Family mourns loss of son to depression

Chalin, 1, and his father Cody Marcum in a family photo. Cody was an inmate at the Carson City jail whjen he commited suicide on Friday.

Chalin, 1, and his father Cody Marcum in a family photo. Cody was an inmate at the Carson City jail whjen he commited suicide on Friday.

There were two sides to Cody Marcum.

On one hand he was a doting father to his 1-year-old son Chalin, a loving brother who relentlessly teased his sisters and an adoring son who spent time with his parents just because.

Not a day passed when Marcum, 21, wouldn't talk to his family.

On the other hand, Marcum would battle daily with his personal demons.

Diagnosed as bipolar at age 16, and struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Marcum's chemical imbalances caused him to go through depression so severe he talked about killing himself and once at 16 had failed at an attempt. He took his medication sporadically, because he didn't like the way it made him feel.

A run-in with tribal police July 6, was the beginning of the end for Marcum.

After a short foot pursuit, he threw himself head-first from the second story balcony of the Best Value Motel and landed on a truck in the parking lot.

Police arrested him for injury to a motor vehicle.

When Marcum's father, Jason Marcum, talked with his son in the emergency room where he was being treated, the younger man told his father he was trying to break his neck.

"I told the police, 'He's suicidal. He's been suicidal before. He's attempted it. He's almost carried it out,'" Jason Marcum recalled Sunday.

But the family feels as though the warning fell on deaf ears.

Friday, while under suicide watch, Marcum was found at 2:02 p.m. in a shower room of the jail with one end of a sheet tied around his neck, the other end tied to a handicapped railing.

Corrections officers and hospital personnel spent an unsuccessful hour trying to revive him.

Marcum was pronounced dead at 3 p.m.

"All he ever wanted was peace. Ultimately, he found peace," said his sister Shawna Sandoval, 25, sheer exhaustion evident on her tear-streaked face. "We've cried for three days."

Sandoval and her family are angry jail officials wouldn't allow the family to visit him because of his status and left him alone long enough to kill himself.

On Wednesday, a crying Marcum called his mother Terri.

"He said, 'Please Mom. Please come up here and see me,' and I said, "OK Cody, I'm leaving right now. I'll try to get there as soon as I can."

She said when she got to the jail within minutes at 2:15 p.m.

Visiting hours end at 2:30 p.m.

"I told them I knew it was late, but could I please see my son. He needs to see me." She said she was turned away.

"All I wanted to do was see my son who was threatening to kill himself. I was usually the person who could talk him out of his moods and they would not let me see him.

"When your depressed and upset and thinking about killing yourself, wouldn't seeing your family help, instead of isolating you? Doesn't that make it worse," she asked.

Terri said she watched her son struggle most of his life with his illness, hating that he wasn't "normal" and wanting desperately the ideal life -- a wife who loved him and adoring children.

"I just kept hoping he would find the medication he needed to be the person that he wanted desperately to be," she said. "I always had that hope, but now it's gone because he's gone."

She said Marcum's handful of run-ins with the law for things such as drunken driving, eluding police and driving on a suspended license were products of his ADHD.

"Cody did a lot of things impulsively. He didn't think about the consequences," she said. "He didn't know why he did the things he did."

At the time of his arrest July 6, Marcum was on bail for a drunken driving arrest in Texas.

He was told that Texas might extradite him.

"He did not want to go back to Texas," Sandoval said. "He was scared to go back there for some reason." She believes that fear, coupled with Marcum's feelings of isolation led her brother to make a foolish decision.

Now, the family hopes that the jail will learn from their loss.

"I don't want anyone to have to go through this," Terri Marcum said tearfully as she cradled tiny Chalin in her arms.

Family and friends will get together today to celebrate two things -- Chalin's first birthday and Marcum.

"We'll all celebrate the fact that Cody was in our lives," Sandoval said.


About 1% of the world's population is thought to have some form of bipolar disorder, from mild to severe. Statistically, men and women are equally represented. Approximately 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder eventually commit suicide and 20-50% of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once .


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