Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mother shocked by son's actions - depression medication, murder-suicide

Mother shocked by son’s actions

Stewart Smith
Staff Reporter

Linda Gonzales remembers her son, 24-year-old Jake Taylor, as a funny, loving young man who never failed to make people laugh.

“I had Jake when I was very young. We grew up together. He was my best friend,” Gonzales said. “He inspired me to do better, to make life better. He made my house a home.”

So when she received news that her son had killed himself after shooting 20-year-old Rachel Pendray late Sunday night, she couldn’t believe it.

“He would walk into a room and before you know it, he would have everyone laughing. He made you want to be around him. He never showed any acts of violence before this,” Gonzales said, choking back tears.

According to Gonzales, Taylor’s relationship with Pendray, a pre-nursing major at Sam Houston State University, can be traced back to high school — they both graduated from Spring Woods High School in Houston, albeit three years apart — though they didn’t become friends until about a year and a half ago.

Pendray was even instrumental in helping save Taylor’s life, calling for medical help after he had overdosed on sleeping pills one month ago.

“She was so sweet. When Jake was in the hospital, and even though she was at a game cheering, she would call me at halftime to check on me and see how I was doing,” Gonzales said.

So what would drive this young man to commit such a tragic and horrible act?

A definitive answer may never be found, but Gonzales said her son had been battling depression for some time.

“He had attempted suicide twice. We talked, sat in his room, tried to figure out what to do and how to make things better,” Gonzales said.

His depression began to surface after his collegiate baseball career failed to pan out, Gonzales said, and that’s when the symptoms began to surface.

As an athlete, her son was always health conscious, paying close attention to his diet and spending hours at the gym.

“He was a health food fanatic,” she said. “He never ate red meat, chips, soda, junk food, any of that. But then his diet just went to whatever, it didn’t matter. He stopped going to the gym.”

Even his social and dressing habits changed.

“He went from always dressing nice, making sure his pants were just so, and all that, to sweat pants,” Gonzales said.

“He didn’t care if buddies were getting together,” she said. “He’d make excuses not to go out when they’d call. It was a lot of ups and downs.”

Taylor was taking medication for his depression, but Gonzales said she should have been paying more attention to the prescriber than the prescription.

“He went to the doctor and he only saw Jake for an hour before he wrote him a prescription. Then we went to a second doctor and he laughed off what the first one said and gave him something else,” Gonzales said. “Unless the doctor shows a vested interest in your child, move on.”

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