Leanne Bearden: Remembering missing Denver woman who took her own life

Categories: News

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Photos, video and more below.
Update: Earlier this month, we told you about the search for Leanne Bearden, a Denver woman who had disappeared in Texas after returning from a two-year-long trip around the world with her husband. See our previous coverage below. Unfortunately, the story's sad ending is told by an event tomorrow in Texas: a memorial service scheduled after the discovery that she had taken her own life. However, a future get-together in the Denver area will endeavor to celebrate Bearden's spirit, not just mourn her loss. Continue for photos, video and details.

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Bearden in a photo from her vacation.
As we've reported, Bearden and her husband, Joshua, got back from the globetrotting journey in January. But before heading home to Colorado, they stopped at his family's home in Garden Ridge, Texas. On January 17, Leanne left for a walk and never returned.

Before long, the story of Bearden's mysterious disappearance went national, with plenty of major media outlets putting out alerts about her. But at the time of our post, her loved ones were actively acknowledging that she appeared to have vanished by her own choice.

Then, last week, a terrible development: Bearden's body was found only blocks away from her in-laws' home. By the weekend, preliminary autopsy results were in: CNN notes they indicated "asphyxiation by hanging." She had been found attached to a tree by a rope.

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The spot where Bearden's body was found.
Bearden's Facebook page was quickly transformed into an online memorial. Here's a sampling of messages:
What a bright and encouraging spirit you had, Leanne. No one could come into contact with you and not smile. My prayers remain with you as you fly among the angels in a happier place. You are greatly missed, but you will never be forgotten.

All the love you gave is returned to you 100 fold -- surrounding you and yours today and always.

God Bless you sweet girl!!!

A memorial service for Bearden is slated to take place at 2 p.m. tomorrow, February 22, at Northeast Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas. But those who loved Bearden here in Colorado will have another way to mark her passing.

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A photo shared on both Bearden's Facebook address and the Facebook event page for the memorial run.
The Leanne Bearden 5K and Balloon Release will take place on Sunday, March 9 at a Denver location that's yet to be determined.

The page's organizer notes, "I am honored that Leanne's family has asked us to honor Leanne's life" via the event, which had originally been planned as a fundraiser to help continue the search for her. The hope is that the gathering will be "a wonderful, respectful celebration & memorial service for all the friends and family our friend Leanne Hecht Bearden touched with her beautiful spirit throughout her life."

For more information about the event, click here. In the meantime, our sincere condolences to Bearden's friends, family and loved ones.

Here's a report from Texas-based KENS-TV about the discovery of her body.

Continue for our previous coverage about the search for Leanne Bearden.


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78 comments
lmcqueeney
lmcqueeney

What does the family think? If Leanne intended to take her life, would she have done so without leaving behind a note for her family? Why is "in plain sight" so non-plausable, with regard to the possibility that she may have been hanged by her husband. Have the authorities looked into life insurance policies? Something isn't quite right here, and the family has a right to know what really happened.

lmcqueeney
lmcqueeney

What does the family think? If Leanne intended to take her life, would she have done so without leaving behind a note for her family? Why is "in plain sight" so non-plausable, with regard to the possibility that she may have been hanged by her husband. Have the authorities looked into life insurance policies? Something isn't quite right here, and the family has a right to know what really happened.

Jewels Gray
Jewels Gray

She was not a "rich girl" Scott - her and her husband lived extremely modestly and saved every penny for 4 years to live their dream. You're a dick

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

This is sad all the way around. It wasn't foul play, from what we know. If the husband had a hand in it I'm sure he would of done it abroad not a few blocks from his family home. I've only traveled with the military, I know after a 3 week vacation I dread going back to work. So I could imagine traveling for 2 years then coming back to the working world. No one knows what she was thinking its a loss for both families. Keep them in your heart and don't be asshats.

Karin Harvey
Karin Harvey

Have you ever travelled the world? I mean REALLY traveled the world immersing yourself on a daily basis with their cultures. Trust me, if you spent that much time exploring countries that: put family first before their job, that had multiple generations living under one roof all sleeping on the floor, that had an antenna on their roof top to symbolize wealth yet having a TV or anything that antenna operates is non existent in their home, where kids were running around on dirt roads shoeless living, laughing and enjoying unknowing of having the next best thing like an xbox, cell phone, new clothes etc, you too would have a hard time coming back to America and adjusting. Trust me, it is hard to adjust to the ugliness of America compared to the beauty of other cultures. Look at all the ugly judgements you cynics are casting, not to mention the ugly American culture of making it big and keeping up with the Joneses. In all my travels, it wasn't until I got back that I saw where the term "ugly Americans" came from. I am embarrassed for us!

Susan Danford Geffre
Susan Danford Geffre

Wow. What a bunch of heartless, selfish, uneducated pricks you guys are! If this story doesn't appeal to you, just move on. But at least have the decency to respect the fact that she was someone's daughter/sister/friend. I'm embarrased for you- for your lack of empathy. So sad.

Scott Miles
Scott Miles

Whole floor of kids at children's hospital fighting cancer... Much more tragic than this sensationalistic nonsense.

Scott Miles
Scott Miles

Move on. She made her choice. Million sad stories/tragedies in the world everyday. Rich girl that can afford to not work for 2 years and travel comes home and says game over, oh well..

Heather Miles
Heather Miles

Conspiracy theorists make it much harder on the families. Speculation based on nothing is just hurtful.

Danielle Michelle Gelhaar
Danielle Michelle Gelhaar

Just like many sad stories in the world like jon benet....somebody isn't telling the whole truth.

Chelsea Meyer
Chelsea Meyer

Jose Montoya it got you to comment, you just never know "what news" is important news for the one watching, reading or listening-it can change someone's decision if THIS story was/is "news worthy" to that individual...it may have saved a life, suicide is real

Danielle Michelle Gelhaar
Danielle Michelle Gelhaar

I find it hard to believe she ended her own life. Are we sure someone didn't make it look like a suicide?

Annette Cannon
Annette Cannon

Hopefully this will raise awareness of Suicide and we can all learn from it.

Dana Trujillo
Dana Trujillo

Why.... Just never know the struggles of seemingly happy human beings. So sad and so sorry.

Melissa Ann
Melissa Ann

I wonder what kind of sadness she felt to take her life. Hope she is resting in peace now.

jameswingert
jameswingert

I’ve decided to write this because I’ve come across a few misguided, retarded, downright mean comments and speculations written regarding Leanne Bearden and her suicide.  This situation has intrigued me greatly, not the least of which is that the couple is from Denver where I live so it is a kind of “local” story.  I just thought I would write down my thoughts on the situation because I too couldn’t understand why this bright, vibrant young woman would commit suicide.  I have read the ENTIRE blog and gone through each photo.  It is a fantastic blog filled with wonderful accounts and tremendous photos.  After going through the entire blog and some video, while I can’t say I feel like I “know” these people, I can say I think that I would like them very much if I ever had the chance to meet them.  That said, I was very drawn to WHY this vivacious young woman would take her life.  This is what I have come to conclude:  Leanne Bearden’s suicide doesn’t make ANY sense. None whatsoever.  It’s NEVER going to make any sense.  THAT is why it is such a tragedy.  The REASON for this is simple.  It’s a can’t-see-the-forest-through-the-trees situation.  Meaning the answer is right there in front of us.  Leanne suffered from depression. Pure and simple.  She was probably more prone to it than others.  She probably had a genetic predisposition to it, meaning it runs in her family.  She was a beautiful, intelligent, fun person with seemingly the perfect mate in life.  And none of that could stop what happened.  I think that if Leanne was even remotely able to help herself she would have reached out for help before it came to her suicide.  But she couldn’t.  She was so far gone in her depression that she couldn’t help herself or even warn others so that they could help her.  I think the only defense against it, and this is 20/20 hindsight, was to NEVER leave her alone for ONE second for as many months as it would take for her to get out of her hopeless state. OR simply to proactively admit her to a hospital for in-patient care the moment she got back. And who could foresee that...?? The fact that neither of these were done indicates to me there were NO signs exhibited that would have warranted such concern.  They knew she was having a hard time adjusting back in the States but that could be considered normal.  Many people keep looking at this case as if someone is to blame.  I do not think ANYONE is to blame for what happened.  To me, THAT is the biggest tragedy regarding this very sad situation.  Leanne Bearden had just returned from an amazing trip, literally the trip of a lifetime.  Her brain was firing electrically and chemically in a certain way and was having a difficult time adjusting itself to it’s new normal, the work-a-day life back home in the States. This electrical and chemical imbalance left her with feelings of hopelessness and insignificance that love, family and friends and a rational assessment of reality couldn’t alleviate.  In the end she WRONGLY felt that despite her accomplishments and personality she literally brought nothing to the table, socially or emotionally.  This left her in such despair that her ONLY solution was to remove herself from the situation so her pain would end, quickly. The grandness of the trip probably only served to UNDERSCORE how insignificant she felt. That’s it.  That’s all there is.  It’s not logical. It’s not rational.  It’s terribly, terribly sad.  And that is all it is.  My heart aches for Josh Bearden. (I am so, so sorry for your, and the world's, loss.)  To lose your best friend.  Your soul mate.  The one who shared it all with you.  To lose that person to something so senseless and yet so powerful is just so sad.  Anyway,  those are my thoughts on this issue and I just wanted to put them down somewhere.  Leanne Bearden wasn't selfish.  Wasn't a bad person.  Quite the opposite.  She just happened to suffer from bad depression and that in and of itself is heart-breaking.  Sincerely,James Wingert

ryan.nino303
ryan.nino303

I hate it when people that have a lot going for them kill themselves. I don't know what she was looking for but she was pretty privileged to have traveled the world. I wish I could have that opportunity. But who knows. We don't know what she was going through personally. Maybe her marriage sucked. Maybe she just wasn't happy. Maybe she had an untreated psychological disorder. I don't know. But I do agree that it is selfish. I also agree with Kevin Austin that someone who kills themselves should not be honored unless it is doing something courageous or honorable. Suicide is cowardly. Life is tough for most of us at one time or another and sometimes it sucks and its easy to give up. To quit. Since when do quitters get a 5k and balloons? Now if there was foul play, and she didn't kill herself I hope the person who did it dies a thousand deaths for making this woman look like she killed herself.


My roommate a few years ago hung himself and he had a 6 figure job at 24 years old. Had shares with a startup that would make him a millionaire when it went public. And he killed himself over a woman. If death had hindsight I'm sure he would think he made a stupid decision.


A friend of mine died of breast cancer leaving behind a husband and daughter at 30. This was a couple months ago and she fought till the end. That is honorable. We should have a 5k for her.

Stampece
Stampece

This seems odd to me. She leaves the house and her body is hanging from a tree for weeks a few blocks away, but no one saw it? People have been repeating the notion that "adjusting" to coming home after a long trip abroad was difficult for her. Why? In what way? I've never heard of that before, ever. She hadn't been in combat. Apparently her travels had gone well. Closing the case so quickly seems premature. Very strange.

M Tasha Logan
M Tasha Logan

I don't believe this was a suicide and should be investigated more... Wouldn't the owners have noticed a body hanging from a tree over the course of 3 weeks???? Very suspicious.

Kevin Austin
Kevin Austin

Jewels I understand you are hurting but lashing out at me won't help. I'm just speaking the truth. The same truth I said 7 yrs ago when I experienced it. You wanna honor her, then help people like her. Take all that energy, time, money, and donate it to the suicide hotline. Better yet call all your friend and checkup on them. Colorado is one of the leading suicide states in the country. What message are you sending with a 5k? Kill yourself and get a memorial run? Why not a parade. You honor her at her wake. She CHOSE to end her life, it wasn't an illness or an accident or in battle. You "honor" those that die honorably! I feel sad for another human loss. The grief her family and poor husband must feel is overwhelming. But the truth is simple, she had everything to live for and threw it away. Those homeless people that haven't given up deserve a 5k more than she OR my brother do. You don't have to like or agree because its MY opinion. Time heals all wounds, this I know. I forgive my brother but the kids and family he left to deal with his decision deserved more.

Joe Ponce de Carrano
Joe Ponce de Carrano

I agree this is sad. However, is it culture shock or a person who realizes that the fun is over and time to be an adult and go to work? This is terribly depressing. Happens to vets too. Time to play robot in society. So sad

Jewels Gray
Jewels Gray

Yes, we are honoring our friend in a way that we all remember and love her. Sorry your brother did that and that you had to deal with it. You, more than anyone should understand what we (her friends and family) are having to deal with and your comments and opinion here doesn't help. Instead of spreading your negativity, why don't YOU do something to honor your brother or the homeless population you're so passionate about??!!

Kevin Austin
Kevin Austin

They want to honor a woman who had everything and look down on the homeless. Denver really is confused. And before you reply, my brother killed himself so I know what a cowardly act she committed. The survivors are the ones that have to deal with her choice and you people want to have a memorial run in her honor??? Have a run to help the homeless, this makes me sick.

Sean Reed
Sean Reed

Isn't hanging yourself a rather difficult way of suicide? I think they should investigate this more.

Brenda Weston
Brenda Weston

Just because someone is found that way doesn't mean it was a suicide. But maybe there is other evidence to prove it that they are not telling.

Justine Espino
Justine Espino

Wow, that's sad. My condolences to her loved ones.

Erica Eyer
Erica Eyer

very sad and a tragic loss indeed; however, what a selfish way to go and torture a nation, family, husband...makes me wonder if I am more mad or sad

Jay Baca
Jay Baca

I am no expert and I will never know why that gun misfired or all the other friends who gave hints to their final act prior to my own," preoccupied" fast act of hopelessness- I can say- what is at hand is what you go for and rehearsing the act goes unnoticed by all. I am sorry but no way in hell do I believe that during the contemplation process a rope is involved, I am not saying that it's not a possibility ( thank you dad) because of my," rehearsals" when I was young and giving up" Something saved me and said- I am worthy of life; No longer should I trouble my mind with death or the longing to be with that loved one who you loved so much that you lost focus of the life's that love you and that without no doubt and a 100% certainty your going to leave life anyway when your gig is up," The Gift of Life We All Know Also Includes A Last Chapter" I am a life and I preserve my life with all good because that gun misfired and I tried again later on ( other way) and did die for long enough to know......By The Grace of My God- Little girls were born- Now I ask my God to let me live as close to forever as possibly. They say their is no answer to suicide, they think themselves into a corner with all that " Expensive Education" always and I mean always remember this- If you don't water the plant and talk to it so it knows that it is loved it will eventually die like all things neglected. Again I am sorry but hanging takes to much time and it hurts bad- real suicide happens by guns,pills,beliefs of religion and using police as your contemplation. Make no mistake it is premeditated and takes a lot of confused courage and time unnoticed by all even with the clues the " Brain People" Say happens that more than likely don't with ADULTS ( It may even be a rational choice by situation by not wanting to suffer from something that all hope has expired ( disease) a personal life choice that no other life can control. Teens- a long hard topic that is better served by involvement other than the internet .It would be an extreme exception for any soul after rehearsing and contemplation. I don't believe it at all in this case at all to do it like that takes to much process while your

Nikki Olszewski
Nikki Olszewski

Its so sad to be that lost and feel you only have one choice. I send my deepest regards to her family & friends. Her family are in my prayers..

Chris Denny
Chris Denny

I only met Leanne a handful of times, but I've known Josh for years. Truly a great person with an amazing soul. Thoughts and prayers are with her family during this time of reflection and grief.

Rita Cohen
Rita Cohen

Super sad. Culture shock coming back from a trip like that can easily dip into depression...happened to me a few years ago.

thisisit1
thisisit1

I followed this story from the beginning. I'm very sad about how this all ended. I feel so sorry for those left behind. I hope she found the peace she needed. I don't want this to sound as bad as I think it will...  Balloons releases can be so damaging to the ecosystem. What about a lantern release? That would be so pretty. I just do not see someone that had a love for this world, a love that was so intense that she traveled the way she did, wanting to damage the ecosystem. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

That's rare -- women don't often opt for hanging as a method of suicide.


but ... having to return to Texas after traveling the whole world for years would make many people suicidal.


"The pressure of transitioning from her two-year trip back into what we consider 'normal' life seems to have left her very anxious and stressed," family said."


ryan.nino303
ryan.nino303

@jameswingert  You seriously tried to write a facetious response to my post? Hahaha! Dude, you are a psycho. You're post is so off the wall and James Holmsey. You wrote your post like you knew her because you read an article. You even created a scenario of her thoughts!!! Not to mention you signed it "Sincerely"! I feel sorry for your neighbors, wierdo.

jameswingert
jameswingert

@ryan.nino303 Yes.  Those "untreated psychological disorder(s)" are so selfish.  How dare they march around untreated.  I'm with you dingle, deaths from cancer are WAY more noble than other kinds.

diogenesel
diogenesel

She came back to the states to return to the corporate rat race or mcjob. The monochromatic day to day grind just was too much for her to readjust to after two years out and about carefree in the technicolor of international travel.

Body wasnt found because it was concealed deep in brush in rugged terrain. Older property owner didn't get back there that often. Search and rescue messed up by assuming the quadrant had already been searched by family members.

Carpe_Noctis
Carpe_Noctis

@Stampece  it was SUICIDE...everyone around her had alibis and were reportedly ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in the search for her. The timing lines up, and no one else in that area had motive. The Husband was with  Relatives during the timeline of her disappearance and displayed no indicators of foul play.


It isn't uncommon  knowledge (for anyone who's read basic psychology)  that many people who leave home,and spend years abroad, will have adjustment issues when returning..It's called ADJUSTMENT DISORDER..there are various triggers involved in it's symptomology. (the inability to cope with Life Changes being on of them...and her situation would certainly apply.)


People in their zeal to find something uncanny, or profound in everything most often tend to favor the fantastic over the PROBABLE.


(arthur conan doyle.)


ryan.nino303
ryan.nino303

@jameswingert @ryan.nino303  KIlling yourself for ANY reason is selfish. And honestly if you kill yourself, you are a weak individual. Yes I said it. Dying from cancer is not noble. Dying in itself is just dying. Everybody dies. But how you let it effect you is what makes it noble or brave. If you give up that's fine. Its that persons choice. But it isn't courageous. Anyways, since I have to explain it to you like a 5 year old...A psychological disorder is NOT selfish. Killing yourself self is. There are tons of resources for people with suicide issues so there are really no excuses.

FreeTheWeed
FreeTheWeed

@icknast whines the anonymous coward.

IckNast
IckNast

@DonkeyHotay Troll = Sad, pathetic waste of oxygen who hides behind his anonymity, and whose only joy in life comes from the misery of others. I absolutely can't wait until your identity is publicly revealed; the shame, embarrassment, regret, and humiliation you will feel!

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