Thursday, August 16, 2007

Merc's Rich Ramirez's death ruled a suicide

After a police investigation and a coronor's autopsy, the death of Rich Ramirez of the Mercury News has been ruled a suicide, the newspaper reports. No suicide note was found, police said.

"Any time you have an unattended death, you have a number of things you have to look into," said Livermore police Lt. Scott Trudeau. Ramirez, 44, was discovered in his Livermore back yard June 20 with a fatal knife wound to the midsection.

The Merc reported that his wife, Janet Dalke, and co-workers said he had been under stress and was despondent over personal issues. Ramirez was assistant to executive editor Carole Leigh Hutton, a job that was to be eliminated in the paper's most recent round of layoffs, however Hutton said it was "extremely unlikely" he would be laid off. (Photo credit: Ramirez, right, stands by a stack of awards the Merc won at this year's Press Club Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards banquet.)

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