Jeff Ahlers' Death Ruled Suicide -- Eight Months Later

Categories: Bad Cops
ahlerspic.jpg
The death of Jeff Ahlers was reportedly a suicide.
Frequent New Times readers know that we've spent a good part of the last eight months covering the mysterious death of Jeff Ahlers, a Tempe man whose bullet-riddled body was pulled from a canal last June.

It turns out, the death has now been ruled a suicide, according to the Tempe Police Department, the cop shop we've spent the last eight months hounding to get more information on Ahlers and the piss-poor investigation into his death.

Ahlers was reported missing on June 1, of last year. His body was found a few days later, on June 3, in a canal that runs through Kiwanis Park in Tempe, killed by an apparent gunshot wound.

Tempe police wouldn't say whether a gun was found at the scene, which there was -- it just took them six months to find it (and they weren't even the ones who found it, more on that later).

With no gun initially found at the scene, it seemed to suggest that Ahlers was murdered. In other words, guns don't just get up and walk away. Meanwhile, the TPD suggested the death was a suicide -- even though no gun had been recovered.

With the body of a man police believed killed himself found in a canal, you'd think the TPD, at some point early in the investigation, would say "shucks...maybe a good place to look for the gun would be the bottom of the canal in which we found the body."

You'd be wrong.

Despite several suggestions from New Times (in the form of the question "hey, have you looked in the canal yet?"), it took the Tempe Police Department six months to even bother to search the canal. And they're not even the ones who found the gun.

In early December, after our continuous nagging, the Tempe Police Department drained the section of the canal where Ahlers' body was found.

A few days after the canal was drained, we got a call from a guy who only wanted to be identified as Jerry, and guess what Jerry found on the drained canal bed about 100 yards upstream from where Ahlers' body was found -- a gun. He even took us to the spot where he found it.

Jerry found the gun before the cops because even after the canal was drained, it seems investigators put off looking for it.

Workers at a nearby power generating station told us they weren't allowed to work on an area of the canal -- roughly, a mile-and-a-half stretch from Guadalupe to Baseline Roads -- the week before the gun was found because the TPD "planned" to search the canal bed for evidence. Luckily it was Jerry who beat the cops to the gun as they delayed their search of the canal, and not a child or a criminal. 

Now, eight months later, about two months after the discovery of the gun, it's been determined that Ahlers committed suicide -- information the public, and more importantly Ahlers' family and friends, probably would have known seven months ago if the Tempe Police Department had done its job.
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25 comments
A.A.
A.A.

One other thing i know for a fact is this.   Jeff was jogging that morning.  His ipod and wallet were missing.  And where he was shot was the back of the head and the angle couldn't have been self inflicted.  So as for the "fellow worker" who keeps beliieving this was a suicide.  It wasn't.  And the way you are pushing it that way, it sounds to me like you might not be a witness at all but someone who is disguising himself as a witness.

A.A.
A.A.

I studied with Duane Ahlers for about 2 years before i was baptized.  I remember the night the found Jeff and Duane and Mike left the Kingdom Hall.  I wanted so much to just go up and hug him and tell him how sorry i was.  He was there for me when my dad died 2 months earlier.  The whole Ahlers family are the epitome of what good witnesses should be like.  They have helped me countless times and i can never truly repay them for what they have done to help me.  I only got to meet Jeff once but i know the family and can tell you there's no way Jeff killed himself.  It sounds alot like the police are trying to cover this up because he was a witness.  

I remember one of the questions Duane asked was how could Jeff shoot himself, and then throw the gun away and then throw himself into the canal afterwards.  It's impossible.  So why aren't the police really trying to find his killer?  Im dumbfounded about how the police could act this way in this country.  

YTF
YTF

I have just read all 20 comments, I would like to say a few words if I may, Jeff and Kim I know when they were both in Patterson Bethel, N.Y. I know for sure Jeff would never bye, or own a gun, He DID NOT take his own life. He and his wife loved life. and shared it with others. To the comments about what the papers said, they will print anything just to sell them or they will go out of bussiness. Let the truth be known, we who loved Jeff and Kim, know we will see Jeff again soon, then we can put all of this behind us, till then please keep Jeff's family and friends, but espically his dear wife Kim in our prayers.

Wyldstalion
Wyldstalion

"the facts" were a three sentence statement from an unreliable sorce that was told to close the story by the lazy fuzz that cant keep aliens from invading and commiting stupid crimes. prove he bought the gun. And WHO doesnt need to be treated for some mental conditions???? show me a person that doesnt and ill show you a person who is most likely dead. no pun intended. now drop it and let me sleep.

B.A.
B.A.

Let me just state I knew Jeffery only through the friends and family of the Ahlers. Being new to the truth and the Ahlers family myself, I can not possibly think that Jeffery would commit suicide. However, it does not matter what any of us think. From the beginning there has only been one being that knows everything. He does not think like man thinks. We were never ment to know everything. As far as this matter is concerned, I hope I never have to know all the details. The only peace I find in all of this is, that he does not have to suffer as the living do in this system of things. I believe that whatever happened was what we refer to as, unforeseen circumstances. No matter what it is though, Jeffery was a man well loved. I'm thankful he can not see how things have unfolded. I can only speak of the members of the family i do know, and as they continue to mourn his loss, the best comfort I have found is in the scriptures and at the kingdom hall. Talking helps too, when it is in a possitive light. It is my hope that in the new system, I will get to meet Jeffery, and that none of this will matter because none of us will remember, or care because what was fortold will come about.

Cte
Cte

Fellow worker...you do realize that is copyrighted information don't you? Don't try to placate my with the publications that I well know. My anger is not related to the death of my friend, although the news is and has been saddening to me. My anger is toward some ignorant twit that doesn't realize that his insensitive comments about a very delicate subject continue to anger and insult the people who truly care about these individuals. (Proverbs 12:23) My only regret is that I have been drawn into a war of words with an ignorant individual, and in doing so, I feel as if my intelligence has somehow been drained by wasting my time trying to help you to see that you are completely obnoxious(Prov 13:20). I don't care who you are...be it a member of the Branch or GB...you have crossed the line of decency (incidentally, I am quite confident that you are neither, rather you are probably somebody that the boot out of Bethel for you lack on initiative and work ethic). Thank you for all of the "truths" you have helped us to see, they have enabled us to "heal" so easily. (Proverbs 15:2) Now please go away and find somebody else to haunt with you idiotic ramblings. (Proverbs 15:7) Nobody appreciates a sore winner...and the way that you have been disgracefully handling this situation is really sickening to me. (Eccl 7:4) It is quite "obvious" how much you "loved and cared for Jeff and Kim"....You are a narcissistic fool and yes...I am insulted by your presence...and for that I am the stupid one. (eccl 7:9) I am going to try and pretend that you were somebody that I never met, but unfortunately, that is probably not the case because I think I know who you are (JB, LS, DA, DJ?) I will pretend that I don't know you though, so I don't grow to dislike you even more than I already do at this point. No wonder we are warned against getting involved in this type of "entertainment"...you never can be sure who you are dealing with. (Psalm 26:4). With all of that said...I am sure that you...being the "spiritual man" that you are, will probably need to get the "last word", so I will bow out gracefully fully confident that you are some kind of sociopath that takes enjoyment in making others miserable. Maybe you should join the Westboro Baptist Church and go protest some funerals...that seems right up your alley. I hope and pray that someday you will wake up to your ignorance and realize the error of your ways. Until then...2 John 10,11

Chris Ahlers
Chris Ahlers

'fellow worker' Why dont you put to practice what you teach. judgement is saved for jehovah not your nancy drew wanna be self. If I knew who you were, I would love to meet face to face so I could slap that smug remark about my aunt 'knowing all along' right off it. What piece of the puzzle that she needed are you referring to??? The one where some fat lazy fuzz decided it was too much trouble to do some actual investigation??? why dont you just focus on doing what it is you do and stop makin yourself look like a former president. to everyone that has been supportive and kind, thank you.

Chris Ahlers
Chris Ahlers

WOW. It amazes me that the cops are so inept that the whole investigation was botched. My uncle did not kill himself and I believe that my aunt never suspected he did. Of the 4 people that I knew and loved that died in the last year, Jeffs was the most mysterious and STILL unsolved in my book. He had no gun. A man that wants to end it puts it in the head, not the 'body' and anyone that has thought abought it knows Im right. This was a crime that the Tempe police and the Arizona government doesnt want to dive into because they know the illegal aliens issue is to blame. Some poor mex from across the border needed an id and knew that people walk alone in the hours that make perfect crimes. I have way too much to say about this and way too much anger to continue but I know that those that really, REALLY knew him, know he didnt shoot himself. I dare anyone to say differently to my face. Quit putting up stupid comments that dont mean spit to his family and friends.

Jabba
Jabba

In a perfect world I'm sure there would be 1,000 cops per investigation that needed to be done. Of course not a 1,000 cops on any investigation involving most of the commenters or the reporters here but 1,000 cops to investigate any case they think is worthy. Did anyone actually look into how many cops / detectives worked on this case in the first place? I know it isn't 1,000 but did they blow it off like this article makes it appear?

Maybe they came to a conclusion it was suicide because of circumstances that weren't released? Someone commentd above if the guy owned a gun? Did he? Was that released or was there a statement for sure saying he didn't own a gun? How much would the public or press rag on them if they said it was suicide but the coroner said it was murder? Maybe they waited until the coroner's report was done. Was any of this checked / reported on for this story?

What is the process for looking through the canal? Is there so much crap in there it can't be done without being drained? Does draining it cause water not to be delivered to certain areas of the town or downstream? If the cops thought it was suicide in the first place was it worth it to cause water disruption to homeowners / customers down stream? Did the time of year have anything to do with it? Water seems a little more important in the summer timethen the winter.

It sounds like the canal was drained for some other reason then the cops request. I find it hard to believe the cops asked for the canal to be drained and then didn't go out there to look. More likely the canal was drained and the cops weren't told or were told it would be completely drained Friday when it was emptied on Monday type thing. Even Townlake took days to drain but you could see the bottom before it was done.

I may sound like I love the cops here but seriously this article is written like they were completely wrong and did everything on purpose to cause harm to the guys family. I'm sure the same type of article would have been written if the canal was drained months ago...why does south tempe have their water cut off for two days so cops can unnecessarily find a gun of an obvious suicide?

Kinnyc
Kinnyc

Does anyone find it strange that the gun was found UPSTREAM? Does the water flow both ways in the canal??

LaCoqui22
LaCoqui22

Thanks again Mr. King....it is truly sad to hear. 8 months, WOW, I'm sure "Jerry" is a hero to the Ahler family. Nice work "Jerry".....remind me not to visit Tempe. Hate to have something happen there....

Fellow Worker
Fellow Worker

Even though this result is not entirely unexpected, it is still very sad to hear. I know Kim had this figured out months ago. I wish her all comfort.

botanybay
botanybay

More importantly, why did it take them so long to search the canal AFTER it had been so obviously (and publicly) pointed-out in the media? Biting their nose to spite their face?

Tpdret
Tpdret

Why did it take Tempe police six months to drain the canal? Why did it take Tempe police six months to find the gun? Why did Tempe police let the Ahler's family agonize for so long?Shitty and uncaring police work by Tempe police.

Fellow Worker
Fellow Worker

http://www.usatoday.com/news/n...

"Tempe police say Ahlers purchased a gun that was discovered in the canal in November. Authorities concluded he shot himself in the head and fell into the canal.

A report from the Arizona Medical Examiner concluded that the case is a suicide.

The Arizona Republic says Ahlers had been treated for anxiety and depression and had stopped taking medications about a year before he walked away from his home on June 1."

Again I am sorry for your loss. I know this is a very sad thing to deal with and can cause much anger. My prayers are with you and your family. As a lover off truth it is good that the facts have come out and ones who know them no longer need to keep things to themselves. Now that this matter is concluded hopefully the healing can began - John 8:32

Cte
Cte

Chris,I was a friend of Jeff and Kims, was at his funeral in Tempee, and have on many occasions echoed your thoughts. I truly feel for you and your family, especially Kim. Those of us that" truly" knew Jeff already know the" truth" about this. I am not sure why certain ones (FB) are so quick to agree and state that "Kim has known it for months now". To me that is an insensitive, presumptious statement. Please know that you and your family have been and continue to be in our prayers. A comforting thought to me is that Jehovah is a lover of justice, and He will eventually right this terrible wrong. Again, my condolences...it was bad enough to lose him...now this added slap to the face for all who loved him...plain terrible...coupled with some of his" friends" posting insensitive comments. FB...you should be real proud...you got the" inside scoop". Nice work! Maybe you should leave Bethel and become a reporter.

Fellow Worker
Fellow Worker

No, it doesn't seem odd that it would be upstream. He would have floated farther than the gun. It would been odd if metal floated farther than a person with air in them - ie downstream.

Cte
Cte

Fellow Bethelite...Do you know for a fact? BTW where did Jeff get the gun? Any records of him buying one? I am sorry, as the writer of this article so bluntly pointed out, the police obviously did not put too much time and effort into this case. Their halfhearted investigation leaves much to be desired and even more to be answered. There is still so many inconsistencies to this story. Fellow worker...I am pretty sure that I know who you are, and based on your various comments (I assume, beginning with the post under the name "Fellow Bethelite" 7 months ago) since this story posted, it sadly it seems as if you somehow WANTED it to be a suicide rather than a murder for some strange reason. Ever the cynic, I still in my heart of hearts can not, nor will I bring myself to believe that Jeff could have done this to himself...not at least the way that the evidence was provided to me. Too many holes in the story. Jeff was a lot of things, but calculated to the degree that he would secretly buy a gun (Without the authorities knowing about it no less, or perhaps we should assume that his ties to the black market were strong enough that he could buy an illegal one off the streets), not leave his wife a note, walk to the edge of a canal and off himself in a way that his body would fall in the canal along with the gun...Sorry...not buying it.

LaCoqui22
LaCoqui22

All of us wish Kim comfort as well..........

Cte
Cte

You know fellow worker...you are a real putz. What is wrong with you? You are like the person that loves to spread bad news."Have you heard about so and so...well let me tell you..." I am sure that you are real proud of yourself. Thanks for all your hard work. Do all of us that actually loved Jeff and Kim a favor and stop being such a smug, arrogant fool. Whether the report in the USA today is true or not, I will not try to argue...I have my beliefs on this subject, and an article in the newspaper will not change them. I am entitled to that whether you like it or not. The thing that is so bothersome though is that it seems like somehow you got some cheap thrills on being on the "inside track.", and knowing the "Facts". Your lack of discernment is astounding. If you actually had a brain in your head, you would have left well enough alone...but obviously that wouldn't suffice for you would it? Well, now that your only "friend" has apparently killed himself what will you do now? It's obvious that you are a lonely miserable person, that seems to enjoy the fact that others may be as miserable as you! Stop trying to make us miserable, and leave us with the memories that we have, and stop trying to be such a know it all. And stop quoting scripture to "prove your point" Even Satan misapplied scripture to try to prove his point. That is not a proper application of that scripture boss...How will knowing the truth "set us free" in this case. You really need to get your head checked. You are a sick man....Do us all a favor and crawl back under the rock from which you came...and if you are still fortunate enough to be serving in Bethel, do us all a favor and resign, and save me from feeling like I am wasting my hard earned money that I put in the contribution box.

Fellow Worker
Fellow Worker

Cte - I am sorry for your pain. I too am sad that this happened. I never wanted him to be dead in the first place. As to your questions, how do you know there wasn't records or a note? As I said earlier - Kim had this figured out months ago. They just needed the last piece to be sure. There is no reason for her to talk about any of this.

Again, I am very sad about this - especially for Kim and his family. All of them are lovely people.

Fellow Worker
Fellow Worker

I am sorry for your pain and it was never my intent to make anyone miserable. Please except my apologies. I was hoping that having the facts would bring closure and help with the grieving process. Jeff was a wonderful person and this does not negate that. I, like you, look forward to seeing his smiling face again.

The following has helped me, I hope it does you - "Do you also feel rather angry, perhaps at doctors, nurses, friends, or even the one who died? Realize that this too is a common reaction to loss. Perhaps your anger is the natural accompaniment of the hurt you feel. One writer said: “Only by becoming aware of the anger—not acting on it but knowing you feel it—can you be free of its destructive effect.”It may also help to express or share the anger. How? Certainly not in uncontrolled outbursts. The Bible warns that prolonged anger is dangerous. (Proverbs 14:29, 30) But you may find comfort in talking about it with an understanding friend. And some find that vigorous exercise when they are angry is a helpful release.—See also Ephesians 4:25, 26.While it is important to be open and honest about your feelings, a word of caution is in order. There is a big difference between expressing your feelings and dumping them on others. There is no need to blame others for your anger and frustration. So be mindful of talking out your feelings, but not in a hostile way. (Proverbs 18:21) There is one preeminent aid in coping with grief, a relationship with God can help you to cope with the death of someone you love."

Cte
Cte

Well I am sure that you are so confident that you know the "facts". I will continue to believe what I believe. If Kim had "known" this all along, why did it take so long to conclude the investigation? If there were a note, and records of Jeff owning a gun, case could have been closed months ago. I guess it couldn't be possible for the police to be "WRONG" about something...That never happens right? Either way, I am still curious as to why you have...from the beginning, under the post of "fellow bethelite" been so fascinated with the possibility of this being a suicide...you even went as far as to post an article that had nothing to do with Jeff and state..."well looks they are calling this a suicide". Your morbid fascination with the possiblity of Jeff's death being a suicide is disturbing to me. Maybe you should get try a hobby or something. Doesn't Bethel keep you busy enough?

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