COOK COUNTY – On June 5, 2019, Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a possible suicidal person call at the Hungry Hippie Hostel, approximately 10 miles northeast of Grand Marais. Initial reports stated that a 21-year-old male hostel guest was intending to complete suicide and had run off into the woods with a knife.
Deputy Jonathan Baumann requested K-9 Unit assistance from Deputy Paul Spry and K-9 Deputy Eddy to aid in the tracking of the individual. Those on scene had not directly witnessed the person enter the woods or which direction he was travelling, which according to K-9 Handler Deputy Spry, this makes the likelihood of a successful search much lower.
Deputy Baumann, Deputy Andy Hayes and Deputy Spry began the search with Eddy, with Deputy Jaime Green remaining at the Hostel. Deputy Leif Lunde along with Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman searched the surrounding area and established a command post at the intersection of County Roads 14 and 60, when the person was spotted walking out on County Road 14.
Deputy Lunde was able to apprehend the individual without incident. The individual was armed with a knife and had self-inflicted knife injuries to his left forearm. The individual was determined to be an imminent threat to himself and was later held at a mental health facility in Hibbing.
After interviewing the individual, he reported to Deputy Lunde that he ran into the woods and hid but after he heard the dog barking and human voices approaching him he fled. He stated he had travelled in several circles, in an attempt to mislead the K-9. He confirmed that his intent was to find a place in the woods where he would not be found to die by suicide. Deputies strongly believe the only reason the suspect was apprehended as quickly as he was, was due to being flushed out of the woods by Eddy. Deputy Lunde states he feared that had the suspect not felt the need to flee, he may have completed attempts before being located, and credits Eddy with being the most prominent factor for this situation being resolved successfully.
“I commend Deputy Baumann for quickly recognizing the need for K-9 assistance on this call, the top-notch work of our K-9 Unit, all of the responding officers and Deputy Lunde for his supporting leadership on this call,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “This is a prime example of notable teamwork which resulted in a saving a life. The Sheriff’s Office is grateful for this outcome. We encourage anyone struggling with depression, mental health or other issues to seek help; there is always another answer.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at any time at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).