Marymount University Student Who Worked With Depressed Teens Was Killed This Week By A Depressed Teen Who Jumped From Overpass

harrisThe death of Marisa Harris, 22, proved to be a terrible tragedy matched only by its sheer irony.  Harris was a Marymount University graduate student who committed her life to working with depressed teens. Her life was cut short when a depressed 12-year-old boy reportedly jumped from an interstate overpass and hit her car.


Marisa was the type of daughter that brought nothing but pride and joy to her parents.  She graduated summa cum laude from Towson before beginning her graduate program at Marymount University in Mental Health Counseling.

Harris was driving on I-66 when a boy crashed on to her 2005 Ford Escape.  She was immediately incapacitated and her boyfriend in the passenger seat took control of the car and amazingly steered it off the Interstate. says that this is the overpass.


The 12-year-old boy survived the crash.   The looming question will be whether the depressed teen will now be criminally charged.

44 thoughts on “Marymount University Student Who Worked With Depressed Teens Was Killed This Week By A Depressed Teen Who Jumped From Overpass”

  1. Erm, sorry that last time I checked a 12 year old was a “tween”.

    Unfortunately, this is what reaching in the wrong way does when entering a survivor into the classification of mental health people. I think the roles have hijacked upon identities here. What these in general classifications have done is to simply pitch precious souls into a waste basket and spend the rest of the time trying to guide alone persons whom within a family unit to just drop off the supposed weakest member of the family to some downtown psych unit instead of making a therapy appointment for the family unit. I heard of a personal physician how incensed he was that a couple tried to drop off their son to his office and think that he did not have any power to truly intervene to look into the actual problem until he let them know that he treated the family not just the child of a family. In his beliefs the child experiences his or her environment and so in all practicality the parents would have to be treated as well so the doctor could learn who is in grave danger and how to scope an environment.

    What a way to just look down at people without even learning if persons are being verbally harassed, encroached, or even dealing with mass tortuous situation which happens with some dynamics trying to simply conduct damage controls to keep covers tight. Have I struck a nerve out there? Sorry, but there are many families out there covering up a myriad of criminal activities that always try to scapegoat their innocent members. I don’t know if any know the histories of world monarchy but there have been families that have hadn’t stopped short to murder a family member that was destined to be crowned a king in order to have another step into position. Sometimes there are jealousies and adults envy children or worse: family members desire to be worshiped and detest the unborn coming into view and how a family dynamic would change.

    If this boy desired to made a sensation I think he certainly draws to the attention: we are not looking by the proper scopes at what truly stands before us. We as a society need to know if any identities have been hijacked. Does this make sense? Maybe the villains in a frame switched up to suddenly be the concerned and this makes it somewhat difficult to investigate a family dynamic. All I know is that there is a natural course of time to diligently address criminal activity and when this is seriously neglected in this manner society in general become rather Cynical and maybe Sarcastic in over simplifying things in order to do away with people places and things right away to follow the adage: Out of sight, out of mind. Is that you? Am I right? Shame on us all for taking shortcuts so we could go home early!

  2. Her life was cut short when a depressed 12-year-old boy reportedly jumped from an interstate overpass and hit her car.

    What type of society produces 12 year old children that seek to commit suicide?

    It reflects very poorly upon all Americans that children (adults too) live in such stagnant depravation they see the only solution as being death.

    1. It reflects very poorly upon all Americans that children (adults too) live in such stagnant depravation they see the only solution as being death.

      Go ahead and tear your hair out.

      A sensible person will assess responsibility by putting the lion’s share on the agent. If you’re looking for others to blame, he has a family, he has peers, he navigates his local school. You might even find some shizzy mental-health tradesman involved somewhere along the line. What you won’t find would be ‘all Americans’. You’re unlikely to find ‘stagnant deprivation’ either bar perhaps that which derives from inept family members.

  3. The rates of suicide are increasing all the time. Children as young as four or five commit suicide. Many myths abound such as if someone talks about it they won’t do it. Children/teens are often dismissed as just attention seeking. We have many predictors of suicide, but sadly when a person is determined to die, it cannot be prevented. The use of antidepressants in teens is controversial, but these meds do not make anyone committ suicide. This is a complex issue.

    1. “The rates of suicide are increasing all the time.”

      The suicide rate among young black children ages 5-11 INCREASED from 1.36 to 2.54 per million over the years 1993 to 2012. The suicide rate among white children during the same time frame DECREASED from 1.14 to 0.77 per million. Inadequate data were available to determine the reason(s) for the increase in suicide in young black children. As noted in the study (link below), suicide is never coded as a cause of death for a child aged 4 yo or younger.

  4. Maybe he was a client of hers – waited for and targeted her specifically. That would have to be some impeccable timing but ……….

  5. As a Vietnam vet I’ve seen my share of gore and senseless death. I have trouble wrapping my head around what was going through the mind of a 12 yo to take his own life in such a way, much less the loss of a beautiful young lady whose life is cut short from the senseless act of someone else. I don’t see much to debate here; one tragedy piled on top of another.

    1. I have trouble wrapping my head around what was going through the mind of a 12 yo to take his own life in such a way,

      Some people have a certain temperament, people who exhibit a certain vulnerability are set upon by their peers, the young lack perspective; fathers commonly are absent or irritably indifferent to their children’s problems; and mothers are clueless or make things worse due to a mixture of self-centeredness and stupidity.

    2. Five Major Mental Disorders Share Genetic Roots

      Overlap Blurs Diagnostic Categories – NIH-funded Study

      March 1, 2013 • Science Update

      Five major mental disorders share some of the same genetic risk factors, the largest genome-wide study of its kind has found. Evidence for such genetic overlap had previously been limited to pairs of disorders.

      National Institutes of Health-funded researchers discovered that people with disorders traditionally thought to be distinct – autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia – were more likely to have suspect genetic variation at the same four chromosomal sites. These included risk versions of two genes that regulate the flow of calcium into cells.

      Jordan Smoller, M.D.
      Source: Jordan Smoller, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

      1. Genetics play a role, but one generally smaller than the environment.

        Gut microbiota affect mental health. Diet and stress and vitamin D status affect the microbiota.

        Only the abstract is available, but following is an interesting study about the effects the gut microbiota can have on gene expression. Plenty of articles at PubMed discuss the role of gut microbiota on mental health.

        Genes Brain Behav. 2014 Jan;13(1):69-86. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12109. Epub 2013 Dec 27.
        Microbial genes, brain & behaviour – epigenetic regulation of the gut-brain axis.
        Stilling RM1, Dinan TG, Cryan JF.

        1. So true. The gut is often referred to as the second brain. Very rich in serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with depression and anxiety.

        2. Thanks for the linked article, Prairie Rose. (“Environment” is certainly a big factor.)

          “Gut microbiota affect mental health. Diet and stress and vitamin D status affect the microbiota.”

          I would toss physical exercise into the mix, as well. It makes everything better, IMHO. : )

    3. Without knowing this kid’s history, one shouldn’t jump (no pun intended) to conclusions:

      “Antidepressants carry a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) black box warning about a risk of increased suicidal thinking and behavior in some individuals under the age of 25.”

      “…one tragedy piled on top of another.”

      Yes. And literally, sadly.

  6. I imagine this might be a case of involuntary manslaughter but determining if a 12 year old has statutorily qualified culpability might for this crime be what hinges on whether or not he is charged criminally. If so then I suspect the next step will be a diminished capacity type defense.

  7. JJ – great response. I don’t know what to say – the irony of this bright and loving young person being killed like this is bizarre.

    Only thing I can say about suicide folks is that some of them are in such a state they literally don’t think about the impact on others. My grandfather decided to blow his head off in the bathroom – after politely asking if my grandmother needed to use it. Very calm. They had a small home but with plenty of land around — WHY wouldn’t have chosen to do that in the woods or at the pond? All I’m saying is we have no idea what goes through their minds as the make that choice.

    1. Sorry about your grandfather, and the impact that made on the rest of his family. What a story. Yes, they are just so consumed in the vortex of a dark cloud of anguish, they get tunnel vision and tunnel feelings.
      Feelings are powerful. Sadly, in our culture they are given a bad rap, especially for males. “Don’t be a girl!” “Suck it up!” Be a MAN!” How awful.

      1. thanks Smythe, In a way I was fortunate in that I never really knew him as we grew up miles away in Germany. But the effect on my Mom and siblings is still devastating – she no longer enjoys enjoys Christmas as she associated it with his awful demise. He has been showing signs of mental illness for several years – but back in the day no one talked about depression – and certainly not an Appalachian man. That is one good thing IMO that has changed – that people now can openly talk about their struggles and many do get help.

        1. Yes people talked about ‘depression’, even in Appalachian men. Depressed people are not ‘mentally ill’. “Help” isn’t much good.

          1. Don’t know where you are from but in the hills of TN people did NOT talk about depression in the 70s- and so he never sought help. From what I’ve been able to piece together he had psychotic delusions for years and no one ever thought to take him to a shrink. And yes, depressed folks ARE mentally ill – a disease like any other.

            1. It’s SOT/TSFS/DSS — now “Around and Around…” And s/he’s an idiot about mental illness, among other things.

            2. No, the depressed are not mentally ill.

              You fancy your stated biography is probative. It isn’t. It certainly is neither more nor less than mine is.

              I’ve had family in East Tennessee since the end of the 18th century. Yes, people talked about my grandfather’s emotional states. His father talked about them. Not during the 1970s, but 30 years earlier.

              1. you need to find a good shrink Depression most certainly IS a mental illness – and while my family’s story is just one narrative the fact remains that country folk are largely ignorant when it comes to certain issues. I am SO grateful I did not have to grow up in that environment.

                1. It is nothing of the kind. Leave the dubious appellation ‘mental illness’ for the schizophrenic population. The depressed are what Fuller Torrey calls the ‘worried well’.

                  1. Gut dysbiosis affecting neurotransmitter production does not equal healthy.

                    1. You’re trying to tell me what? That you’re a middle-aged woman obsessed with the ‘health effects’ of everything?

                    2. I am trying to share new information with you.

                      I agree with Fuller Torrey in many regards.

                      “most of the people seen by psychotherapists are the ‘worried well.’ They have interpersonal and intrapersonal problems and they need counseling, but that isn’t medicine – that’s education. Now, if you give the people with brain diseases to neurology and the rest to education, there’s really no need for psychiatry'” (American Health magazine, October 1991, p. 26).”

                      I am no fan of psychiatry. I think in many cases it does more harm than good. However, his book was written over 30 years, and a lot of research has happened since then, namely, the effect the gut microbiome has not only on the production of neurotransmitters, but also inflammation, micro nutrient absorption, and communication with the brain via the vagus nerve. Torrey posited that Toxoplasmosis infections were, in part, to blame for schizophrenia (B12 deficiency does, too). That is not that far afield from gut dysbiosis. Also, there is a difference between “the worried well” and major depression. The worried well do not commit suicide.

                      The following link is to an article, written by Fuller Torrey, grouping major depression into severe mental illness, along with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.


  8. The state should certainly consider extending the protective barrier all the way across the overpass, on both sides. It will keep people from jumping off, or being thrown off or throwing items onto cars. I read recently of three teens who are facing homicide charges after throwing something onto a car, killing the driver. I used to do that with my brother when I was a child. We would throw things off the cliff down onto the highway, because we thought it was funny if it landed on a car. Fortunately nobody was hurt, as we had no idea that we could have caused a serious injury or death.

  9. Since he is 12 and depressed enough to commit suicide, I am not sure what they are going to charge him with. One has to consider what a depressed suicidal 12 year old would consider normal and then go from there.

    I am very sorry for the young woman’s death, hopefully, it was fast. Props to the boyfriend who drove the car off the freeway. Now, the problem is, who missed identifying the suicidal 12-year-old? A lot of people were not paying attention to this kid.

    1. A lot of people were not paying attention to this kid.

      Or paying the wrong kind of attention to him.

  10. “Michelle Carter, who urged her boyfriend to commit suicide, found guilty in his death”
    – “Michelle Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Carter sent her boyfriend text messages encouraging him to commit suicide. In a landmark case, a Massachusetts judge has ruled that Michelle Carter, who urged her boyfriend through phone calls and text messages to kill himself, is responsible for his death. Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz announced Friday that Carter, 20, is guilty of involuntary manslaughter after placing Conrad Roy III in a situation that led to his suicide in 2014.”

  11. The looming question will be whether he survives or not. The last report listed him with life-threatening injuries. Can you be any more of a callous a-hole, Turley?

    1. Can you be any more wrong and vulgar in your description of the host of this website?

      The “he” to whom you refer solely and directly caused the horrific almost unspeakable death of a beautiful, dedicated, hard working, and stunningly smart young woman who would certainly have improved the quality of life of countless persons over a normal lifespan. Instead, she is gone from this world, killed by the callous and depraved actions of your hero.

      Your language and upside down opinion reveals you and the assailant may share more than a few self-centered personality traits, which could explain your misplaced sympathy. The assailant most certainly could have intentionally aimed for his victim, thus making this a criminal murder case.

      Plenty if not most suicide victims seem to find method to kill themselves without physically harming anyone else. The difficulty in waiting for no traffic would have equaled exactly nothing and saved an innocent’s life.

    2. he could have od, waited for a break in traffic, shot himself but he took a life w/his selfish botched suicide attempt he may end up getting what he wanted anyway

      1. Karen – it is hard to tell when the cars are coming when you are on the far side of the bridge.

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