Former Student’s Death Upsets MHS Community

Former Student’s Death Upsets MHS Community

Lauren Dahlberg-Seeth, Staff Writer

James Abriel, a Sonoma State student and Miramonte alum, was found dead in Annadel State Park on May 7. Abriel, 19, had been reported missing 13 days earlier. The body was found with a gun that his parents had also reported as missing. A number of suicide notes found both at his family’s residence and in the backpack at the site of the body indicate that the gun wound was self-inflicted.

On May 5, investigators at the Santa Rosa Police Department were informed of Abriel’s vehicle, a Toyota Camry, parked near the Annadel State Park entrance.

Several search and rescue teams from around the area arrived at Annadel the following morning to begin the search. Abriel’s body was found in a secluded area near Lake Ilsanjo at approximately 9:30 a.m. on May 7.

Abriel graduated from Miramonte in 2010, and had been studying at Sonoma State University as a music major. While he lived in Orinda, Abriel also attended Orinda Intermediate School and Wagner Ranch Elementary School.

“James Abriel was a student with a love for music,” said Linda Fore, Abriel’s counselor at Miramonte. “In addition, he was interested in architecture.  He was somewhat quiet but always respectful, polite and articulate.”

Besides playing in Miramonte’s orchestra and jazz band, Abriel also enjoyed spending time outdoors, skateboarding, and playing a wide variety of instruments including bass and flute.

“I remember James and my brother having jam sessions all the time,” said junior Marjohn Monemi. “He always brought more enthusiasm to the group and brightened the mood.”

Abriel’s lighthearted humor and positive attitude both in an out of school left a lasting impression on all who knew him.

“[James] was optimistic, open-minded and very accepting,” said senior Robin Chin.  “I can honestly say I have never met anyone quite like him because he was so unique, musically talented, and friendly. He had the guts to care less of what people thought of him, and I admired that.”

Many Miramonte students attended Abriel’s memorial service at the Orinda Community Church on May 14, where friends and family took turns eulogizing Abriel.

“There really isn’t a way to describe James in a sentence. He was a great person who always knew how to lighten your day and make you feel one hundred times better than you did before,” said sophomore Sylvette Teman. “He was an incredibly talented person and a great friend whose life was ended way too soon.”