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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 16, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Feb01

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 police.

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


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