Posted: 6:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, 2012

Kettering man dies in jump from arboretum tower

By Lawrence Budd

Staff Writer


A 34-year-old Kettering man died Thursday after jumping from an observation tower at the Cox Arboretum, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Bradley O’Brien, 34, of Kettering, jumped from the Tree Tower at the arboretum around 7 a.m. Thursday. The death, due to blunt force trauma, has been ruled a suicide, investigator James Fannin said Friday.

The Dayton Daily News doesn’t routinely cover suicides, unless they occur at a public place.

O’Brien was not an employee of the arboretum, Val Hunt Beerbower, public information manager for Five River MetroParks said on Friday evening.

The 46 foot Tree Tower is a new amenity at the arboretum and is scheduled to open to the public on Oct. 12, she said. The entrance to the staircase was barricaded to prevent entry and signs marked the area indicating that it is closed. A park visitor found O’Brien and alerted park personnel who told park rangers.

“Obviously, we’re all devastated,” Beerbower said. “We are feeling the loss for his mother and his family and anyone who knew him. Everyone is shaken up.”

The observation tower is designed to give visitors a “dramatic panoramic view of Cox Arboretum MetroPark,” according to the park’s website. The Cox Arboretum Foundation has planned and raised money for the tower for more than a decade. Funding was provided by more than 400 donors “through the efforts of the James M. Cox Jr. Arboretum Foundation membership.” The project cost about $500,000, the website said.

An event for Foundation members scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9, has been cancelled and plans for the opening have been toned-down out of respect for O’Brien’s family, Beerbower said.

Cox Arboretum is on Ohio 741, north of the Dayton Mall.

Arundi Venkayya Cox contributed to this report.


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