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Suicide Victim: Bird Enthusiast, Kind and Loved By Many

David Epps, 49, committed suicide from a rail near the Sport Chalet on Wednesday, according to officials. His fiancé, Cindy, says they met online and were together for six years.

Like many couples, David B. Epps, 49, and Cindy, 48, had their "spot," and in Laguna Niguel, it was at the "perch," behind the local .

 afternoon. As of late Thursday, friends had set up a makeshift memorial where they left balloons and flowers near the railing.  

The first deputy on the scene attempted CPR, as did paramedics, but Epps was declared dead, O.C. Sheriff's Department Lt. Lloyd Downing said.

But Epps' fiancé, Cindy, said she only wants to remember her love and her "husband" as a person whom she met six years ago online via Myspace. He was born in New York. She is a Sioux City, Iowa native. They relocated to Laguna Niguel about five years ago because both sets of parents lived in Caliornia at the time, she said.

"David was a kind, caring, and compassionate man. He volunteered many hours after Katrina, helping people - That's how he was," she said through tears. "We were together for many years, and we were soul mates. He promised me that we would be together forever, for the rest of our lives. We were not married but we were engaged. Whenever we would meet up, we'd always say, 'see you at the perch.' It's a gathering place for many of the area's homeless."

And while they may not have been married on paper, the couple was "devoted" to one another and shared an area apartment. This is the same apartment that they offered on numerous ocassions to others who needed a place to stay.

Despite reports, Cindy, a full time customer service representative for a discount store, said they were not homeless. However, they did "panhandle on occasion in order to pay for the apartment."

She said Epps would display a sign asking for money near the  a few times a week.

"It's called 'flying;' in other words, holding a sign up and asking for money," she explained. "We did what we had to do to make ends meet and pay for the place. But he promised me that we would never, ever be homeless."

Military Man

Epps may not have been employed at the time of his death, but he did serve in the military in the 1980s, loved birds, and helped others in need, according to several who knew him.

"David was a frequent guest at our 'Hands of Grace'  for the homeless," said local advocate, . "Hands of Grace is an interfaith organization, supported by five local churches. We strive to fill the gaps left by the reduction in services available to the needy. We host a dinner every Wednesday night at . We operate solely on donations. I wish we had been able to see how much pain David was in. I know that we cared about him very much."

According to Knab, over the years Epps had held several jobs in the restaurant industry, and she tried to set up interviews to help him gain employment. However, none ever came to fruition, she said.

Knab said she had talked with Epps a number of times, especially during the annual put on by the church. She said the last time she saw Epps was in June at the most recent cook-out.

Others at the church also knew Epps and spoke fondly of him.

"I knew David and will miss him. He was compassionate and cared about those around him. I'm not sure, however, what's meant by the characterization of transient. It's true that he didn't have a job at the time, but he was not homeless. He lived in an apartment in our community, which he shared with others when they needed a place to stay. Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord: And let light perpetual shine upon him,” said Fr. Kirby Smith. 

Anyone wishing to send notes of condolence to Cindy, can mail them or drop them by at Faith Episcopal Church, 27802 El Lazo, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, Knab said.

"David, your passing leaves a hole in our lives. I hope that you have found peace as you are enveloped in the love of your Creator," Knab said.

Bird Enthusiast

Another friend Craig, who lived in the same complex previously, said he has known the couple for five years, remembers Epps as a: "bird enthusiast and someone who was truly compassionate."

"He knew the name of every kind of bird in the area. He could identify them all," he said. "His favorite was the Red Eye Hawk, but he was not a fan of crows. He never did anything to harm the crows, though. He had his struggles like all of us, but he was a good guy."

Angela, another friend, said she, her husband, and their young son, lived with the couple in the apartment for about six months.

"We were down on our luck and things got bad," she said. "I was on craigslist looking for a room to rent after we had to leave our home in Santa Ana. David was the only one who was OK with taking in a family. He cared for my son like he was his own. He said my baby made him smile and that he was the closest thing to ever having his own child. "

Late Thursday, Knab said that Epps' parents, who are now divorced, expressed their wishes that their son will be cremated. Cindy and Knab said they may organize a memorial or some type of tribute at the church soon.

Nicole August 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
It is sad this man took his life. I am shocked that this women would admit that are NOT homeless, just "flying" to make ends meet and actually have homes. Good people do not ask for other peoples hard earned money - they EARN it. This man is an example of what this complacent lifestyle leads to. If he was so happy, Im sure I would see him on the corner with his siign today. Theses organized beggers, who run shifts together NEED TO GO. I have seen them exchange drugs and have heard conversations among them about "knife fights" over "corners" and "turf". If we stop giving them our money, they will leave.
Karen Quinones August 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
life can and will be difficult at times we need to be compassionate and realize this man was loved. He was someones child,brother,uncle,friend and whatever his situation or position in life was it is a heart breaking sad loss.He is a fellow human being and apparently in much pain.
JV August 03, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Nicole, I agree. I live nearby and often go to this shopping center and often see people begging holding signs asking for money. It truly pisses me off. The same people asking day after day. At some point you have to think...why can't these people find a real job? Why should they be able to take money freely without having to worry about paying taxes like the rest of us? I drove into this shopping center a few months ago and saw a man holding a sign with his teenager daughter! Something needs to be done in this center! It is out of control! Now a man kills himself in plain view of the public? I was shocked to see all the comments being made on OCR! 70% stating how sad it was that this man took his life. Yes, it's sad, but suicide is a truly selfish thing. I also believe I saw this lady comment on the OCR article as well and her comment was odd. Calling him her "husband." Although I am no psychologist, I am quite sure there is a a lot of mental illness that occurs with lifestyles such as these. Who knows what this man witnessed or went through in his life. It's truly sad that he ended his life this way. I have to say, it was a very selfish thing to do...hang yourself when there are other people within plain view. A child could have witnessed him dying. It both saddens and angers me. But I can't believe this lady had the nerve to say they weren't homeless but still begging for money in this shopping center. Seriously?
cindy August 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM
your comment all suck you ever knew my husband he had fright for your freedom
Nicole August 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Cindy - I am sorry for your loss JV- I agree 100%
cindy August 04, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Nicole you ever knew us we ever did drugs your comment is yrue about us
cindy August 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM
jv if someone saw him why did they stop to help him the comment that people are leave on here angers me so much he was my bestfriend&soulmate he fight for are country and are freedom
Dr. August 04, 2012 at 03:06 AM
JV It's obvious you are ignorant and are not a psychologist. People who commit suicide don't have the capacity to comprehend selfishness. Stick to your day job and pull that ignorant stick out of your ass before you comment on someones DEATH. Obviously you have been wearing a diaper your whole life DR. Spoonfed. Please people educate your self. You are just as much a part of the problem NICOLE and JV with your lack of compassion for a man who fought for your freedom. Maybe he was mentally ill from his time in service watching people die for YOUR freedom. Take some action, help someone instead of waisting your time complaining about how you have it sooo tough.
Tony August 04, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Hi Cindy I'm sorry to hear about Dave. I've been meaning to call him since I had not heard from him in a while. I'm writing here because I have no way of contacting you. I only have Dave's cell number. If you have Dave's phone, let me know here and I'll call you. Do not post the number here, I have it. Tony
Trisha Jones August 04, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Cindy, I can't imagine your feeling of loss right now. Please try to take comfort in the fact that not everyone is so judgmental and hateful towards people who suffer from depression, PTSD and other mental illnesses. Regards...
Mitzy Malloy August 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM
JV you epitomize the typical Laguna Niguel mindset. To take a line from the series Suburgatory "bitches backstabbers and botox" Karma sweetie!
Cynthia August 04, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Cindy, So sorry for your loss. JV and Nicole, this man was a veteran. He fought for your right to to be hatefully judgmental. How ironic. He also served his fellow man by taking in others less fortunate than himself, thereby sparing you you of the distasteful experience of having to look at yet another homeless family. What a referendum on our society. Dr. Is right. People who are depressed enough to take their lives are unable to think they are being selfish. Survivors of suicide tell us that they thought they were doing the ultimate compassionate thing for their families by thinking that they are bringing them down and their loved ones would be better off without them. Well Nicole and JV, it looks like you were the in intended beneficiaries of this mans passing. He made sure that you don't have to look at him anymore. How thoughtful of him.
Kathi August 05, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Thank you for this article that brought something of this man to life for us. I live across the way, & drove by later--after 4 pm & saw a uniformed deputy up there w 2 other men holding up a tarp, so I figured there was a body there for some reason. & then I read in the OCR a bit more about it, except they obviously had the location wrong since the back of Costco would be way around the other side. & then you wonder about the person & why they would be hurting so much. & to think that I may have seen him there on the corner previously. Praying for Cindy that she will find comfort in her grief.
Kathi August 05, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Wow, I drive by there all the time & didn't even know there was that walkway & railing there. I don't remember that I saw it when I saw the men holding up the tarp either--they just seemed to be standing on the slope there. So while the OC Sheriff's Dept said it was in plain view of shoppers, it really doesn't seem to be in very plain view. I guess people driving by could see up there if they looked--like I happened to see them w the tarp later that afternoon, but its not really where shoppers are, or generally are looking it doesn't seem. But its always sad when someone apparently doesn't see any hope & so resorts to suicide.
bob August 05, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Cindy-did you ever set foot in an elementary school? Feel your pain, but geez, you're completely illiterate, and how dare you beg for money. You're everything that's wrong with society. Go get an education. You're pathetic.
Nicole August 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM
oh Cynthia give it up. "Hatefully Judgmental"? I am very sorry that I dont like the group of tweeker beggers that are invading our neighborhood. It is an insult to hard working men and women in the service when these people use that as a tool to take advantage of people. Just because you wore fatigues at one point in your life does not give you the right to stop contributing and becoming a drain on society for the REST of your life. Stop with the bleeding hearts and go enjoy your Sunday. Ill be looking for you on the corner Cynthia, your a big talker who needs to go out and help these people. Bring them into your home for a nice hot meal tonight.
SideShow Bob August 06, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Cindy, First let me say, I am sorry for your loss. Any loss of life is tragic and we feel for his survivors. Secondly, let me tell you that I am not happy that you, your boyfriend, and your buddies at the perch are in town. You have a roof over your head, a computer, and an internet connection. These are not the things transients have. You are misleading people and defrauding the goodwill of the people who give to you. It is my belief, that the life you were living was chosen. Flying/Begging is more lucrative than working, and there are no bosses telling you cut your hair or wash your hands. So you stand there and act sad hoping/knowing that someone will be giving you money, so you can keep your internet and cable on. I call BS on the lifestyle. I see a young ( under 40) man standing out there for hours on end. If you are able to stand up for 4-6 hours you are able to work. I have a friend who needs verifiable laborers, meaning he need legal citizens to work. They have stopped and offered several of the beggars near Costco full time work. They were told the job was not wanted, it pays more to beg. SHAMEFUL. I work hard for my money and pay taxes on my income. You expect me to give you my post tax money so you don’t have to work hard. Well trust me that is never going to happen. I pay taxes and I give to the church and to food pantries. You people take that money tax free, you contribute nothing to society, you are a drain, a fraud, and a cheat.
SideShow Bob August 06, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Cindy, Just an idea for you. Pool your beggar money with a couple other ladies, buy some cleaning supplies, and make a post on craigslist for a house cleaning services. I do not believe for a second you can’t find work, I do believe you are too lazy to go out and do it. Also Just because your man was in the military does not mean he fought for my freedom. Maybe he did, but he was not drafted, he joined on his own accord and knew that it paid lifetime medical and he could have used the educational money the military provides, but obviously he made a choice not to do that. @ Cynthia, how much are you willing to pay these people not to work? How much are you willing to pay them to piss on the roof of the business you patronize? Like I said I give food to the pantry, and money to the church. I don’t help those who are not willing to help themselves. If you want to help the lazy be lazy, you go right ahead.
Mary Ann August 09, 2012 at 10:01 AM
I knew David and he was a US Army Vet. He fought for our freedom! He put his life on the line purposefully! David surely did not know if he was going live from day to day in the elite force for which he served! He did NOT enlist just to get "free" lifetime medical benefits! The very idea lacks intelligence on so many levels! David suffered from medical issues and PTSD. He sought help for these issues from the proper authorities. I think we have a system that failed this man. He was just a man trying to live his life the best way he could. He did help anyone he saw in need. He actively sought employment. I knew him for just over one year. He was not a drug addict. Cindy, I am so sorry David is gone. I understand you calling David your husband. Many people in long-term relationships feel like they are married. David referred to you as his wife with the explanation that though you werent married, in his heart, you were his wife. I know you work hard at your job as a customer service representative. Please don't listen to the comments from people who only have a very small part of the actual facts. You only have to answer to God, as do the rest of us. We only have one Judge and they are not Him!
angel3lov August 14, 2012 at 07:15 AM
Tony i do have dave phone pls call me about wed
cindy August 14, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Tony Pls call me I have his phone

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