Shawn Lonsdale - Death


In 2007, Lonsdale let his Scientology critique website lapse, and posted less frequently on his blogs and anti-Scientology message boards and chat forums. Spokeswoman Pat Harney stated that the Church had not heard from Lonsdale for months before his death. Former Scientologist Randy Payne told the St. Petersburg Times that Lonsdale "found it impossible" to make a living while spending the majority of his time as a critic of Scientology. Payne stated that in December 2007 Lonsdale had found steady work, and had planned to go back to school in order to get a private investigator's license.

Clearwater police discovered Lonsdale's body after they were alerted by neighbors and found a garden hose connecting the exhaust pipe of Lonsdale's car with one of the windows of his home. Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts stated that there were no signs of foul play involved, and that police found what they believed to be a suicide note. Daly-Watts said that "It does appear to be a suicide." Police officially ruled Lonsdale's death as suicide on May 2, 2008.

Scientology spokeswoman Pat Harney called Lonsdale's apparent suicide "awful" and stated "It's just unfortunate anybody feels they have to go to that length ... I wouldn't wish that on anybody." Jerald Rowlett, a fellow Scientology critic and friend from Michigan, told The Tampa Tribune: "In many ways Shawn was a hero to me ... He had a hard life and a history he knew Scientology would use to hurt him. And yet he still felt strongly enough to try to inform the public about the actions of Scientology." On March 1, 2008, John Sweeney remembered Lonsdale and spoke about him on the BBC Radio 4 program, From Our Own Correspondent. Sweeney stated: "Clearwater got that little bit more creepy recently, with the death - the police are treating it as suicide - of Shawn. When alive a Scientology spokesman said of him: 'He has no redeeming value to anyone, anywhere.' Well, he was a bit of a hero to me ... I for one mourn the loss - of a brave and singular American".

Read more about this topic:  Shawn Lonsdale

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