Sunday, April 19, 2009

What caused Dennis Long to snap?

For two weeks in late March and early April, a 49-year-old man named Dennis Long repeatedly called and tried to convince Riverfront Times to write an investigative story about his sisters. He claimed they were conspiring to keep him from seeing their mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's and lived at St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home.

He continued to phone several times a day. When his calls weren't picked up, he left panicked messages, pleading for a call back.

On Wednesday, April 1, the calls to the paper stopped. On Friday Long was all over the local news.

He stole a Mercedes-Benz, doused himself in gasoline, lit a match and crashed the car through the front door of St. Sophia, injuring one resident and causing minor fire and structural damage to the building. He was taken to the burn unit at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where doctors used drugs to induce a coma.

Over the weekend on April 3, police discovered that before the crash, Long took a hammer and nearly beat to death a 51-year-old woman named Joyce McGill. The owner of the wrecked Mercedes, McGill was a friend who had taken in Long and given him a place to live.

Long was his mother's legal guardian for several years. The pair lived together in a home in south city. Long was unemployed. He had HIV, so he received a disability check. Combined with his mother's social security, it was enough to live on. In 2007 Charlene Jones, Long's eldest sister, sued for guardianship of their mother and won when Long didn't show up for the court hearing.

Whenever he called, Long spoke of nothing but how desperately he wanted to see his mother. He kept a running tally of how long it had been since he had seen her. His last report was that it had been 115 days.

"I know this is not right. My sisters playing politics and telling lies. I got like five sisters — all of them was involved in setting me up and trying to take my mom from me and everything. They all in it together. They like criminals."

Full Article and Source:
Diary of a Mad Man: Dennis Long tried unsuccessfully to interest Riverfront Times in his story. Then he went out and made news


Anonymous said...

Dennis Long snapped because his Mother was isolated from him -- pure and simple.

I am sorry the Riverfront Times dismissed his pleas for help when he needed it.

Anonymous said...

I understand how he felt and why desperation led him to a tragic end.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Long just couldn't take it any more. Isolating him from his mother killed him emotionally anyway - the death of his body was just a formality.

wisernow said...

Dennis Long was pleading for help; he was pushed behond his limit.

Truthfully, I am amazed that this type of response is the extraordinary and not the ordinary.

However, I believe the statistice are most likely to change, increase due to the unending stress, the loss of control and the emotional loss of the all important family unit with court approval will keep pushing more and more law abiding people ... over the edge taking others with them.

Betty said...

He desperately wanted to see his mother and everyone minimalized that desperation.

He took the next desperate step.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Long was 'pushed' over the edge

StandUp said...

It wasn't the newspaper's fault, but in an innocent way it was. He reached out -- he wanted help. They discounted his pain and the worth of his story.

He'd been everywhere else and nothing worked, so he turned to desperation.

Anonymous said...

Every person has his limitations