Missing VCU student's family believes he committed suicide

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The mother of missing VCU British exchange student Jonathan Dorey believes her son took his own life. Six months have passed since Dorey went missing.

Some of his belongings were found near the James River, but no sign of his body. Debbie Dorey told me in an email what was also found with her son's belongings.

It was on March 2, surveillance cameras captured Dorey leaving his dorm on his bike. His mother revealed what her son may have been going through in the months leading up to his disappearance.

His disappearance is a mystery and it led to several unsuccessful searches on the James. But in the last six months, Jonny Dorey's mother said she uncovered troubling words left behind by her son in a letter and diary.

In an email, Debbie Dorey opened up about her 22-year-old son. She wrote, "Jonny was terribly unhappy and never satisfied with the choices he'd made, always thinking he could have done better, in his own words he found it hard being human."

Debbie thinks her son suffered from clinical depression.

Jonny's mother believes depression drove her son to drink a bottle of gin and jump into the James River. She said that liquor bottle was recovered along with his clothes and backpack on the dock near Rocketts Landing.

According to Debbie's email: "From internet sites and writings on Facebook found by the FBI on Jonny's computer, pointed to suicide."

"That's obviously something extremely traumatic that will take a long, long time for them to come to terms with," said VCU student Jake Rosenbaum.

The Dorey family is remembering happier times with Jonny. September 4, they celebrated his life near his home on the island of Guernsey in the UK.

"I think it's awesome the family had a celebration to remember Jon and what an amazing person he was," said VCU student Elizabeth Seidel.

"That family's got to keep moving forward and keep living. He wouldn't want them to just curl up and stop living," said Rosenbaum.

VCU police are still investigating Dorey's disappearance, but declined to comment about what his mother revealed. The Doreys will return to Richmond in two weeks to thank police and Jonny's friends and to make sure there's nothing more that can be done to find him

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