The Note Said They Were Dead, Had Hidden Their Own Bodies

Eva Holland delves into the story of Eric and Pam Bealer for 'Outside Online'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 5:07 PM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2020 7:07 AM CDT
The Note Said They Were Dead, Had Hidden Their Own Bodies
This April, 2012 photo shows Sitka Sound in Sitka, Alaska.   (James Poulson/Sitka Sentinel via AP)

Eric and Pam Bealer met in the early 1980s and never looked back. They loved the wilderness and ended up settling on four acres outside the small Alaskan fishing village of Pelican. They collected their own water, raised animals, canned the vegetables they grew, made their own clothes, foraged for wild plants, hunted and fished or traded for game, and worked on their own artistic pursuits. Then, in the mid- to late 2000s, Pam was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At first, their life didn't change much. But as her symptoms, including pain, increased, she found her movement increasingly limited. The couple started to make adjustments: Animals that died weren't replaced; they bought a second, even more remote property on Yakobi Island. They also made a plan: to die together. And in 2018, that's what they did, writes Eva Holland for Outside Online.

What exactly happened to them is not known. In early September, they went to their Yakobi Island cabin, and eventually their typical emails to friends stopped. Concerned, those friends asked Pelican locals to check in on them. Someone did, in October, and found a note on the door informing the world that the two had willingly committed suicide. It read, "We have gone to some effort to hide our bodies, as we do not want them found. Please do not waste time and money looking. It would serve no purpose. We are gone, leave us to our peace." A box held packages to be mailed to friends; notarized wills distributed their belongings and property. They had discussed their death intention with friends for years—Pam did not wish to wait for MS to ravage her body, and Eric did not wish to live without her—but some were still left confused, others angry. (Read Holland's full piece for much more.)

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