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Thought Provoking Issues!

Why Leave the Children to Strangers?

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Did a supervisor’s comments lead a despondent, disillusioned, and distraught Ervin A. Lupoe, to kill his wife and five young children before taking his own life as well?

The answer to that may never be fully known.

Police were alerted on January 28 by KABC-TV, when the station received a fax letter and a simultaneous call from a deranged person threatening to commit suicide. Arriving at the home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington, police found the body of Lupoe in an upstairs room with his daughters: 8-year-old Brittney and twin 5-year olds Jasseley and Jaszmin. His wife, Ana, was found in an adjacent bedroom with the other set of twins: 2-year-old boys, Benjamin and Christian.

Investigators found a revolver by Lupoe’s side and a suicide note nearby. In the note, Lupoe indicated that there was an ongoing business dispute between himself and officials at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Kaiser Permanente said that they are cooperating fully with the police investigation and issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of the Lupoe family,” the company said. “Our sympathies are with all their extended family and friends at this time. We are also providing resources and support to our employees who are affected by this tragedy.”

Could this tragedy have somehow been averted?

Early Tuesday, KABC-TV received an embittered, disjointed two-page letter from Lupoe blaming his actions on his former employer. Investigators believe that he followed up the letter with inconsistent and incoherent calls to the station, threatening to kill his already deceased family, and saying that when he returned home “my whole family has been shot.”

The letter goes on to say that Lupoe and his wife had made a suicide pact. The letter also referred to an investigation in connection with employment misrepresentation involving a child care issue. The missive further contends that a Kaiser supervisor questioned why the Lupoes had come to work and if he had been faced with a similar situation, the supervisor would have blown his brain out.

“So after a horrendous ordeal,” the letter continued, “my wife felt it better to end our lives, and why leave our children in someone else’s hand. . . . ”

Kaiser denies the allegations and said that the Lupoes had both been terminated, although they would not elaborate on what grounds, but maintained that they had sufficient reasons for the dismissals.

Speculations have been running rampant to make sense of this pointless tragedy:

“This was a financial and job related issue that led to the slayings,” said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Garner. “It’s a grisly scene.”

“Unfortunately, this has become an all-too-common occurrence in the last few months,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa told reporters. “No words can describe this tragedy. There’s no way to comprehend this unspeakable act.”

Perhaps the mayor is right, but with so many questions left unanswered—why has Kaiser not allowed the supervisor that made the alleged comments to come forward and disprove what Lupoe claimed drove him to massacre his entire family, and to ultimately turn the gun on himself?

These are indeed trying economic times . . .

“No matter how desperate you are,” City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said, “no matter how frustrated you are, to think this was the only answer—to take your whole family with you in death—is just too much to understand?

Did a doting father and mother as others have described the Lupoes; truly believe that they had nowhere else to turn, and the only way out was to kill their entire family so that their children would not be left to strangers?

“Oh lord, my God,” Lupoe’s letter concluded, “is there no hope for a widow’s son?”

Given the fact that a myriad of outreach programs exist that he could have tapped into, and the public’s reaction over this senseless and tragic act, the only answer—most assuredly is a resounding no!

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author



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