Another Republican state legislator has killed himself following allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.
According to the Idaho Statesman, Former Caldwell Rep. Brandon Hixon has died, according to the Canyon County Coroner’s Office.
Hixon’s suicide follows the suicide of Kentucky state lawmaker Dan Johnson, who shot himself in the head after pulling off the side to the side of the highway. Johnson left an emotional social media post blaming the media for his suicide, and denying allegations that he had molested children.
A family member found Hixon, 36, in his Caldwell home early Tuesday. The former lawmaker resigned from the state legislature last fall after reports that he was the focus of a criminal investigation by Caldwell police. That inquiry is apparently related to sexual abuse, according to a document through which the Idaho Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation. The AG’s office didn’t have a statement about the investigation into Hixon’s death. The Statesman reported that Hixon’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hixon, who was in his third term, was facing a re-election bid dogged by the sexual abuse allegations.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter in November selected Caldwell city planner Jarom Wagoner to take Hixon’s seat in the legislature.
House Speaker Scott Bedke announced Hixon’s death to lawmakers during Tuesday morning’s House session.
“Our thoughts go first to family and friends who are suffering from this loss,” Bedke said, according to the Spokesman-Review. “We should … support those who are close to us when they are struggling. Please remember Brandon’s family in your prayers.”
Lawmakers are spending part of their afternoon at mandated anti-harassment training; Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill opened the session with his own condolences. “There’s a special sorrow in our world today,” Hill said.
Hard to describe the mood in the #idleg halls right now. Somber. Sad. Shocked.
— Melissa Davlin (@davlinnews) January 9, 2018
Bedke added that the state assembly would organize some sort of financial relief for Hixon’s family. He said it was too early to say what exactly was planned.
After resigning, Hixon was arrested for DUI in December. In his mugshot, he looks noticeably more disheveled.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show that Hixon was the focus of a separate police investigation in 2014 after he was accused of inappropriate touching while babysitting, though all the other names were redacted. Hixon had resigned in October – two weeks before the AP report – after news of the investigation became public.
Other than Hixon, all other names and ages — including the accuser — were redacted in the police documents.
Police records show that Hixon denied the accusations and was worried how the allegations would affect his political career.
Caldwell police launched the investigation on Dec. 9 and closed it on Dec. 24. No charges or arrests were made, but the report notes that the case could be reopened at any time if the victim “was able to communicate to us later that something has happened.”
It’s unknown if the new investigation — which has been ongoing since Oct. 5 — is connected to the prior case.
Hixon joined the legislature after being elected state representative in 2012. He served on the House Business, Health and Welfare, Transportation and Defense panels.