Austin Ellis Hesse - Online Memorial Website

Sign in or Register

Choose Language - Last-memories.com

Choose Language - Last-memories.com
Search: Go Advanced search
Main Page
Gallery
Audio/Video
Candles
Condolences
Memories
Life Story
Edit Page
Grief Support
Austin Hesse
Born in Iowa
22 years
317525
Bookmark and Share
Family Tree
Life story
July 30, 2002

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

List Austin made of how his life effected mom. These were written while Austin was in rehab in 2002

December 15, 2004

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

1st page of letter Austin wrote in December 2004

December 15, 2004

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

2nd page of letter Austin wrote in December 2004

January 9, 2006

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

2nd page of letter Austin wrote while in Coconino County Jail in January 2006

January 9, 2006

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

Letter Austin wrote while in Coconino County Jail in January 2006

March 27, 2006

DOUBLE CLICK ON THE LETTER TO OPEN

Letter from Austin written to Grandma Regan in early 2006. Grandma never received this letter. Austin never mailed. His dad found this letter in Austin's things after he passed.

April 28, 2006

DOUBLE CLICK ON LETTER TO OPEN

Birthday letter Austin sent to Daniel in April 2006, Daniel's 10th birthday

August 24, 2006

  Austin Ellis Hesse was born April 12, 1984 in Davenport, Iowa, to William and Jill (Steines) Hesse.
     He attended school in DeWitt. Austin worked for North American Van Lines in Arizona. He was an accomplished artist and loved snow skiing and fishing with his mom and dad. Austin was a good cook and willing worker, helping his father build his Arizona home.

September 1, 2006

DOUBLE CLICK ON THE LETTER TO OPEN

This letter was given to Austin at his funeral in Sept 2006. Letter from Butch and De Roberts. Daniel and Marshall, Butch and De's son were very close in their younger years. Marshall lost his life in a car accident before his 16th birthday.

September 16, 2006

                                   Our Son Austin Ellis Hesse

     Austin battled drug addiction for the past 10 years. His 1st drug of choice was marijuana. Marijuana could no longer get him high enough. This lead to exRerimenting many drugs in his young teenage years. Drug use res'ulted in criminal activities and trouble with law enforcement. Austin entered into numerous drug rehab programs that we chose, programs that the courts chose and programs that he chose. There was never a program that was beneficial to his needs. For the past 6 years or so, Austin's drug of choice became crystal meth. Austin wanted to stop but couldn't find the way. Austin made several attempts to come clean but there was no program that he found to help him completely .

     Crystal Meth is the most dangerous drug on our streets today. This drug's addictiO,n killed our son. Meth addicts can't stand the sight of themselves. When you look into their eyes it's as if their soul has left their body. From cold tablets, alcohol, lithium in batteries and the deadly ammonia often stolen from farm fertilizer supplies, meth is a chemical jambalya that can be cooked Quickly and cheaply into rocks with more kick than cocaine. We have found out that Mexico has several meth labs in full force production of this killing drug and is easily being transported in the states. Meth is powerful and makes peop_e do crazy, outrageous things. Once a person becomes addicted to meth, which is from one time use, they don't feel very good when they're not using meth. Meth's toxic chemicals eat away an addict's brain tissue.

     We are asking our family and friends to take a moment and read the letter we found that Austin wrote a few months ago. This letter is tri folded and is labled MfTH. This letter shows Austin's addiction to the drug and how he struggled so much to get away from the addiction.

     We are also asking our family and friends to take time to stop the spread of this disease. Do what you can to get meth off our streets and away from our children, loved ones and complete strangers. Do research and learn about the effects and signs of meth use. We have to stop this before it kills more.

 

Austin is forever in our hearts and soul

Bill Hesse and Jill Sell

September 17, 2006

An article as it appeared in the Dewitt Observer.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

  
A drug addict’s love letter
(Editor's note: This letter was written by Austin Hesse during his last attempt at rehab from methamphetamine use. He took his own life Aug. 24.)

Dear Crystal, my favorite white girl -

I miss you so much. I wish we still could be together. I wish things were like they were when we first met, when you were so sweet, and you never let me down.

We used to stay up all night, content with just being together. But things changed, and you started to expect a lot more out of me, more than I could keep up with.

You wore me out, that is no doubt. You kept me high, and now it's time to say goodbye before I die.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
Trapped by drugs, young man chooses suicide

By Mary Rueter
Managing editor

Austin Hesse is finally at peace. It is that knowledge that keeps his parents, Jill Sell and Bill Hesse, going these days.

They buried their 22-year-old son last weekend after a 10-year battle with drug addiction.

In the end, Austin took his own life. He could not see another way out of the mire his life had become.

Sell and Hesse want to try to make something positive out of Austin's death. Although suicide is not is not the answer to solving one's problems, it was the only answer Austin could come up with.

His life may not have ended prematurely if it had not been for drug addiction. "Austin lived for drugs, and he died for drugs," Hesse says.

Addiction is part of a vicious cycle. He was in trouble - he had fines to pay, intensive probation was overwhelming and he had outstanding bills, but he chose to escape with drugs to overcome those feelings.

Time and again he would sell everything he owned for drugs.

Sell and Hesse want to help parents understand what an insidious hold drugs can put on a young person. They want to try to stop the spread of drug addiction. They want to help get meth off the streets. They want to educate parents on the signs and effects of meth use. "We have to stop this before it kills more," they say.

Austin first experimented with marijuana when he was 13 years old. It became his first drug of choice, but when it no longer got him high, he moved on to other, more dangerous drugs.

"His drug use resulted in criminal activities and trouble with law enforcement," his parents remember. "He entered into numerous drug rehab programs that we chose, programs the courts chose and programs Austin chose, but there never was a program that was beneficial to his needs."

For the past six years, his drug of choice was crystal meth. "He wanted to stop, but he couldn't find the way," his parents believe. "Austin made several attempts to come clean but there was no program he found to help him completely."

"He was trapped by drugs and couldn't find his way out," Sell says.

Even during the times he was clean - the last time was about five months ago - drugs never were far from his mind.

He even dreamed about using when he was asleep, his father says. "Sometimes he'd wake me up with his sleep talking."

Both parents maintained "house rules" about drug usage. In order for Austin to live with either of them, he had to be clean. He knew if he broke the rules, his parents would turn him in - and they did.

Austin's life had been a roller coaster. While it started with charges for underage possession as a young teen, it quickly escalated to arrests for marijuana possession, intent to distribute, weapons charges, an auto accident, a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest, more weapons charges, two felony charges for thefts to support his habit, meth possession, drug paraphernalia charges, more weapons charges, probation violations and failure to appear. In between, he would have periods when he would do well and stay clean, only to slip backward again.

He had been apprehended for carjacking when he turned a gun on himself and ended his struggles.

While Sell and Hesse don't condone Austin's behavior, they also knew another side of him that was obscured by his drug use. That side was talented and smart. Although he had dropped out of school in ninth grade, he went on to earn his GED. He was an accomplished artist. "If he had pursued an art career, he might have been drawing for Disney," Sell laments.

Austin's parents are angry and frustrated with the system that failed to help their son. A period during which he was incarcerated at Boot Camp in Davenport went sour when the director was accused of molesting the young men he was responsible for rehabilitating. "After all that, Austin had less respect for authority," his father says.

Still, Austin's parents don't blame law enforcement as much as the lawmakers. "We always hoped his history would mean he'd be placed in long-term rehab," they say. But that didn't happen - and fines or probation were not enough to straighten him out.

Instead, Austin bounced from facilities in Dubuque and Davenport to Ames and Flagstaff, Ariz., staying as long as three months - not enough to break his need for drugs.

"He should be doing time," his father says. "He had way too many chances. Maybe he'd be here today if he'd had time away off the streets, locked down. Incarceration would have done him good."

Austin had no qualms about admitting he was an addict, but once he turned 18, no one could make him stay in treatment. He was free to walk out after five days if he decided to do so.

Both Hesse and Sell want parents to be aware of the signs a person is on drugs. "I can pick them out in a crowd," Sell says sadly. "The color of their skin, their physical appearance, their faces are sunken in."

Long-term, their teeth fall out, and drugs ruin their immune system," Hesse adds.

Moreover, about 75 percent think bugs are crawling on their skin, and they will pick at their face and arms until they are raw, trying to eradicate the pests.

"Meth addicts cannot stand the sight of themselves.When you look into their eyes, it is as if their soul has left their body. From cold tablets, alcohol, lithium in batteries and the deadly ammonia often stolen from farm fertilizer supplies, meth is a chemical jambalaya that can be cooked quickly and cheaply into rocks with more kick than cocaine," the parents say. "Meth is powerful and makes people do crazy, outrageous things."

Hesse acknowledges there is not much that can be done for long-term abusers, but he urges parents to become more aware of where their kids are, what they are doing and who they are hanging out with.

The answer, he says, lies in prevention, not rehabilitation.

Not all first time users of meth become addicted. The only way to find out how it will affect a person is to try it- and then it may be too late to turn back. The drug affects different people in different ways but one use almost always leads to another.

As one might expect, Sell says she carries a burden of guilt. "I kicked him out when he was 17. I 'm not sure if it was the right thing, but I had to think of my younger son. I couldn't cope with (drug) dealers knocking on the door. Austin knows I tried, but I wonder if I should have done something different."

It is too late to save Austin, but if her words can strike a chord with just one parent and save just one child, Sell will feel her son didn't die in vain. "I just want to help others," she says.

Hesse, too, wants to reach out to others. He plans to contact the Big Brothers organization when he gets back to Flagstaff. "There are a lot of kids that don't have fathers. If I could help someone else, I surely would."

And in time, Sell hopes to be able to speak to elementary and junior high students about the dangers of drugs.
 

 

November 15, 2006

An article as it appeared in the North Scott Press

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

11/15/2006 1:00:00 PM  Email this articlePrint this article 
Austin Hesse was a gifted artist, and his mom, Jill Sell, poses with two of her most prized possesions: a picture he drew, and a picture of her son taken earlier this year when he was clean from drugs. PHOTO: Scott Campbell
A love letter to Crystal
Dear Crystal, my favorite white girl -

I miss you so much. I wish we could still be together. I wish things were like they were when we first met, you were so sweet, and you never let me down.

We used to stay up all night, content with just being together. But things changed, and you started to expect a lot more out of me, more than I could keep up with.

You wore me out, that is no doubt. You kept me high, and now it's time to say goodbye before I die.

Note: This letter was written by Austin Hesse during his last attempt to fight his addiction to methamphetamine (crystal meth).

Crystal meth: a killer drug
Park View mom spreads the word on meth addiction

Scott Campbell

PARK VIEW - No one knows for sure what happened late on the evening of Aug. 24 in Phoenix, Ariz., or what was going through the mind of 22-year-old Austin Hesse when he pulled the trigger to take his own life.

One thing his mother, Jill Sell of Park View, does know is that her son's actions brought to an end a 10-year battle with drugs, and a five-year love affair with one of the most dangerous, yet popular drugs on the market: crystal meth.

Even now, two months after burying her oldest son, Jill still feels the guilt of not being able to help her son kick the dreaded habit, but takes strength from her determination to spread the word about the dangers of crystal meth.

"This drug is more common than people think," said Jill, while her youngest son, Daniel, played football outside with the neighborhood kids. "A lot of people have turned their backs to it, not wanting to realize that there is a big problem.

"Today, I can pick crystal meth users out in a crowd. I've seen first-hand the behavior and look of a meth user. I just want to go up to them and intervene or something. This drug just took over my son's life. He couldn't live without it. I just want to help get the word out.

"It's the most dangerous drug on the streets today," she continued. "I've seen what it can do. It killed my son.

Austin's problems seemingly started when he was 12 and his family was living in DeWitt. It was Christmas Eve, 1996, and he was playing with Daniel. Austin accidentally dropped his younger brother on a hardwood floor. Daniel suffered a fractured skull and blood clot, and the family was told that if he survived, he'd be a vegetable.

Fortunately, Daniel was Jill's miracle baby, but the traumatic incident was something Austin never got over, and ultimately triggered what would be the beginning of a troublesome childhood.

"Daniel's accident was a turning point for Austin," said Jill, "and he was in counseling for years. To the day that he took his life, Austin still blamed himself, even though we constantly told him it was an accident."

Within six months of the accident Austin began using drugs, and his name became familiar to law officers from Maquoketa, to DeWitt and finally to Scott County.

"I missed the signs at first," remembers Jill. "I was naive. Austin would get into trouble at school, and I never wanted to believe that he could do anything wrong. When he started getting arrested, it was almost too late."

Austin's rap sheet runs the gamut, and now, after the fact, reads like a cry for help. Starting with charges for possession of tobacco, his crimes escalated to marijuana possession, intent to distribute, weapons charges, drunken driving, possession of meth and drug paraphernalia and two felony theft charges to finance his meth addiction.

Jill and Austin's father, Bill Hesse, enrolled their son in rehab programs in Dubuque, Davenport and Ames, and he attended an alternative school in DeWitt.

When he was 16 he was sentenced to the Summit Boot Camp in Davenport, but he ran away two days before completing his 90-day sentence.

"We discovered a lot of things were going on there," said Jill. "An investigation was started and ultimately the director was charged with molesting every boy in there, and he's now serving a 37-year prison sentence.

"Austin was already in trouble, but after that he lost whatever respect he had for authority."

After that experience, Austin lived with Jill in Maquoketa. As far as she was concerned, it was the beginning of the end.

"For a year, it was absolutely terrible," she said. "He was into so many drugs and doing so many things I wasn't even aware of. He would take my car while I was asleep at night. He couldn't hold a job and dropped out of school.

"He had just turned 17, and I had drug dealers knocking at my door and threatening me. I told Austin I couldn't do this anymore. I told him I had to think about Daniel. It was one of the toughest things I've done, but I kicked him out. To this day I think I should've done something different."

By then, Austin was hooked on meth. He went to live with his father and grandmother, and spent more time in and out of court-ordered rehab programs. Nothing worked.

"Meth had been his drug of choice for six years, and no program was able to help him overcome that addiction," said Jill. "His crime sprees increased. He sold everything he had, I don't know how many times."

When his dad (who Jill is still very close with) moved to Arizona, Austin went with him. They thought that would help. It didn't. Even though he would go through periods where he could stay clean, his addiction was never cured.

Last October he came back to Iowa for the last time and was planning on entering the Job Corps. That didn't work out, and a few months later he moved back to Arizona.

Jill talked to her son once or twice a month. Her mother visited Austin in Arizona in June and said that he'd been clean for nearly five months.

"He looked really good and my mom got some good pictures," said Jill. "He was on probation for five felony charges, including theft and forgery after stealing a check from his dad, but seemed to have things turned around.

"The last time I talked to him was the end of July. He sounded really good, and then a couple of days later his dad called and said Austin was doing drugs again."

Bill called Austin's probation officer to turn his son in, and this is where the parents got upset with the system.

"Austin's record was so long, and we practically begged to get him put into prison," said Jill. "Both here in Iowa, and in Arizona. He was on probation with a three-year suspended sentence, and was doing drugs again. Bill told the probation officer that he couldn't stand seeing his son throw his life away, and that he had to be incarcerated for a long period of time to get him away from the drugs."

The probation officer told Bill to check Austin into a halfway house. That was the first Friday in August. That day, Bill had to travel from Flagstaff to Phoenix on business, and when he returned the next day everything Austin owned was out of the house and his truck was gone.

The probation officer said Austin never checked into the halfway house.

At the time, Austin was working for a moving company, and that Monday he was supposed to deliver a shipment to New Mexico. The shipment never arrived, and the moving company reported that its van was missing.

On Aug. 7 the van was found in Walnut Canyon and five weapons were missing. A warrant was issued for Austin's arrest. That Monday night Jill came home and heard what she took as a suicide message from her son.

"He said he was sorry for the pain he had caused and for the pain he was about to cause," said Jill. "He said he was on the run and that he had a gun. He said he was a loser and that his life was nothing. He said it wasn't my fault, that he loved me, and to please raise Daniel good."

Bill got the same message on his phone.

For 10 days there was no contact from Austin, but then Bill received a phone call.

"He told his dad that he was OK and working," said Jill. "He said he knew he was going to prison, and that he just needed more time to get his life straightened out. He told Bill to call me and tell me he was OK."

On Aug. 23, Bill got another call. Austin sounded messed up and was on drugs again. He wanted money. Bill told him he wasn't going to give him any, and that he should stop running and turn himself in. Austin told Bill that he was in Colorado, and that was the last time Bill talked to his son.

The end came one day later, but Jill and Bill didn't find out about their son's death for five more days.

"It happened at 10 p.m. on Aug. 24th, but Bill didn't get a call from police until 11 p.m. on Aug. 29th," said Jill. "When the end came, Austin didn't have any identification on him, and he had to be identified by his fingerprints.

"Austin had only the clothes on his back," said Jill. "He needed money for his drug. He held up a man at gunpoint at a gas station in Phoenix. He took the man's keys and wallet, and stole his vehicle. The car was equipped with a GPS tracking system, so police were on him pretty quick.

"There were several squad cars and an air unit chasing him. He went a few miles and stopped in a parking lot in an industrial area. He exited the vehicle and tried to get away, but there was barbed wire fence all around.

"He headed back to the vehicle," continued Jill, "but it was locked. He fired shots to try and get in, but couldn't. By then, officers were trying to approach him. They had their weapons drawn and were trying to talk him down. He made eye contact with them, put the gun up, and pulled the trigger."

Jill found out about her son's death five days later. Bill called her at 1 a.m. on Aug. 30. The next morning she was on her way to Phoenix. Jill and Bill had their son's body cremated, and his ashes were buried back in Iowa on Sept. 9.

"This drug is such an insidious thing," said Jill. "I just wish I'd been home the night he left that message on my machine. The one good thing we can say is that we raised Austin not to hurt another human being. At least he didn't fire any shots at the policeman."

The days since Austin's death have been difficult, but both Jill and Austin's dad are determined to make the public aware of the drug that they feel killed their son. At Austin's visitation, they handed out a flier that included this message:

"Crystal Meth is the most dangerous drug on our streets today. This drug's addiction killed our son. Meth addicts can't stand the sight of themselves. When you look into their eyes it's as if their soul has left their body. From cold tablets, alcohol, lithium in batteries and the deadly ammonia often stolen from farm fertilizer supplies, meth is a chemical jambalaya that can be cooked quickly and cheaply into rocks with more kick than cocaine.

"Once a person becomes addicted to meth, which is from one time use, they don't feel very good when they're not using meth. Meth's toxic chemicals eat away an addict's brain tissue."

Jill and Bill also asked people to read the letter they found that Austin had written a few months earlier (printed elsewhere on this page). It was tri-folded and labeled "METH." It shows his addiction to the drug and how Austin struggled to get away from that addiction.

"We're determined to work on preventing this from happening to someone else," said Jill. "We've established a memorial Web site (www.austin-hesse.last-memories.com) for Austin, and it's already had 2,400 hits.

"Daniel (a student at Neil Armstrong Elementary in Park View) is handing out the address at school. We've told him, 'If anybody ever approaches him about doing drugs, give them this card, and tell them that's why you don't want to do drugs.'

"We need to stop the spread of meth," she continued. "We don't think there's much hope for longtime users, so for us, it's all about prevention and not rehab. It only takes one use to get hooked, and that's the message we want to get out."

January 2, 2007

I RECENTLY READ THIS WRITTEN BY A METH ADDICT. THIS HAS HELPED ME, JILL,  UNDERSTAND AND FORGIVE MYSELF IN KNOWING THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I COULD DO TO HELP AUSTIN.  I HAD TO POST THIS AND SHARE WITH ALL.

 

 

 

You can't make me clean

I know it is what you want for me to be, but until I want it - I won't be.

You can't love me clean ...because until I learn to love myself. I won't be.

I know you must wonder how can I learn to love myself when I am caught up in a lifestyle of self-hatred and self destruction. I can learn from my own experience ... I can learn from the things that happen to me along the path of my own mistakes. I can learn by being allowed to suffer the consequences of my choices. Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we need learn.

I know it devastates you to watch me hurting myself. I know you want to jump in and save me. This helps ease your pain, but I don't think you understand just how damaging it is to me.

You see although I look and sound like your loved one. Me, the person .. is locked away deep down inside my being. What you see before you is a addict ruled and reigned by my addiction. The main focus of an addict is to feed the addiction. Every effort you put forth in the name of helping me *the person* falls prey to my addict giving more power to the addiction to shackle down *the person in me .. a little more each time.

I feed my addiction enough ... please don't help me.

The only way for the person in me to get free is to be free .. to fall as far as I need to go in order to find the strength to fight back and break free.

How can or will I ever be able to get clean.

The same way I gave myself over to my addiction is the same way I can give myself over to my recovery. BY MYSELF

By allowing me to reach 'rock bottom' you move over and allow me to find my own way back .. It is in the fight to break free that I will find myself .. it is in the fight that I learn to love myself .. the more I love myself the more I will do to better myself.

I am aware that when I use I am playing Russian roulette with my life. I know this, but that is a chance we take when we use. The addict in me is willing to take that chance in the name of getting high. Rock bottom is but a circumstance away. I can't get in if you are blocking the entrance ...
Please for the sake of the person in me .. move out of the way .. and let me fall as far down as I have to in order to reach the bottom .. and pray for me that when I do hit .. that is not with the impact that leaves me for dead (I know that is your greatest fear), but if it comes to that .. be sure to tell my story so that others might learn and live.