Doing a little estate planning is not in itself evidence of suicidal thinking; still, in such matters, context is critical. A list of common warning signs prepared by the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention includes "giving away favorite possessions," "inappropriate goodbyes" and "reckless actions." It also mentions "verbal behavior that is ambiguous or indirect," such as talking about going away for a long time. ("Wait until you hear from coroner" would probably be considered less ambiguous than the list's examples.) But while Beech was able to hide his intentions from almost all of his family and friends, at least one person had picked up warning signs from him for years.

"John was the sweetest man I ever knew — and the most complicated," says Linda Allen, a former girlfriend. "I don't know if he was ever diagnosed, but you could tell that he was bipolar. He would be on top of the mountain, and then he'd fall to the bottom. He talked to me a lot about suicide."

A psychic and "spiritual counselor," Allen has occasionally consulted with police and claims to have predicted several cataclysmic events, including the September 11 attacks. But Beech remained an enigma to her throughout a sporadic romance that stretched over seven years. The pair met in 1999, when one of Allen's clients introduced Beech to her at a party at Allen's house.

John Beech and mother Elizabeth Malonson at a Christmas celebration
John Beech and mother Elizabeth Malonson at a Christmas celebration
Beech visited Laradon Hall last July, ten days before leaving a warning note for visitors to his Lakewood home.
Beech visited Laradon Hall last July, ten days before leaving a warning note for visitors to his Lakewood home.

"He kept asking me, 'Did we meet before?'" Allen recalls. "And I finally told him, 'We did, but not in this lifetime.'"

The two soon became frequent traveling companions. It was different from Beech's other, brief relationships with women; Allen was nine years older than he was, and Beech seemed to genuinely enjoy talking about spiritual matters with her. "We took 27 trips together," Allen says. "Mexico, Las Vegas, everywhere. We spent a lot of time out of town, and he was wonderful. But when we came back, he was a different person. He never drank around me. When he'd leave me, he'd go on binges, and nobody would hear from him."

Beech downplayed his drinking to her. But his absences became more prolonged — two weeks, then three, then four. After they'd been seeing each other for a year, he admitted that he went through bouts of depression. "I've even fantasized about taking myself out, and you with me," he said, then quickly added that he would never do any such thing.

On another occasion, after Allen hadn't heard from Beech for six weeks, she finally got him on the phone. He told her he'd been in bed.

"At two in the afternoon?" she asked.

"For the past six weeks," he told her. "I can't get up. I hurt all over."

Allen urged Beech to see a doctor about his depression. But he had a deep-rooted aversion to doctors and medication. He told her he had checked into an institution for a few weeks in his thirties, when he still worked at Coors, because of the death of a girlfriend and pressure at work — and he wasn't eager to repeat the experience. He took greater comfort in his church, the Mile Hi Church of Religious Science. Religious Science doesn't have the same harsh attitude toward medicine and psychiatry as Christian Science — or Scientology, with which it's frequently confused — but it does preach the healing of the sick through the power of the Universal Mind, which is God.

Beech's cousin, Scott Malonson, says that Jack had very strong opinions about psychiatric drugs. Beech let Malonson stay with him in his house in Conifer in 2001, at a time when Malonson was taking antidepressants and recovering from a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and the end of his first marriage. "He looked at my pills and said, 'You really don't need to be taking that stuff,'" Malonson recalls. "He always gave the impression that he was strong in mind, that he could rise above things."

One time when he was out with Allen, Beech drove by his church to show it to her. They sat quietly in the parking lot for a while, and then he asked, "Do you think God forgives you if you take your own life?"

Allen didn't know what to say. She talked about life being a precious gift. "He laid his head on the steering wheel and just cried," she recalls. "He stayed with me a couple of days after that. I tried to get him to move in with me. Maybe people is what he needed."

But Beech wasn't interested in living with anyone, much less marriage; he told her that there was no marriage he knew of that had worked. Allen may have been one of his lifelines, but he reached out to her less and less. Months went by without any word from him, then an entire year. When he resurfaced, they were still friends, but that was all.

The last time Allen saw him was in December 2007. He called out of the blue and dropped by for fifteen minutes. He complained about losing his hair — he'd skipped several family events, including weddings, because he refused to take off his baseball cap — and announced that he wasn't drinking anymore.

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12 comments
Lourdes Rosario
Lourdes Rosario

Is hard to read minds, and ppl could be just being silly, and he has his mind set, so even if the person try to contact him, he would of done it anyway, his family claims knowing him, they are the ones that should of known something was different on the last days. There is no one to blame here, it happened.

Holly Elkins
Holly Elkins

So sad. Couldn't finish reading it. I would have done the right thing. I would have gone to his house and called the police. Regardless whether I know him or not. Horrible this women did nothing. She could have easily saved a life.

Latisha Lala Acklin
Latisha Lala Acklin

Sounds like he lived and died how he wanted. And it sounds like his family hardly knew him, so why would a stranger know what his words meant?!

Trent Dozier
Trent Dozier

Pretty sure I would cash that. Anyone gonna commit suicide is gonna do it no matter what if they are serious

 
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