Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ramirez was job hunting before death

Merc Managing Editor David Satterfield tells E&P: "I dealt closely with Rich [Ramirez] Monday and Tuesday before his death. We had several conversations and he was troubled by some things. We talked at length about them. They were private matters unrelated to work. We had assured him that he was going to have a job at the newspaper after the layoffs."

The Merc said in a story Thursday that Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton had told Ramirez, 44, that his job as assistant to the executive editor would likely be eliminated, but she talked with him about moving to a different job in the newsroom. She was quoted as saying, "He and I had a conversation in which I told him he was extremely unlikely to be laid off."

David Yarnold, Merc executive editor from 1999 to 2003, told E&P that Ramirez had been job hunting for the past 18 months and asked to use him as a reference.

Satterfield said Ramirez made no mention of suicide or being depressed enought to take his life: “He contacted me about some things and things at the conference that really troubled him.”

Ramirez organized the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in San Jose June 18 and 19.

Ramirez’s wife, Janet Dalke, said her husband was “under severe stress” prior to his death, but did not know what might have occurred at the conference to prompt his concerns. “He came back from a conference simply exhausted,” she told E&P. “He was not the husband who left. I had no idea what happened. He was under severe pressure.”

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