By Kent Larsen
Hawkes Family Searches for Answers
COLUMBIA, MARYLAND -- The murder of Mary Jane Hawkes by her mentally
disturbed son has left her family uncertain and confused about why Benjamin
Morgan Hawkes was so angry that he lashed-out at his mother last Sunday. The
family is both disturbed by the refusal of local mental facilities to admit
Ben just days before the murder and confused as to what would lead their
brother and son to loose control so suddenly.
The family did know that Ben was troubled, according to a Baltimore Sun
article yesterday. Hawkes had shown two very different personalities to his
family; one that was good, sweet and sensitive, and another that was
paranoid and aggressive.
The family moved to Columbia, Maryland from Utah in 1987, and Ben grew up
there as an apparently happy teenager. "As a teen-ager, he was delightful
... ," said his 10th grade English teacher, Lynn Broderick, who moved to
Aurora, W.Va., in the summer of 1995. "He soaked stuff up and was able to
express what he needed to clearly." Broderick, who became a mentor for Ben,
says that she saw no evidence that Ben was having trouble at that time. She
says the only times he missed a meeting with her, she would find him
painting. Broderick says that Hawkes' writing was far ahead of his
classmates, leading her to co-author two plays with him.
But after Ben graduated from High School in 1993, Ben began having trouble.
He was arrested for drug possession in late 1994, and had other troubles in
the intervening years. During the last year and a half, his behavior
worsened. During the 1999 Christmas holidays, he became threatening and was
convinced that his father and others were out to get him. On New Year's Day
200, the family called 911, and Ben willingly went to the hospital with the
The hospital's diagnosis of schizophrenia and prescribed medication seemed
to work, at least initially, and Ben was back to what the family expected.
"The difference was night and day," says Ben's older brother, Nathan Hawkes.
"He turned from this bizarre, mean kid to the guy we used to know."
But during the past year, the results of the diagnosis have been
inconsistent, and Ben had some troubles. But overall the family was
optimistic. "On the whole, there were a lot of times when we thought he was
back," another brother, Tim Hawkes, said. Ben began to talk seriously about
going to art school.
But then Ben took another turn for the worse. Concerned about his own
behavior, he called for a psychiatric appointment and took a trip to the
hospital, looking for assistance. But the appointment was two weeks away,
and the hospital simply gave him anti-anxiety medication and released him.
After spending the night at a friends house, Ben came home angry. Somehow
his mother's query, "Ben, why are you so angry?" provoked him, leading to
the attack that left Mary Jane Hawkes, 59, and Teena Wu, 18, dead.
Now the family will gather in Bountiful, Utah this weekend for their
mother's funeral. An obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune says that Mary Jane
Hawkes served an LDS mission to Hong Kong, and became one of the first
Sister missionaries in the Philippines. She taught piano from her home for
over 15 years and taught early morning seminary for six years.
Meanwhile, police have issued an arrest warrant for Ben Hawkes, but have not
yet charged him in the murders. The warrant acts as a detainer, allowing
doctors at Cilfton T. Perkins Hospital Center (a different hospital from the
one that gave him anti-anxiety drugs last Saturday) to evaluate Hawkes. The
evaluation is expected to last up to three days. But the family doesn't know
what that will mean, in the end. "That's what I worry about," Nathan Hawkes
said. "Where does this ultimately go? None of us think [Ben] will be able to
live with himself if he ever gets back to who he was."
Family looks back at days before deaths
Baltimore MD Sun 14Feb01 D2
By Lisa Goldberg: Sun Staff
Statement raises questions on Hawkes' Saturday hospital visit; Drug prescription given; Suspect also sought help from treatment facility, relatives say
Mary Jane Davidson Hawkes
Salt Lake Tribune 15Feb01 P2