Saturday, July 20, 2024

An Easter Sunday Tragedy: A 64-Year-Old Woman Hangs Herself Off a Willits Bridge

A bouquet of flowers now lies on the bridge where the 64-year-old Willits woman took her life [Photograph provided to us by Mendocino County Resident]

We bring readers tragic news out of Willits from this last Easter Sunday where a local resident hanged themselves off a bridge along Old Highway 101. 

A press release from the California Highway Patrol Garberville office indicated officers were called to Willits’s North Main Street at the Upp Creek Bridge where officers located a 64-year-old Willits woman who had taken her life at the bridge.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten confirmed the woman hanged herself from the side of the bridge.

CHP reassured the public that “evidence on scene overwhelmingly indicates the victim committed suicide and there is no threat to public safety at this time.”

The view from the Upp Creek Bridge [Photograph provided to us by Mendocino County Resident]

Scanner traffic from that day indicated that California Highway Patrol Officers were originally on the scene and were joined by fire personnel and a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Deputy/Coroner.

This tragedy occurred just one day after two unidentified subjects jumped from the Albion River Bridge resulting in the death of one and the life flight another. Authorities have yet to provide more information about this incident. 

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Many aspects of the Emerald Triangle’s rural lifestyle lend themselves to suicide risk factors. Those risk factors, as described by the Center for Disease Control, include barriers to health care, social isolation, and high rates of adverse childhood experiences.

The California Department of Public Health’s latest comprehensive data regarding suicide indicates Mendocino County has California’s eighth highest suicide rate, with Humboldt County in 5th place and Lake County coming in at 2nd place.

Editor’s Note

Please remember, if you or a loved one are suffering from mental distress there are many resources that can be accessed including:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 (call or text) or 800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264, info@nami.org
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): (866) 615-6464
  • Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741
  • Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741

In efforts to educate the public regarding suicide prevention, the following infographic from the National Institute of Mental Health provides guidance in warning signs associated with suicide:

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  1. My heart is absolutely broken! I have no clue who this person is but I pray for this persons family. So sad that we do t have the help we need in this county.

  2. This is so very sad, and very upsetting, I say upsetting because my 17 year old daughter was the one who found this lady hanging on Easter. My daughter is the one who called 911, this is something a young child should never see and the trauma it has done to her. She does not even like to walk down the road now,which she lives on by the bridge. She is having a hard time sleeping and staying focus. This poor decision has made a very negative impact on my daughter and this is something she will never forget. Now she has to seek therapy to deal with this tragedy. As a mother, and trying to comfort your child and protect them from anything that will cause harm or grief in their lives. I am pissed that this lady which I know personally chose to take her life where children dwell. If your suicidal or have suicidal thoughts reach out and seek help. A close mouth does not get fed. We can’t help if you don’t speak up. Now my child has to relive this tragedy everyday and Easter will never be the same for our family. Please seek help.

    • I unfortunately found my highschool teacher dead along hwy 101 a few years back. He had been deceased for a day or two when I found him. I was riding my bike home and noticed a small patch of grass that was flattened by something…….. As I rode by the patch of grass I seen a motorcycle with a side Cart attached to it off in the bushes…. I thought to myself that’s weird but I kept riding on not thinking twice about it. About a hundred yards down the road I thought to myself wait a second if the authorities knew about that crash, then the bike would have been towed up to the highway and taking to the junkyard. So I got off my bike and I walked back to check out the scene. As I got back to that grassy patch I climb down the bank of the highway took a second look around didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, took a few more steps and then boom there he was stuck between two rocks staring at me blood running down his face no helmet on just lifeless. So I said hey excuse me sir are you okay and there was no response and I immediately turned around and went to make a phone call to the authorities to report the body I just stumbled across…… At first I was in like a why me why did this have to happen to me mindstate, but it turned into a well I’m glad I found him before any wild animals or before his family started to like worry or whatever I thought to myself this is somebody’s family member they need to know that he’s deceased. It’s kind of like a double-edged sword kind of tragic but kind of not at the same time…….. Just think how long that lady would have been hanging there if your daughter didn’t find her that day. Cuz you are correct that was somebody’s family member that was somebody’s mother that was somebody’s relative, and I’m sure they were worried about where that 64-year-old was or what she was doing that Easter just think how long she could have been there before anybody noticed. It’s not a tragedy it’s not the end of the world for your daughter I know it’s going to take a while for her to get over that and come to terms with it. But your kid is the one who found her that’s that, it was meant to be I guess in the long run it’ll make her stronger or something but I hope she can get back to a normal life quickly….. If I can help in any way shape or form, please let me know………

  3. We saw this individual and may she rest in peace we took flowers to the bride a few weeks after because we live out of town such a horrible scene to see ???


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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