Still More Questions Than Answers in Vets' Deaths Following VA Stay
Last week on Unfair Park we reported the deaths of two men who apparently killed themselves shortly after being released from the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center; we followed that up with a longer news story in this week's paper version of Unfair Park. As it turns out, there's still more to the story -- and another piece about Chris Demopoulos and Pat Ahrens in the works, scheduled to appear in Sunday's Dallas Morning News, according to Demopoulos' wife, Cordelia, in a video she posted to YouTube yesterday.
But, before The News runs its piece, a few addendums and corrections to ours. First, contrary to what we reported in this week’s paper, the family of Pat Ahrens -- the man who gave Demopoulos a ride from the VA and found him dead the following morning -- does not plan on suing the Dallas VA. At least, not yet. Ahrens' 23-year-old daughter, Amy Jacobs, says no one knows for sure at this point how or why her father died on January 26.
“We’re not the type of people who just go around suing everyone,” Jacobs says. “We’re going to wait and see how he died.”
Jacobs also said she was upset about this week’s article because it refers to Pat Ahren’s ex-wife, Dawn Ahrens, as a family member. Jacobs says there are only two remaining family members who can speak for her father -- her and her sister -- and that at this point neither blames the Dallas VA for their father’s death. She also said her father never served in a war, as the article states, although he did serve overseas in the military.
But more than anything else, she says she is bothered by the fact that her father’s death has been made out to be a suicide when she has yet to see the death certificate. She did not dispute, however, that when she found her father, Dawn Ahrens was there -- and Dawn Ahrens told Unfair Park that her ex-husband had written a suicide note, and that when she and Jacobs found him, he had pulled his truck into a storage unit and ingested enough psychiatric medications to kill himself.
“I don’t want my father to be remembered as a suicidal person,” Jacobs says. “Yeah, he thought about it. I’m not going to say he did or didn’t. But as of right now, we don’t know how he died. I want my father to be remembered as a loving and giving person.”
As for Cordelia Demopoulos, she does not believe that her husband hung himself on January 24 at a Plano motel. According to her video, she now believes her husband overdosed. --Jesse Hyde
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.