|Volume 17, Issue 12||
Brian Fredrick Simons, behind the headlines
[updated 3/4/2020: Simons' sister Amanda reached out to ask for corrections to this article in March, 2020}
On Saturday, November 2, 2019, just before 4 pm, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a report of a body found in Cedar Mill Creek. A man called 911 after discovering a body in the creek a few hundred feet downstream from Cedar Mill Falls, the small waterfall which is just south of the intersection of NW Cornell Rd. and NW 119th Av.
Deputies and paramedics were on scene quickly and determined the body belonged to a middle-aged man. The Medical Examiner’s Office and detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit responded to the scene.
On Monday, November 5, the State Medical Examiners Office performed an autopsy on the body. The male was identified as 41-year-old Brian Fredrick Simons. The Medical Examiner says the manner of death is “accidental.” It was explained later that this rules out suicide.
Neighbors in the Timberland housing development mentioned on NextDoor that they’d been aware of a homeless person living in the area. Shortly after I posted the notice on the CMN Facebook page, a woman posted this, “Baby the kids and I miss you so much, I still can't believe your’re gone. Please keep my family in your prayers. I love you baby, your loving wife.”
I reached out to her and she gave me permission to share a little of their story.
Jennifer and Brian Simons and their six children moved from Texas to this area around 2015, but Jennifer took the kids back to Texas in 2016. She and Simons never married, and only three of the children were theirs.
She explained, “We always talked and kept in touch. I just spoke with him before his passing. We loved each other very much but he couldn't stay clean. He drank heavy Thursday, he fell due to his drinking and did a number on his face.
“Mrs. Virginia, I'm in disbelief, shocked, it doesn't feel real. I spoke with him on Thursday for four hours. He was very smart. He had high IQ, he went to college—psychology and computer science. He was a journeyman electrician, he did the wiring to a wing of Texas children's hospital.
“Our son Eugene is 20 years old. We were blessed with kind loving, respectful and understanding, super smart, beautiful children. Our oldest daughter Savannah, she's 18 years old, she is graduating high school in May. Right after her is our daughter Leilani, she is 16 years old. And our other two daughters 14 and 11, they are in middle school and elementary. There's a lot milestones in their lives he is going to miss, but I like to think he will be there in spirit.”
“Brian didn't have to be homeless, that was by choice. He went to Oregon because I wanted to. I’m crazy for Ann Rule, and she would describe Oregon in such detail I could smell the trees and feel the sand in my toes. It was the best summer, my daughters still talk about that summer. I just wanted to give you back story on Brian. He’s not just some transient, homeless man found in Cedar Mill Creek. He lived there for almost three years, he loved Beaverton. You would have found him in the library reading.
“Thank you so much for taking the time, please, I want to take this tragic heartbreak of mine and turn it in to a positive. Mental illness and addiction comes hand and hand.”
Jennifer sent along these photos, one likely taken recently. We are publishing this to clear up questions and to share a sad story about what can happen when mental illness and addiction go untreated. Doreen Rivera, Community Outreach specialist for Washington County Sheriff’s Office, agreed that I should share the story, because, “Lessons are always good for people. You never know who it might resonate with.”
Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC