In Memoriam: Elias Laskey, 21, outdoorsman, welder, bible study leader

From the Oregonian, December 29, 2002 – not online.

Elias Laskey said he heard “divine revelations from God” and thought it was his responsibility to “cleanse the Willamette Valley.”

Elias Laskey, died Summer of 2000

Elias Laskey, died Summer of 2000

“He was awesome,” said Laskey’s mother, Jeanette. “But he was ill.”

In March 2000, Laskey climbed to the summit of 1,514-foot Mount Pisgah southeast of Eugene and toppled a bronze sculpture dedicated to two University of Oregon wrestlers who had died in a 1984 van wreck.

Laskey immediately confessed to damaging the monument, saying it went against his religious beliefs. When his parents took him to the Lane County mental health office, Laskey refused medication and counseling, insisting he was not mentally ill.

After Laskey, 21, picked up the family dog — a pet he loved — and threw it, his parents pushed for him to be involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. A judge considered the case on June 20, 2000, but decided Laskey did not meet the legal criteria for involuntary commitment, which requires a person to be a danger to himself, others or unable to meet his basic needs.

Seven days later, another judge ordered Laskey to 10 days in jail for the Mount Pisgah incident, urging him to take advantage of the jail’s mental health resources. But Laskey didn’t get help there, either. The jail was full, and Laskey was released in 24 hours.

His parents never saw him again. He disappeared into the woods and was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head on Sept. 21, 2000.