UPDATE TO AN ITEM POSTED EARLIER TODAY: Tonight the Mercury News is reporting that there are indications that the paper’s Rich Ramirez, whose body was found in the back yard of his home in Livermore on Wednesday, took his own life. The 44-year-old Ramirez, who was the assistant to the executive editor, died of a self-inflicted knife wound to the mid-section, the Merc reports.
The Merc said the exact reasons why he would have taken his own life are unclear.
He had been worried about the newspaper’s plans to eliminate about 40 newsroom jobs, said his wife, Janet Dalke. Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton said she told him that it was “extremely unlikely” he would be laid off, but she suggested he move to a different job in the newsroom because his job was likely to be eliminated.
Ramirez had been upset about something that happened during a recent national journalism convention that he helped to organize, and he talked about it with his wife and Managing Editor David Satterfield. They declined to provide specifics, the Merc said. Leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have credited Ramirez with working long hours to make the convention a success.
- “More than 200 people gathered for an informal memorial Thursday afternoon outside the Mercury News building, where they shared stories about Ramirez’s diligence and devotion to the newspaper, his soft-spoken good nature and generosity to friends.
“In his honor, many wore ribbons of cardinal and gold — the colors of his beloved University of Southern California, where Ramirez was editor of the student newspaper in 1984.”
(Photo credit: Peninsula Press Club — Ramirez was photographed during this year’s award’s banquet.)