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Suicide note left before apparent jump into Kilauea caldera

The father of a 38-year-old Petaluma, Calif., man whose body was recovered by helicopter from Kilauea caldera early Sunday morning said his son left a suicide note in his backpack found Saturday night on Crater Rim Trail by a pair of visitors.

John Michael Ure, who lives in Vancouver, Wash., said Leo Adonis, who was born Gregory Michael Ure, experienced “some emotional issues the last four to five years, and we’d been quite worried about it.”

“He’d been working for Whole Foods in San Rafael, and he called us last weekend to tell us he no longer had a job, that he was going to be leaving to go somewhere else, and we didn’t know where,” Ure said. “Even though he’d been in Hawaii before, I didn’t think he’d be going back there.”

Rangers found Adonis’ body about 250 feet below the caldera rim, in an area that is not currently erupting, at about 5:35 a.m. Sunday.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said the section of trail where he apparently jumped was between Kilauea Military Camp and Kilauea Overlook.

Ure said Adonis, who legally changed his name last year, had been a woofer — an organic farm laborer usually compensated only with room and board — in Kona.

“He regretted doing it,” Ure said. He added that his son also spent a couple of years in Pahoa, an experience he found more to his liking.

“He really loved Hawaii. He moved around, house-sitting for people, but apparently there wasn’t a large call for that anymore. He did reiki, he did a lot of body work and other things for people. He was a beautiful, beautiful person. He didn’t do drugs. He was more of a vegan, I guess, than a vegetarian. And just a beautiful spirit.”

Ure said his son was born Aug. 16, 1978, in Portland, Ore.; graduated in 1997 from Piner High School in Santa Rosa, Calif.; attended Santa Rosa Junior College; and graduated in with an English degree from San Diego State University in 2004.

He then worked as a schoolteacher in inner-city San Diego for a year, but “he just didn’t feel like he had any freedom to teach children.”

After that, Ure said, Adonis moved to Seattle and became an assistant to the vice president of a pharmaceutical corporation for three years before being laid off from that position.

“In 2008, the big (U.S. economic) crash happened, and ever since then, he’s been bouncing in between Seattle, Vancouver, California and Hawaii, trying to find where he fit,” Ure said. “The last five years or so, he had a real problem trying to find where he fit in. He always felt he didn’t fit in everywhere. He had some very, very intellectual ideas about life and the universe.”

Other family members took to Facebook to express their grief.

“RIP brother. I hope you know how much you were loved. Even if you couldn’t see it,” his sister, Shannon, posted.

An uncle described Adonis as “a kind and gentle soul.”

“I loved him and will miss him terribly. I have no words right now, still trying to get over the shock.”

Wrote an aunt, “Leo moved in and out of a world which has structured check boxes of what is normal. And for many, blurred lines are not acceptable.”

According to Ure, his son hadn’t had a significant other for several years, “just family and a number of casual friends.”

Ure said he’s not certain, but he’ll likely have his son’s body cremated and his ashes scattered somewhere in Hawaii.

He said he and Adonis’ mother were divorced in 1982, but they remained friends, and their son had maintained close ties to both parents.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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