Former Idaho lawmaker commits suicide amid sexual assault investigations

The state flag of Idaho. (Wikimedia/Xrmap)

A former lawmaker from Idaho was found dead due to apparent suicide three months after authorities opened a sexual assault investigation into the Republican politician.

Brandon Hixon was found dead by a family member at his home in Caldwell, Idaho Tuesday. The politician died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris.

Friends and colleagues of the young lawmaker were grappling with the loss after learning about his death. “We are all asking ourselves what we could have done to help in the lead-up to this,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, who announced the politician’s death during the House’s session on Tuesday morning. “I am at a loss,” he added.

“No matter what else is learned about the last few months of Mr. Hixon’s life, it’s clear that there are those today who, for one reason or another, are left dealing with a profound and inexpressible hurt, the depths of which I can’t fathom,” said Rep. Greg Chaney, Hixon’s former seatmate. “My prayer is that those left to cope in the aftermath will find comfort for their pain and be able to turn to God’s healing in the months and years ahead.

Hixon was serving his third term in the state House of Representatives when he was hit with a criminal investigation after allegations of sexual assault last year. Two weeks later, on Oct. 19, Hixon resigned from his post as a lawmaker.

According to previous police records, Hixon was also the subject of a prior investigation in 2014 after being accused of inappropriate touching. At the time, the politician denied the allegations and expressed concerns that they would affect his political career.

No charges were brought against Hixon because the alleged victim failed to provide enough details about the misconduct. It is not clear whether the new investigation launched last year is connected to the 2014 allegations.