(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — After the father of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim died by apparent suicide this week, his widow is speaking out, saying her husband “succumbed to the grief that he could not escape.”
Jeremy Richman’s body was found Monday at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn., where his nonprofit, The Avielle Foundation, had an office, authorities said. He was 49.
In the Dec. 2012 shooting at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, 6-year-old Avielle Richman, who was the only child of Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, was among the 26 people killed.
After Avielle’s death, the couple had two more children.
Hensel wrote in a statement posted to GoFundMe this week, “To parent our children without my champion shatters my heart and I will love my best friend forever. … Side by side since 1991, Jeremy and I walked a path of deep friendship, marriage, and parenthood.
“He succumbed to the grief that he could not escape,” she wrote.
After the Sandy Hook massacre, Richman and Hensel started The Avielle Foundation, a nonprofit “to study the neuroscience, the underpinnings of violence and the risk factors,” Richman said last year when he appeared on ABC News’ “10% Happier” podcast.
“We wanted to prevent others from suffering the way that we were suffering,” Richman said at the time. “If there’s a hope that we can get somebody help before it’s another tragedy, then that would be everything.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a friend of Richman, told ABC News on Monday, “Jeremy spent his entire life trying to help people identify the warning signs of harm. And it tells you how complicated the brain is, that even Jeremy couldn’t figure out a way to get himself the help that he needed.”
In the wake of her husband’s death, Hensel wrote, “The work of the Avielle Foundation is meaningful. But my champion and the love of my life is the person who had every tool in the toolbox at his disposal.”
“Now we also honor Jeremy through the continued work of our foundation,” she said.
The Avielle Foundation said in a statement Monday, “Our hearts are shattered and our heads are struggling to comprehend.”
“Tragically, his death speaks to how insidious and formidable a challenge brain health can be and how critical it is for all of us to seek help for ourselves, our loved ones and anyone who we suspect may be in need,” the foundation said. “Jeremy’s mission will be carried on by the many who love him, including many who share the heartache and trauma that he has suffered since Dec.14, 2012.”
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
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