Name: Brooke Martin.
Died: June 11, 2019.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Suicide.
Location: Milton Keynes, England, UK.
Brooke wanted to become a veterinarian. She was “very caring, thoughtful, and sensitive,” her mother remembers.
Diagnosed with autism and emotionally unstable personality disorder, Brooke had been living with the risk of suicide for some time. She had been repeatedly hospitalized involuntarily due to suicide attempts and self-injury.
Hospitalized once again in a unit that supposedly specialized in personality disorders, Brooke initially improved, but then became suicidal again. Staff observed her handling “potential ligatures” which she had hidden under her blanket; but nobody did anything to help. Only minutes later, having been left unattended despite her obvious and active suicidal intent, she was found unconscious in her room. She died the next day.
An inquest found that the hospital had failed to protect Brooke in several ways. They had not searched her room after they saw her handling ligatures, nor had they taken the ligatures away; she was not put on 1:1 observation; and staff who had seen Brooke in danger did not report the problem.
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Name: Cameron Paul Forrest.
Died: April 16, 2022.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Homicide (Traumatic injury).
Location: Gladstone, Queensland, Australia.
Cameron’s mother and brother allegedly conspired to kill him–first by medication overdose, then by stabbing him with a knife. Cameron died from his injuries. After being treated for self-inflicted injuries and discharged from the hospital, Cameron’s mother and brother were arrested. Both were charged with murder.
Police say Cameron’s brother said Cameron would be better off dead because the family’s financial hardships were insurmountable.
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Name: Easton Ho.
Died: April 14, 2022.
Age at death: 25.
Cause of death: Homicide.
Location: Troy, Ohio, USA.
Easton “lived his life passionately and without fear of what others thought”. He was generous to all, and found making friends easy. He lived with a roommate.
Easton’s girlfriend received a cryptic text message from his phone implying that he had been found by an “old enemy” and that he was leaving and would not be returning. She contacted police, worried, because Easton had autism and probably PTSD from having survived child abuse.
When the police went to the apartment, they found blood on the floor and smelled bleach. Suspicious, police interviewed Easton’s roommate, who allegedly confessed to killing him and sending the message from his phone. Easton’s body was found in a field in Iowa.
The roommate is now in jail, charged with aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.
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Name: Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse.
Died: March 19, 2022.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Homicide-suicide (Shooting).
Location: Canton, Georgia, USA.
Katie’s friends remember her as a kind young woman who was always smiling, even when life became difficult. She was proud of her Filipino heritage. She played Minecraft and UberSpire, and, as a trans woman, was an advocate for trans rights. She enjoyed hiking and sightseeing. Her motto was, “Model best behavior in your own sphere, break down stereotypes, and speak out.”
When she was sixteen, Katie’s father had been arrested and charged for holding her down on her bed by her throat; but the charges were dropped. When she was nineteen, Katie’s father shot her, and then killed himself.
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Name: Lauren Bridges.
Died: February 26, 2022.
Age at death: 20.
Cause of death: Suicide/Systemic Failure (Suicide after long-term inadequate treatment).
Location: Manchester, England, UK.
Lauren was a brilliant student who wanted to be either a doctor or a pediatric nurse. Her mother remembers her as loving and gentle.
When Lauren was eight, her younger brother Alfie died of mitochondrial disease, and Lauren’s grief triggered OCD and anxiety about protecting her family. She would perform rituals to calm her anxiety about her family coming to harm.
By fourteen years old, Lauren knew she was mentally ill, and asked for help. She was hospitalized voluntarily. But the unit had no therapy, and no treatment plan. Her autism was misdiagnosed as a personality disorder until she was 17 years old.
Over the next several years, Lauren was an inpatient in six different facilities, and none offered adequate treatment. She had little or no therapy and few activities. She was locked away from daylight and exercise. Sometimes, she was put into seclusion without even a bed–just a ground sheet to sleep on.
Lauren died from suicide while hospitalized.
Lauren’s mother, who fought to try to get Lauren the care she needed when she was alive, is now collecting signatures on a petition to keep autistic children from being detained in hospitals far away from home and away from their parents, to prevent autism from being misdiagnosed as a personality disorder, to establish suicide-prevention measures, and to provide therapy and activities for all inpatients in mental wards and psychiatric hospitals.
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