then went to work part time for the District Attorney as an insurance fraud investigator. In July 2012, Janes lost his part-time job.
“They fired him out of nowhere. They took his keys, packed all his stuff in boxes and dropped his stuff on the porch,” Janes-Russell said. “It wasn’t a good parting of ways. He told me it was a budget cut but we really don’t know what the circumstances were.”
Janes-Russell’s father was never the same after that. Over the next few months, Janes-Russell became deeply concerned about her father’s downward spiral.
“He was like, the lights were on but nobody was home,” she said. “He stopped eating; he lost 60 pounds in three months. He would drive places; he couldn’t remember how to get there. He started canceling all his appointments and would randomly show up at my house, lay down on my floor and just cry.”
“I took him to the ER and they said that they thought he had early-onset dementia,” she said. “They sent him home but never said, ‘Here’s some resources for you,’ [only] ‘Go home and go to your doctor.’ ”
While Janes-Russell and her father were at the hospital, she had her brother go to her father’s apartment and remove his guns. She had become concerned he was suicidal. When they returned, Janes became livid with her about removing his guns.
“ ‘How could you do that to me? You betrayed me like everybody else,’ ” Janes told his daughter. She replied, “ ‘If the thought wasn’t in your head, why did you need to have those?”
Eventually they agreed that removing the guns was the right thing to do. But as time rolled on, her father wasn’t showing signs of improvement. She asked him to make her a promise not to resolve his problems the way his father did. For her father, though, that promise was too much to ask.
“He’d been seeing his doctor and he was really resisting the help,” she said, noting that he told her that he couldn’t keep his promise. “That was the first time that I contacted Ventura PD and they told us, ‘That’s not technically a threat. There’s nothing you can do. People have rights.’ ”
Over the next couple of weeks, Janes-Russell scrambled to do whatever she could to save her father’s life, to save him from killing himself.
“We did an intervention and Ventura PD came out, the Crisis Intervention Team came out. His sister came to town with her husband and my cousin,” she recalled. “I told him, ‘Look you need help. I already set up a room for you at Vista del Mar so they’re going to take you. It’s all private and we’re going to get you help.
“And he refused to go. We argued back and forth for probably an hour and you could tell that he was getting more frustrated.” A Crisis Team intervention person then confronted her with the ultimate decision.
“He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You need to make a decision whether or not you’re going to force your dad to live.’ I said, ‘I don’t care what happens. I’m not leaving. Call me an enabler, call me whatever you want, I’m not going to do that.’ ”
Janes’ sister told Janes-Russell that she couldn’t handle it anymore; and she, her husband and the cousin left. Then Janes-Russell was left alone with her dad.
“We’re sitting there by ourselves and he’s in a lawn chair in his living room, which was weird. He was saying, ‘I know all you guys think I’m crazy. You should just walk out on me, too.’ ‘I’m not going do that to you. I love you,’ ” she told her dad.
While theoretically Janes-Russell wasn’t walking out on her father, she had to take care of her own family at her house and leave her dad.
“I talked to him the next day, dropped off food and then the next morning talked to him again. And then the night before it happened, I called him and said, ‘Hey I’m on my way to your house with some cookies.’ He said, ‘No, don’t come over.’ And I said, ‘Dad, I’m already on my way.’ ”
“He had a door and a screen door. He opens the door, sticks his hand out the screen door, takes the cookies and then shuts the screen. Doesn’t let me in, doesn’t anything, and he looks at me and says, ‘I would give you a kiss but I have a sore throat’ and he shuts the door.
“The next morning I called him and he didn’t answer. And then I started having anxiety. I call again and he doesn’t answer. Then immediately, I throw on clothes, grab my keys and drive over there crying. I blew all the red lights, used my key to go in and there’s a stack of suicide notes (10 notes), and at the end of all of them it would say, ‘I was going to do it today but I had to see you just one more time.’
“I immediately called 911 and called my husband,” she said, noting her father wasn’t in his apartment and she couldn’t find him.
On a hunch, Janes-Russell’s husband thought her father would be in the clubhouse at his complex. He was right. Janes was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Janes-Russell said she believed her father did it there so she wouldn’t find him.
“At first I was so keen on getting him help; but then when I’ve seen the struggle of other people since him, especially with dementia, part of me does think they’re entitled to choose. I just wish he would have been able to express his suffering. I felt so alone in it and I felt, in a way, embarrassed and confused. Then her [Wondra’s] situation happened.”
Wondra had always known her father had his quirks, which at the time she believed were just that. She had no idea that his lifelong issues with paranoia, which she associated with being in law enforcement, would manifest into a detrimental outcome for her father.
“Being an officer and enforcing rules, he was very much a rule follower,” Wondra said.
When it came time for Fischer to retire in late 2012, he emptied his desk and came across a gun magazine for bullets that he had confiscated from a probation client but never properly filed. From that point on, he began to fret deeply over possible consequences.
“When he found it, that triggered something in his mind,” Wondra said.
When only 20 of 60 or more people RSVP’d to his retirement party, he took it as a sign that he was in trouble, though more than 60 actually showed up. When he made a call about a part-time job with the county and didn’t immediately get a call back, he believed that was another bad sign. Her dad even hired an attorney, even though his colleagues and his attorney told him that he had done nothing illegal. He had also begun to see a therapist.
Over the next few months, her dad would spend a lot of time with Wondra and her family, including his grandchildren. While his paranoia was obvious, she didn’t see any signs that he was suicidal.
On April 8, 2013, Wondra and her dad had made plans to watch her daughter perform ballet. When she called, there was no answer, which was unusual.
When she went to his house, his car was in the driveway. She had a feeling that he had died of a heart attack, because he had had two previously. She called a friend whom she felt could help check on him. The friend went in and found Wondra’s father. Fischer had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“‘What the fuck just happened in my life?’ ” she said hearing the news.
Fischer’s suicide note expressed his reasoning.
“He just said, ‘I don’t want to go to jail.’ Even though there was nothing,” she said, noting that the letter included that he didn’t want to embarrass her.
Wondra knows that her father’s paranoia was totally unsubstantiated. Both women, however, accept that there was nothing they could have done to prevent their deaths.
“It pisses me off to no extent when people say that suicide is selfish,” Janes-Russell said. “With my dad, everything in his letter, how he did it, was to prevent hurt for other people.”
“I just think for my dad that he was just OK with it, that he knew where he was going (heaven),” Wondra said. “He was tortured here on earth so he was done.”
Mixed messages and misconceptions
In the U.S., cultural discussions, attitudes and ideas on suicide boil down to what seems to be a handful of things.
- Suicide is preventable (National Institute of Mental Health); campaigns include Zero Suicide , Suicide is 100 percent Preventable, and Know the Signs;
- Of those who die from suicide, more than 90 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder
- Guns are responsible for most suicides (“America’s biggest gun problem is suicide,” Newsweek, 9/21/15)
- Suicide is an impulsive act and a competent, coherent person wouldn’t choose suicide
- Suicide is selfish
- The reasons for suicide are complex and each case is different
Along with most of these discussions and ideas come a certain amount of stigma and silent suffering, for the person who is considering suicide and those left behind. Whenever someone dies of suicide, a flurry of emotions of anger, fear, frustration and guilt seem to hamper honest discourse. To try to better understand suicide, here’s a look at the mixed messages and misconceptions. The following is focused on the demographic that is becoming increasingly more vulnerable to suicide and dying in higher numbers, the middle-age male. While Ventura County’s overall suicide in 2015 at 12.1 per 100,000 is lower than the nationwide rate at 13 per 100,000 in 2014, the county’s 2015 middle-aged, aged 45-64, male suicide rate at 31.7 per 100,000 exceeds the 2014 national average at 29.7 suicides per 100,000. 2014 is the most recent and readily available nationwide data.
- Suicide is preventable
In Ventura County, there are three programs available to help suicidal people. Those are the Suicide Prevention Center Crisis Line, the Ventura County Crisis Team and 211 service, which helps to connect people to counselors for in-person therapy. At the state level, Know the Signs is a training program for groups and organizations to help people spot changes in mood or behaviors and connect those at-risk people with experts.
While nationwide crisis hotlines are accessed and utilized by thousands of people every year — over 100,000, according to crisisservices.org — this service seems to be particularly vital for people seeking help and wanting to find reasons to live. There is no readily available data showing that people who died of suicide called crisis hotlines.
In April, the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department commissioned a report, “Suicide Prevention Best Practices Literature Review.” The report goes over various programs and outreach practices, in particular for youth. The overview, however, indicates the effectiveness of hotlines:
“Crisis hotlines, for example, have [been] shown to reduce callers’ feelings of hopelessness and psychological pain, but they may fail to reach the individuals most at-risk for suicide.”
When it comes to the Crisis Team for prevention intervention and the 72-hour mental health facility hold to prevent self-harm, as was the case with Janes-Russell’s father, she said she felt that the effort to prevent his suicide had caused him to further isolate himself and act more quickly than if no intervention had happened. When speaking with a local suicide prevention expert from Ventura County Behavioral Health if certain methods of prevention could be harmful, the topic was dismissed. In speaking generally with a few middle-aged people who asked not to be identified, they agreed that such intervention methods would be embarrassing. Locally, a Ventura resident spoke off the record about his middle-aged neighbor dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound right after being released from a 72-hour mental health facility hold.
Prevention advocates say that if these hotlines and services weren’t in place, there would be that many more suicides though there is no conclusive evidence of that. But if the goal of prevention is to reduce the number and rate of suicides and they are both going up, it would seem to be of special interest to include services specifically for the vulnerable middle-aged demographic. While youth, LGBT and the mentally ill have advocates and special services available, programs designed specifically for the middle-aged and older population without terminal illnesses are not apparent. Further, even though the limited Ventura County data shows that the middle-aged deaths by suicide aren’t necessarily going up every year, they make up nearly half of the suicide deaths and the middle age male makes up the majority of suicides for the last 10 years.
California Mental Health Services Authority Program Director Theresa Ly said that the Know the Signs suicide prevention training program made people feel more confident to reach out but did indicate that there is no follow-up with trained individuals to see if they actually helped anyone. Knowing the signs seems to be particularly vital in assisting young people.
The idea that suicide is preventable, that it is even 100 percent preventable, may have some negative consequences for those left behind while assuming that those who die of suicide did not have people there to help and were not necessarily accountable for their choices.
“The question even more difficult to answer when posed to me at a funeral, ‘Why didn’t you stop him? You should have known!’” said Ed Elrod, an attorney based in Ventura, who has lost a handful of people to suicide, including his grandfather and, recently, his nephew, age 45. “As with so many other major life decisions that alienate, anger and crush, the choice to end one’s life is so hard to embrace, both personally and with the survivors who often reach out for guidance, comfort, answers that I no longer try to provide pat answers. ‘I wasn’t living his life; I can’t begin to know what he was experiencing.’ ”
- More than 90 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder
When it comes to questions about a person who dies of suicide, the most frequent response is, was that person mentally ill? If so, then was he or she taking medication?
This 90 percent statistic and quick-response questions presuppose that those with mental
illness can be cured simply if proper measures are taken. But for Stephen James Deitch, aka Crow, brother of Ventura resident and architect Nicholas Deitch, following the proper steps to deal with mental illness wasn’t a sure cure. Stephen was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia in his 20s, and then in his 40s suffered from depression; he had been taking medication for his psychosis but it made him feel uncomfortable. After Stephen, who had been living in Hawthorne, California, had walked into traffic in 2009, he was placed on a psychiatric hold and then released. In January 2010, at age 56, Stephen stopped his car on the freeway and stepped in front of a fast-moving truck.
“To simply blame mental illness is misleading and disempowering. Our response, as a society, as a community, is as much a factor,” Nicholas said. “My brother was suffering mainly from depression. He couldn’t contribute to society or form normal relationships. That can be hard for anyone, but for someone struggling to get through the day? These people often become isolated. That’s what happened to my brother. He was 500 miles away and I did not understand how deeply he was hurting.”
Nicholas looks at Robin Williams as a prime example of following the proper treatment solutions, had tried medication, had resources, support and family. But even with all of that, it wasn’t enough to help Williams to cope with his mental health issues.
- Guns are responsible for most suicides
In the 2013 study, “Suicide, Guns, and Public Policy,” found at the National Institutes of Health, most suicides are self-inflicted gunshot wounds. In Ventura County, however, less than half of the completed suicides are due to gunshot wounds.
- Suicide is an impulsive act and a competent person wouldn’t choose suicide
In the 2008 study “Revisiting Impulsivity in Suicide,” found at the National Institutes of Health, researchers found the contrary to be true:
“Previous research and popular conceptualizations of suicide have posited that many suicides are the result of impulsive, ‘on a whim’ decisions. However, recent research demonstrates that most suicides are not attempted impulsively, and in fact involve a plan.”
In a 2013 study, however, “Suicide, Guns, and Public Policy,” found at the National Institutes of Health, further research indicated conflicting information.
“In a study using the Suicide Intent Scale that involved 478 individuals who had attempted suicide, it was reported that 55 percent of the attempts were impulsive.”
But in a 2015 article published in MedPageToday, “Suicide attempts not always marked by Multiple attempts,” by Nisha Ramsinghani, DO, a psychiatry resident at the University of California Fresno, discussed suicide attempts versus successful suicides:
“A majority of successful suicides had made no previous attempts and many had no established psychiatric diagnosis. Also, in a small cohort, analyzed retrospectively, women were much more likely than men to have made previous attempts to kill themselves before eventually succeeding.”
Perhaps the distinguishing factor here is that the conflicting reports at the National Institutes of Health’s speak to attempts rather than completed suicides. Ramsinghani’s focuses on completed suicides. It is not clearly understood, due to a lack of available studies, whether completed suicides are impulsive or planned.
When it comes to competency, the End of Life Option Act, which allows terminally ill patients to access life-ending medicine, states that professional mental health experts can rule mentally ill and/or depressed people competent to make such decisions about their deaths.
“Physicians would be able to write assisted-suicide prescriptions for mentally ill or depressed patients,” according to a 2015 analysis of the End of Life Option Act by the Patients Rights Council. This would assume that just because one is mentally ill, it doesn’t mean that person is incompetent to make decisions about their lives and deaths.
On reaching out to the Oregon-based Death with Dignity organization, a representative said that the right to die and medication that causes death is not suicide but rather death-hastening. Calls were not returned to further discuss the exceptions of mental illness or depression.
- Suicide is selfish
Nicholas Deitch, Ed Elrod, Crystal Janes-Russell and Heather Wondra all seem to be in agreement that suicide isn’t selfish. It’s about ending suffering, specifically for those struggling in later years. But there seems to be more to the middle-aged suffering than meets the eye.
“The younger generation is almost comfortable with mental illness, as weird as that sounds,” Wondra said. “Our dads’ generations — both of our dads were [early 60s] and then my [other] friend’s dad was 62 [a Vietnam vet who died of suicide], and Robin Williams — they were raised in this generation where you kept your business to yourself. You didn’t share.”
- The reasons for suicide are complex and vary
In trying to better understand what led up to the suicides based in Ventura County, the medical examiner released investigators’ suicide reports for 2016, from Jan. 1 to July 1. (See box at bottom of story.) While the information is rather vague, since the investigators are only required to report the manner and cause of death, there are tidbits of information that may help suicide prevention experts better understand the middle-aged suicides. But the medical examiner investigators could perhaps play an even more critical role in understanding the suicide rate increase with more detailed reports, which could include data on mental illness, religious beliefs, career, PTSD and veteran status, recent loss, living situation, drug or alcohol use, etc.
As experts try to make sense of the national suicide rate increase, some survivors, those left behind after suicide, want to change the national conversation to one that is of love and respect, one that includes acceptance and open communication.
“If someone is standing on a ledge in front of me telling me they are going to jump, I will reach out and grab them. This is not an option I’m going to think about. I am going to reach out and grab them. This is our nature. This is how we are programmed,” Deitch said. “To do something differently requires the altering of our inherent programming. It involves inner struggle and the acceptance of the unacceptable.”
A local suicide prevention expert at Ventura County Behavioral Health concluded that the reason a person would choose acceptance as a rational take on suicide would be because that person was grieving the loss of a loved one. Within the suicide prevention profession, however, a number of people consulted for this article said they chose it because they were grieving the loss of loved ones to suicide.
The idea of acceptance, however, has led some people to speculate it would spark suicide contagion although there is no readily available evidence or study that shows suicide contagion actually exists, particularly in the modern United States.
Elrod’s view on suicide is one of understanding rather than of judgment:
“We criminalize the attempt, whitewash the success, and then spend the rest of our lives trying
to figure out what happened. I prefer to simply suggest that it’s not about the survivors, who still have a chance to have a meaningful life if they choose, it’s about the person’s choice. How can we disapprove if we never know how and why they chose that irreversible act? Perhaps we become hardened by dealing with loss, discord, betrayal in our daily lives, or perhaps we [can] simply come to accept that choice is personal, and then simply choose to honor it, rather than suffer from it for the rest of our own lives. Only one person can make me happy, and he’s the same person who can make me unhappy, so I can only look within for answers, not to my friends who chose to leave early. Today I was happy. Tomorrow isn’t here yet.”
Prevention efforts a critical asset
For Suicide Prevention Awareness month, local suicide prevention advocates are putting on events to help spread the message of hope. For those seeking to help those who want it and those who are searching for reasons to live:
Preventing Suicide: Help and Hope Conference
Sep. 16, 8 a.m., California State University, Channel Islands, Camarillo
For more information, go to https://suicide-help-hope.eventbrite.com.
Out of the Darkness Walk, Sept. 17, 9 a.m.
Constitution Park, 487 Carmen Drive, Camarillo
For more information, go to http://afsp.donordrive.com.
To access local prevention services:
Suicide Prevention Center Crisis Line
Ventura County Crisis Team
Dial 2-1-1 to learn about additional community services. 2-1-1 is free, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is available in multiple languages (including Spanish).
SUMMARIES OF VENTURA COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS OF SUICIDE
Jan. 1 to July 1, 2016
19, male, gunshot, last seen suffering from paranoia, psychosis, unusual behaviors
21, male, hanging, suffered from traumatic brain injury and seizure disorder, depression, heroin use, left a suicide note, had been taking medications — names of medications not noted
23, male, gunshot, relapse with alcohol before death, family asked him to seek treatment and he became agitated
27, male, gunshot, argument over his schooling with wife day before, wife then reported as missing, at risk, left a suicide note
30, male, hanging, past suicidal behavior, drug use (ecstasy), got into argument with girlfriend earlier
33, male, gunshot, depressed over side effects of taking medication for balding
33, male, carbon monoxide poisoning, had multiple suicide attempts and expressed ideation in the last two years, he and girlfriend had been arguing about finances and her pregnancy
35, male, cause not stated, diagnosed bipolar disorder, no history of alcohol or drug use, going through divorce
33, male, hanging, argument with girlfriend, no history of depression or suicide attempts, alcohol-involved night of death
37, female, jumped in front of moving car in suicide attempt, inpatient death at hospital, chronic depression, alcohol and meth use, had been drinking at time of attempt
38, male, gunshot by cop after pointing gun at cops (“suicide by cop”), cops had come with search warrant regarding child sexual abuse
40, male, found dead at base of cliff, suicide notes in his room, history of alcoholism, suicidal ideations and attempts
40, male, hanging but died in hospice
44, male, gunshot, no complaints or problems at the time, had fallen behind on rent, quit job a few months prior, had appeared sick, pale and told acquaintance (or family) that he was depressed and dealt with heavy anxiety. Mother said son was a very private person and that he had history of major depression and suicide that ran in his father’s side of the family.
45, male, gunshot, shot himself after argument with wife, lived with wife and two daughters, history of depression
46, male, hanging, wife found communication with another woman, confronted husband, husband texted wife about suicidal ideations
47, male, gunshot, depressed over work-related issues, felt unhappy and trapped at work, sleeping disorder
47, male, gunshot, domestic dispute earlier that day, found dead in nearby church stairwell
49, male, gunshot, recent relationship break up, financial issues, parents health declining, attempted to mend relationship with girlfriend
51, male, gunshot, upset about recent allegations of financial improprieties associated with his job, sent a text message to his friend and co-worker in which he apologized for what he was going to do and asked the friend to take care of his family. Friend became concerned that the decedent was suicidal and immediately contacted their mutual friend at Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Found dead in work vehicle, suicide note
52, female, hanging, history of alcoholism, depression, family history of suicide attempts, not clear if female had attempted before
52, male, hanging, found in motel, had been released from jail day before after two years in jail on weapons charge, distraught over length of probation — three years instead of one — and mom wouldn’t let him live with her, no suicidal ideation or attempts, rum found in motel room, wanted a night alone before checking into sober living facility
53, male, gunshot, argument with wife day before and day of, alcohol involved day of, history of suicidal ideation
54, female, pedestrian v. train, had boyfriend and son, no other information available
55, male, gunshot, spoke to his father by telephone, emailed a female friend regarding a bicycle ride the next day and went to an Albertsons grocery store
55, male, hanging, found in Ventura River bottom, no drugs or alcohol at scene
65, male, gunshot, previous history of suicide attempt when he shot himself in the face approximately 15 years earlier
67, male, hanging, depression but no suicide ideation or attempts, father and two brothers died of suicide, not under care of psychiatrist for four years, wife was wheelchair-bound and had psychological problems, argument same day prior to death
68, male, gunshot, depression, frequent suicide ideation but no known attempts, not under doctor’s care or on medication, left suicide note with money inside envelope, lived with wife, no expression of suicidal ideation late morning of day of death, wife came home one hour later and found husband dead
70, male, gun, stage 4 pancreatic cancer, emphysema, history of suicidal ideations, evidence of suicide apparatus inside garage, in contact with son 30 minutes before death
70, male, hanging, eviction notice given three days before death, had been dead for a few days when found, lived at a motel
72, male, gunshot, found in residence, left a suicide note
75, male, gunshot, killed wife then himself, marital problems and health issues
75, male, gunshot, retired LAPD, multiple health problems, no suicidal thoughts to family, 13 unfilled prescriptions (many available without a prescription) included Flonase, Colace, Mucinex, Singulair, aspirin, Apresoline, Lopressor, Brilinta, Pravachol, Ranexa, Diovan, Bactrim, and DuoNeb
75, female, pedestrian versus train, early dementia
81, male, (details have been removed by request)
84, male, gunshot, lived with wife, feeling ill, depression and cancer
84, male, lived with wife, multiple Welfare and Institution Code, section 5150 (psychiatric) hold encounters and suicidal ideation per wife and adult children, had diabetes
85, male, gunshot, lived with wife, was asked to look at some paperwork then killed himself shortly after, early dementia, a leaky heart valve and chronic pain.
86, male, hanging, very upset and made threats of suicide to his daughter over suspension of driver’s license, daughter found body when she came to pick up vehicle
Age unknown, male, gun, suspect in murder-suicide
Reports summarized from data of suicide investigation reports from the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office. Detailed information is limited.
For a comparison of a small sample of Ventura County Medical Examiner suicide reports and a San Diego Medical Examiner suicide report, which has more details of what led up to the man’s suicide, click here. This report from San Diego was requested because of his family ties to Simi Valley.
Note: Ventura County Medical Examiner has relayed it has very limited access to records before 2016 due to a new record keeping software program installed early this year.