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Missing Man Jay Ralko Found Deceased

sideGARDENtopMissing Man Jay Ralko Found Deceasedseed48220healing

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 24, 2014)

The search for Jay Ralko ended on Tuesday, Dec. 23 when he found dead in his truck at the parking lot of Meijer at 13 Mile and Mound in Warren. According to a statement by Equality Michigan, Police believe suicide is the cause of death, though an autopsy is being performed.

“On December 10, Jay left a note asking his roommate to care for his dog Xena for a few days. At around 7 p.m. that evening, he spoke to his mom, Sherri Scott Amorello for the last time,” said the statement. “Amorello contacted Equality Michigan on December 18 for help finding her son, seed92929maioranaFamily_march2015and is now requesting that all media inquiries be directed to Equality Michigan.”

Equality Michigan, the statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization serving Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV communities, supports victims of anti-LGBTQ harassment, discrimination, and violence. The group had been helping law enforcement officials and the family locate Ralko.

Leah Taraskiewicz, Victim Advocate for Equality Michigan said “The Equality Michigan team is heartbroken over the loss of Jay, and we will continue to work with the family to support them in any way we can. We don’t know if Jay’s mental health played a role in this tragedy. However, we do know that, LGBTQ people are at higher risk of facing tough mental health situations. No one should have to go through that alone. We encourage anyone who is seed8989_Mary Schusterbaurerstruggling with mental illness and depression to seek help and support. We ask that everyone join us in keeping Jay’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Ralko was 22 years old.

His family released the following statement: “”We would like to thank everyone that helped support us in our search to find Jay. If we could have one last word with Jay, we would tell him how proud we are of him. Not many people would be able to get through what he has. He has struggled with so much in the last few years, much of which none of us will ever understand. Our only wish now is that all the pain has gone away and he has found peace. We love you Jay and we will miss you.”

Equality Michigan encourages anyone considering suicide or facing depression to consider calling a resource such as the the GLBT National Hotline (888-843-4564). LGBTQ youth can call the Trevor Project Hotline (866-488-7386) and transgender people can utilize the Transgender Helpline (855-345-8464).


“Suicide is a major public health issue, but it is preventable,” said George Miller, Director of seed14_chad_mattOakland County Department of Health and Human Services in a previous article. “It is important for everyone to recognize the warning signs and risk factors for suicide to prevent the loss of lives.”

Warning Signs:

~Talking about, or making plans to die

~Talking about “ending the pain”

~Persistently feeling sad, lonely or “empty”seed015_kathryn_balcer

~Insomnia or excessive sleeping

~Social isolation and withdrawal

~Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

Risk Factors:

~Previous suicide attempt(s)

seed01_jack_miller~Depression or other mental illness

~Substance use

~Family history of suicide

~Physical illness and /or chronic pain

If you or someone you know is in crisis, do not leave the person alone and do not isolate yourself.  Call your doctor, 911, go to a hospital emergency room for immediate help, or ask someone to help you.  The phone number for Common Ground’s 24-hour Crisis and Resource Helpline is 800-231-1127 and is available 24 hours a day.

Additional Resources:

Common Ground – www.commongroundhelps.orgseed_Mayor_Marian_McClellan

Oakland County Community Mental Health –

Easter Seals –

Suicide Prevention Resource Center –

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration –

National Alliance on Mental Illness –


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