Jeremy Delle was born in Murray, Kentucky on February 10, 1975 to Joseph and Wanda Delle.
In 1978, the family moved to Garland, Texas. Two years later, Joseph and Wanda divorced. Jeremy and his sister lived with Wanda.
Jeremy was a talented artist from a young age. He won an art show with a drawing of an elephant at the Texas State Fair at 7 years old. He also enjoyed playing the drums.
Despite his talents, Jeremy had to repeat the 7th grade.
By 1990, Jeremy had a girlfriend named Nancy and was living with Joseph.
When Nancy broke up with Jeremy in April, he attempted suicide by taking pills. He was hospitalized and then sent to Timberlawn psychiatric hospital, an in-patient center in Dallas.
Jeremy was allowed to attend a church retreat in July where he ran into Nancy. He climbed a cliff and threatened to jump off. Counselors were notified. They talked to Jeremy, but did not report the incident to Timberlawn.
After the retreat, Jeremy was allowed to live at home, but had to attend meetings and counseling at Timberlawn.
Shortly after his release, Jeremy drove to Nancy’s house (some reports say he wasn’t allowed to drive, but often stole his father’s car) and threatened to shoot himself. He was sent back to Timberlawn.
There, he met Michelle, another patient, and they began dating.
After about 3 months, Jeremy was released again (it is reported that this was because his insurance had run out). He and Michelle broke up.
In October, Jeremy was enrolled in Richardson High School. The school was notified that he was a previous patient at Timberlawn. Other students and staff would later say this was held against Jeremy by administration.
In his first 2 months at RHS, Jeremy’s locker was searched 3 times. They found several bottles of Whiteout (a substance that, at the time, was used to get high) and a book entitled “Cults that Kill.” They also found a deer leg. There was belief that the leg was used in some kind of cult or satanic worship.
In November, Jeremy was overheard by another student saying that he wanted to shoot himself. She reported this to a school counselor.
In December, Jeremy allegedly threatened two of his teachers. He later said that his statement was taken out of context. He also stole from a cash box at a basketball game. He took less than $50. For this, the items in his locker, his truancy and the suicide threat, he was placed in In School Suspension.
Jeremy was arrested for the theft. Police released him with the advice that Joseph seek counseling for Jeremy. Joseph told police about Jeremy’s history at Timberlawn, but agreed to look into other options.
The school was put on alert by administration that Jeremy was to remain in ISS until he was admitted for treatment. It was also advised that they “pat him down occasionally.”
Shortly after Christmas, Jeremy told his ex-girlfriend, Michelle, that he had received a gun. He had not.
On January 6, 1991, Michelle called Jeremy to tell him that she was pregnant. She informed him that the child was not his, but 15 year old Jeremy offered to raise the child with Michelle. He told her that he would “die for” her.
Concerned, Michelle called Wanda. Michelle later told police that she didn’t feel like Wanda was sufficiently worried about the conversation.
The next day, Jeremy had a counseling session and then walked to Joseph’s girlfriend’s house. Both Joseph and his girlfriend had to work late and they arranged for Jeremy to enter the house through an unlocked door. Jeremy paged his dad to tell him that he had arrived.
It is believed that Jeremy stole a gun from the girlfriend’s bedroom before Joseph picked him up that evening.
On January 8, Jeremy called Nancy before leaving for school. He told her that he and his father were moving away that day.
He asked Nancy to wait for him. She said that she would. Nancy later told police that it was the most at peace she had ever heard Jeremy sound.
Jeremy was late to school that morning. Instead of going to ISS, he went to the commons area where he saw two girls that he knew. He gave one a letter and a ring (stolen from his father’s girlfriend) in an envelope addressed to Nancy. He asked her to mail it for him because he wouldn’t be around after school that day.
Jeremy then went to his English class. He hadn’t been to class in weeks because he had been in ISS. The teacher asked him to get a pass from the office saying he had been re-admitted to his regular classes.
He left the classroom, went to his locker, and then returned to the room. There are varying reports on what Jeremy said when he re-entered the room, but it sounded like, “Miss, this is what I went for.”
Jeremy pulled out a gun, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. There were approximately 30 other students in the room. His autopsy would later show that even though Jeremy was a frequent user of drugs such as marijuana and acid, there were no drugs in his system at the time of his suicide.
A student ushered his teacher and the other students from the classroom into the auditorium where they stayed for the rest of the day. Other students were held in their classrooms for 2 hours. A team of counselors was sent to the school to talk to students who were encouraged to stay on campus. Only those that were too distressed to stay called their parents and left the building.
Eddie Vedder saw an article about Jeremy’s suicide in the paper and was inspired to write the song “Jeremy” for his band, Pearl Jam. The song was featured on their debut album, “Ten.” The song was a huge success.
The video features a boy, who is clearly disturbed, standing wrapped in a flag in front of a huge fire. The student enters his classroom (with no shirt on, for some reason) and it is insinuated that he shoots himself in front of his shocked schoolmates.
Eddie said that he took inspiration from the short article about Jeremy he read in the paper and a boy that he went to school with that shot a fish tank in a science classroom. Eddie had gotten into a fist fight with that student a week before the incident.
Wanda spoke out about the attention the song brought to their family. She was upset at the portrayal of her son in the song. She said that Jeremy was more than just his death. She wanted the world to know that he was artistic and bright.
The article that inspired the song “Jeremy” can be found here:
The music video for the song “Jeremy” can be found here:
The actor from the “Jeremy” video, Trevor Wilson, went on to work for the United Nations. He drowned in Puerto Rico in 2016.
A video summary of this week’s post can be found here: