Once a fighter, always a fighter. Former pro boxer Mia St. John has been living a nightmare after losing her son Julian St. John on November 23, 2014, when he took his own life while at a facility owned by Telecare Mental Health Corporation.
Julian St. John, 24 at the time, was placed at Telecare’s La Casa Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Long Beach, California on an involuntary psychiatric hold in September of 2014.
"Julian had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 17 years old and had become suicidal while off his medication and on a powerful substance-meth,” the grieving mother wrote on a Change.org site about her son, who was a talented artist well-respected in his community. (Julian had started the Stone Art program to inspire healing, growth and learning for young adults)
St. John was assured by La Casa that her son would be checked on every 15 minutes while there, yet Julian had escaped the facility by climbing a fence.
“Julian was missing for several hours before police found him at a bus stop," St. John says.
Julian attempted suicide shortly after he was brought back to La Casa, but his roommate had alerted the staff.
Two weeks later, St. John received the tragic news that her son had taken his life.
Now St. John, 49, and Julian’s father, actor Kristoff St. John, are going head-to-head against Telecare Corporation with the help of high-power attorney Mark Geragos, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against La Casa.
"We believe we now have fully developed evidence that will prove the neglect by Telecare that led to Julian's death," Gergaros explains to Us Weekly. "We believe a jury will be as appalled as we are about the actions in this case."
The trial, which was postponed in November of last year, is due to begin in May of this year.
Us obtained documents from the Department of Healthcare Services determining that the corporation did, indeed, fail to do the 15-minute checks on Julian. St. John also wrote on her site that the staff waited 17 minutes to call 911 after finding him.
A rep from Telecare tells Us that La Casa is cooperating with the Department of Health Care’s requests: “The California State Department of Health Care Services transmitted a letter to La Casa on 1/13/17 as part of an inquiry into certain past events at La Casa. La Casa is cooperating fully with this inquiry and intends to respond promptly to specific DHCS requests noted in the letter. Due to the presence of ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
Duncan Richardson, St. John’s brother and Julian’s uncle, says that the family remains hopeful.
"We look forward to the upcoming trial on May 23rd. We want change, reform in our mental health system. We are very hopeful that justice will prevail,” Richardson tells Us. "Our family will continue to fight for better care for all those who have these horrific illnesses."