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'Goodbye forever'

August 18, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Plywood signs found spray painted with farewell messages, one of which was left at a Hagerstown bridge crossing, led police on a search for a man who they feared would end his life Thursday.

It turned out he was just ending a relationship.

"It was just his way of saying goodbye in a big way," Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Paul Kifer said.

No charges were filed, Kifer said. Police just wanted to make sure he was OK.

"He was a little heartbroken," Kifer said.

The signs, one left at the Antietam Creek bridge at the intersection of Dual Highway and Eastern Boulevard and another left at Opal Court, off Eastern Boulevard, were spray painted with messages directed at the man's on-again, off-again girlfriend who worked in the area, Kifer said.

At the bridge crossing, the sign essentially read: "I will always love you. Don't forget me. Be happy and take care of yourself. P.S. Good-bye forever," Kifer said.

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The Opal Court sign was scrawled with a goodbye message also. That sign had a postscript: "The best friend you'll ever have."

"Our concern was that this kind of show of resolution to a relationship tends to lead down the path to suicide," he said.

The man and woman, in their 30s to 40s, had dated for about a year and ended their relationship amicably about four months ago, but it continued on and off until the man decided to call it quits Thursday.

"He said he was at that point that he was tired of it's on, it's off," Kifer said.

Both signs were about 4-foot-by-8-foot plywood signs, one of which had roses attached to it, he said.

They were left at the spots about 7 a.m.

Kifer said police found the man through the woman to whom the signs were addressed.

It was apparent through the man's interview that "it was never his intention" to commit suicide, Kifer said.

"He was very remorseful and embarrassed," he said.

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