- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon man who killed himself last week in an explosion along a busy highway below Mount Hood had a recent mental health crisis that sent him to a southwest Washington hospital, authorities said.

The revelation surprised the family of Jeffrey R. Williams and shed light on the determination that he committed suicide, The Oregonian (https://is.gd/MzEQm2) reported.

On Feb. 16, the 24-year-old Portland man called 911 from a Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River, said Chief Deputy Pat Bond of the Skamania County sheriff’s office.

When deputies arrived, they found Williams in the parking lot. He told them he was considering hanging himself, the deputies reported. They found a rope tied to a railing.

Williams was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. How long he was there hasn’t been disclosed.

About a month later, on March 19 along U.S. 26, investigators found a crater left by an explosion. The hole was 11 feet wide. Authorities believe the blast was caused by chemicals used to make exploding targets.

The Oregon state medical examiner’s office ruled Williams’ death a suicide.

Williams’ uncle, Lt. Eric Schober of the Portland Police Bureau, said the family hadn’t known about the Skamania report until Tuesday and “did not see the signs of someone contemplating suicide.”

In Washington, a police officer can place a psychiatric hold on a person for up to 72 hours if there is reasonable cause to believe the person is suffering from a mental disorder and there is a high likelihood the person faces imminent serious harm.

The person’s family cannot be notified without the patient’s consent, PeaceHealth spokesman Randy Querin said.

Schober said Williams had studied computer science at a community college, was between tech support jobs and had broken up with a girlfriend several months ago - although that didn’t seem to trouble him.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid. He kept his personal feelings to himself,” Schober said.


Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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