Suicide Now Suspected in Ramirez Death

By: E&P Staff Details about the death of well-known journalist and editor Richard Ramirez were slow to emerge on Thursday, but late in the day local news outlets in San Jose, Calif., reported that police now suspected suicide.

They also revealed that the 44-year-old journalist at the Mercury News had been found by his wife in their backyard in Livermore, Calif., with a knife wound in his midsection. Self-inflicted knife wounds are not common but certainly do happen.

A coroner's spokesman said the death was considered a "possible suicide" but police said they are still investigating the death as "suspicious." Lt. Scott Trudeau told the newspaper there was "nothing to indicate" that anyone besides Ramirez "was involved."

The Mercury News reports today: The exact reasons why he would have taken his own life are unclear. He had been worried about the newspaper's plans to eliminate about 40 newsroom jobs, said his wife, Janet Dalke. Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton said Thursday, 'He and I had a conversation in which I told him he was extremely unlikely to be laid off,' and that she had talked with him about moving to a different job in the newsroom because his current position was likely to be eliminated.

"Ramirez had been upset about something that happened during a recent national journalism convention that he helped to organize, and he talked about it with his wife and Managing Editor David Satterfield. They declined to provide specifics. Leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have credited Ramirez with working long hours to make the convention a success.

"While Ramirez had been worried, Dalke said she had tried to reassure him that they would weather any setbacks.

"News of Ramirez's death drew grief and disbelief from friends and colleagues at the Mercury News and newspapers around the country, many of whom had spent time with him at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' national convention in San Jose last week.

"More than 200 people gathered for an informal memorial Thursday afternoon outside the Mercury News building, where they shared stories about Ramirez's diligence and devotion to the newspaper, his soft-spoken good nature and generosity to friends.

"In his honor, many wore ribbons of cardinal and gold - the colors of his beloved University of Southern California, where Ramirez was editor of the student newspaper in 1984."



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here