Brandon Grossheim is a former fraternity brother accused of encouraging five people to commit suicide within one school year at Truman State University. Parents of two students are suing Grossheim, the Kirsksville, Missouri university and the fraternity, Alpha Kappa Lambda or AKL.
The parents of Alex Mullins, 21, and Joshua Thomas, 18, allege Grossheim provided their son’s with “step-by-step” instructions on how to commit suicide. Grossheim, who is 22, was one of the last people to see their sons alive. He was found in the area of their bodies, the lawsuit claimed. The lawsuit was largely based on police reports following the deaths.
The deaths occurred within the 2016-2017 school year.
The lawsuit claims three other people, who were not named in the lawsuit, also died by suicide because of Grossheim’s encouragement. Each of the five people were friends with Grossheim. Three were members of his fraternity. Four of the people expressed suicidal thoughts and had depression. They each died in a similar way. The death of the fifth person, who was a woman in her twenties, remains under investigation.
Grossheim told people he considered himself a “superhero” who was drawn to people with depression and offered them counseling.
Grossheim’s alleged actions after one of the deaths drew concerns from other AKL fraternity brothers. After one of the men died, he began wearing the man’s clothes and dating his girlfriend. He was also seen with a large quantity of drugs and some cash that had gone missing from one of the men’s rooms, the lawsuit said.
Grossheim is not facing criminal charges related to the suicides.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Brandon Grossheim is Being Sued, Along With Truman State University & Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity
The parents of two of the victims, Alex Mullins and Joshua Thomas, are suing Brandon Grossheim, saying he encouraged their sons to commit suicide. Truman State University and Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity were also named in the lawsuit.
Mullins died at age 21 and Thomas died at age 18. Both men were found dead in the AKL fraternity house.
A police investigation revealed Grossheim was the last person to see each of the men alive and had access to their rooms with keys. The suit alleges Grossheim encouraged suicides of three other people. In two of the cases, the men died in a similar manner to Mullins and Thomas. The third case involved the death of a young woman, which remains under investigation.
Grossheim attended Truman State University in 2016 but withdrew in December of that year, according to Buzzfeed News. He lives in Illinois, according to his Facebook page.
2. Brandon Grossheim Is Accused of Encouraging Five People to Commit Suicide
The lawsuit alleges Brandon Grossheim encouraged five people to commit suicide during the 2016-2017 school year at Truman State University. The parents of Alex Mullins, 21, and Joshua Thomas, 18, filed the lawsuit. The suit claims Grossheim was involved in three other suicides. Each of those people were in Grossheim’s social circles. The fifth death remains under investigations.
Mullins and Thomas were members of AKL fraternity, along with Grossheim. Both Mullins and Thomas were found dead in the fraternity house.
The AKL fraternity chapter posted a memorial to Mullins on Facebook after his death.
“Yesterday we all said goodbye to one of the hardest working men to ever walk into the doors of our house and into our hearts,” the fraternity chapter wrote on Facebook. “Although gone, Alex Mullins is a friend, a son, and most of all an incredible brother. Wherever he went he brought smiles and good times with him, whether that be in Kansas City, Kirksville, or while on a run to deliver Chinese food to some lucky soul that has no idea the incredible man they are about to meet. He can never be replaced and we pray that he has found peace in the afterlife. In times of mourning, when we have lost and find ourselves lost, we must look to others to find the strength that we don’t have within ourselves. We love Alex, and will never forget all you have done for us. Rest in peace brother, you will truly be missed.”
Grossheim had keys to the apartments of the four men, the lawsuit says.
3. The Lawsuit Alleges Brandon Grossheim Had ‘A Fascination With Death
Fraternity brothers told police Grossheim had “a fascination with death,” according to the lawsuit. They became concerned after one of the suicides, and made a report to police. Grossheim had started to wear the victims clothing and started dating the man’s girlfriend, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also claimed Grossheim was found with drugs and money that were missing from one of the men’s rooms after his death.
4. Brandon Grossheim Saw Himself As a ‘Superhero’ Who Counseled Depressed People
The lawsuit alleged Brandon Grossheim told people he was a “peacemaker” and considered himself a superhero. He was drawn to people with depression and gave them “step-by-step” instructions on how to deal with the mental illness and “do their own free will,” the lawsuit said.
Grossheim had access to at least four of the five victims. The fifth victim was in Grossheim’s social circles, the suit said.
5. Brandon Grossheim Posted a Memorial to At Least One of the Men Named in the Lawsuit as a Victim
Brandon Grossheim posted a memorial on Facebook to Joshua Michael Thomas. Thomas’ parents filed a lawsuit against Grossheim, the university and the fraternity, alleging he provided their son with step-by-step instructions on how to commit suicide. The lawsuit was filed jointly between Thomas’ parents and the parents of Alex Mullins. Mullins’ parents also allege Grossheim encouraged their son’s suicide.
Grossheim wrote on Facebook he was “so glad to be working with” Thomas and that it gave them “more time to hang out.” He wrote that he often told Thomas he loved him, and that Thomas knew he meant it.
“I love you, bud,” Grossheim wrote on Facebook. “I know I told you that a lot, and it made me happy to know that you knew I meant it. We’ve been through a lot, together, and we grew very close. It really upsets me to lose you. I was so glad to be working with you, because it’d give us more time to hang out. I’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know. I hope that you are in a better place, now, and that you’ve found a peace of mind. Again, I love you.”
Shortly before that post, he asked someone to give him a ride to the funeral. He later asked to borrow a car, promising to return it with a full tank of gas.
Grossheim wrote a memorial to another friend on that person’s birthday. It was unclear if that person was one of the unnamed victims in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges Grossheim encouraged three other people to commit suicide, who were not identified in the suit.