In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 25th, Robert Meline’s 29-year-old son drank a cup of coffee. Two years earlier he’d been released from Western State Mental hospital for treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. He was deemed ‘no longer an imminent threat to himself or those around him.’ Earlier in the week he’d bought a hatchet and told Robert Meline that he was going to kill him.
At just after two in the morning Robert Meline was attacked and killed by his son wielding a hatchet. He was 56 years old. Robert’s screams woke his daughter who found her brother on the stairs carrying a bloody hatchet. She then took her brother down the Pierce County Jail to turn himself in.
Robert was a sixth grade teacher in Bethel School District. By all accounts he was well liked and an all around positive person. He had been with the school district for over twenty years.
It would be easy to cast blame on Western State and the status of our mental health facilities but unfortunately it’s not a simple problem that can be fixed easily and not every dangerous individual appears to be such before something violent happens.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew and remember Robert Meline and want to share with us what he was like.
– Jack Cameron
Mr. Meline was my 4th and 5th grade teacher 1994-1996. He was an amazing teacher. When I entered 4th grade I was so scared to have a male teacher. I always thought they were mean for some weird reason. My mom told mr. Meline my fear. Mrr. Meline made me feel so comfortable and I loved being in his class! He will be truely missed.
Mr. meline was and awesone christian dad and school teacher.
I had him in 6th grade and also babysat for the family when they lived in a small town called Wilbur. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family!!
I was in his class years ago. Back when I was 10/11 years old and he was teaching 5th grade at the time. The school year was 2004/2005. He was an inspiration to me. He made a big impact on my life. I was going through a tough time with my parents divorce and he was there for me. He made me excited about learning and engraved in me the love of stars and space. To this day astronomy is my favorite and I think of Mr. Meine everytime I look up at a starry sky. This was before I found out about his death. I just found out yesterday, March 30th of 2017 from an article I read. 5 years after the incident. One day I was trying to find him on the staff list in Camas Prairies website. I couldn’t find him so I figured he must teach at a different school.I decided to google his name to if I could find out what school he taught at so that I could make a visit to him and have him meet my kids. I havnt seen him since 14 or 15 years old. I’m 23 now. I wanted to get him a cougar mug or something like that because he always lo ed that college football team. My mom and I would visit him even after I was out of elementary and bring him cougar or space related gifts, just because I missed him. Then I ran across the article. I was crushed, I was in shock. He meant more to me than he even knew. I remember he gave me a spark about learning that no other teacher have been able to do. Once he even went out of his way to drive me and my brother home from a game at school when our parents was at work. I’m devastated that I found out 5 years later and I’m devestated I couldn’t be there for the launch of USS Meline. He was truly, hands down the best teacher I’ve ever had and he was more than a teacher to me. He was my inspiration, I looked up to him and thought it was so cool to have teacher that was in NASA. I’m very sad that I won’t ever be able to make another visit to him or that he won’t meet my kids…. Rest easy Mr. Meline. From the spunky redheaded girl of Mr. Melines class of 2005.
My surrogate father. A hero, a friend, a teacher, a dad. A good man. See you in the stars, handsome.
Little Cindy Loo Hoo