Newsmakers: For Better or for Worse, Here's Who Made the Biggest News in 2006 ...

Summary


Troubled youngster's rampage ends

with three deaths

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Extract


Newsmakers: For Better or for Worse, Here's Who Made the Biggest News in 2006 ...

The year began on a tragic note as gunfire -- masked by the sound of New Year's Eve fireworks -- rang out from a Lower Las Colonias home, signaling the end of the lives of Peggy French and Joseph Hoar.

20-year-old Caleb French -- our first top newsmaker of the year - - disappeared, prompting a manhunt for the young killer. Well- versed in survival skills, Caleb French eluded authorities for several days before he took his own life at a cabin owned by his father, Thomas French.

The three deaths instantly cast a spotlight on problems that have long plagued and continue to confound law enforcement authorities, health officials and the community as a whole -- drug abuse, mental illness and domestic violence.

Details as to why Caleb French took his mother and his stepfathers' lives may never be known, but in the weeks following the murders and suicide, Thomas French candidly described how, over the years, his son struggled with drug addiction and had previously been diagnosed with mental illness.

He began using drugs at 11. By the time he was 14, Caleb became a "hard-core drug user" and was using crack cocaine before he could drive. Compounding the young French's problems was the fact that at some point during treatment for paranoid schizophrenia, he stopped taking his medication.

These factors fed into one another, eventually leading to the ultimate manifestation of domestic violence ......

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