They lived in different states, had different families, rarely spoke to each other. The only thing Amy Carter and Dean Beck had in common was their son, Logan.
“Logan’s dad got custody when (Logan) was 4 years old, but I went down to Los Angeles to visit every month, and twice a year Logan came up here,” said Carter, who lives in Gig Harbor. “It was complicated but totally worth it.”
By the time Logan was 16, he had his eye on the Air Force Academy. He played junior varsity football and baseball. His high school principal knew and liked him.
“Logan was very smart, very kind, a very good friend to a lot of kids on campus,” Moorpark High Principal Carrie Pentis said.
Two days before Christmas break last year, Logan Beck, a high school sophomore, killed himself.
His mother had seen him in November, looked forward to spending part of the holidays with him, but thought he was unhappy.
“It seemed like normal teenage stuff, finding yourself,” Carter said.
In mid-December, Logan’s father, stepmother and their children popped popcorn with Logan and watched holiday cartoons together — a family tradition.
A few days later, on Dec. 19, Logan went to school but left his first period class early. He walked to the administration office and left a letter for his school counselor which, when discovered about 9 a.m., put the campus on lockdown.
Police said Logan’s letter threatened violence against himself and others, but his father said he never threatened anyone specifically.
The letter said he was “tired of living, tired of the pain in the world” and “feared he’d succumb to urges to hurt other people,” Dean Beck told CBS Los Angeles.
By the time the campus was shut down, Logan was no longer there.
“Logan left school, walked over a mile and stepped in front of a train,” Carter said.
A month later, Dean Beck sat down for a long interview with the CBS affiliate in LA to share his son’s story.
“If a parent thinks they are involved, they are not as involved as they need to be,” he said. “They need to be checking every aspect of their (child’s) life.
“I really have to believe that the pain that we’re feeling is for something. That Logan’s death wasn’t in vain. That if some kid out there can get the help that he or she needs because of this incident, it meant something, it was worth something.”
In Gig Harbor, Amy Carter and her extended family wanted to do something, too.
“My husband, sister and her husband talked about it and decided The Logan Foundation would be meaningful way to remember him,” she said. “We urge people to be involved in the lives of their kids — their kids and anyone else’s.”
Their website — TheLoganFoundation.com — has links to hotlines and crisis centers. It tells Logan’s story in a variety of ways, including The Mannequin Eradication Front.
“Logan had an irrational fear of mannequins and would joke about it,” Carter said.
Online, she’s turned that into a motto: “Don’t be a mannequin in a teen’s life.”
“Most schools have no programs, maybe a once-a-year assembly that touches on suicide prevention,” Carter said. “Our focus is to help find meaningful ways to open communication.
“We have a core group of 20-30 volunteers willing to help us or other organizations sponsoring suicide prevention curriculum in our schools. We want to reach out to teens in Logan’s name.”
On Saturday (June 7), The Logan Foundation is sponsoring an all-ages hip-hop concert in Tacoma. Carter, who is not a rap aficionado, viewed songs from each group online before booking them to make sure they weren’t inappropriate.
“I’ll get up there and make a speech a couple of times, talk about how teen suicide is not a taboo topic and give some background,” she said. “We want everyone to have a little more awareness and have fun, too.”
One week ago — less than six months after Logan’s death — Amy Carter got a note from her son. It came courtesy of a California police detective who found it in the case file.
“Logan said goodbye and that he was sorry but couldn’t live with who he had become,” she said. “He said he loved me.”
Hip hop concert fundraiser
When: Saturday (June 7), 7 p.m.- midnight.
Where: Rock & Roll Lodge and Steakhouse, 9825 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.
Groups performing: Stupid Juice, Pooji Tran, Q Dot, A King Also and Tone Definite.
Admission: $5, with proceeds going to The Logan Foundation for youth suicide awareness.
To learn more about The Logan Foundation, go to theloganfoundation.com or visit TheLoganFoundation on Facebook.Larry LaRue: 253-597-8638 larry.larue@ thenewstribune.com