*Mentally haunting: The tragic Los Angeles, Metrolink (Blue Line) train death of 27-year-old aspiring model, dancer and music artist Assata Olugbala Jones is a true EURweb urban tale; untold until now.
Jones’ story represents a quiet phenomenon — whispering under the radar and creeping through communities. Seemingly normal, everyday people are going mad.
Assata Jones is seen deteriorating most rapidly during a four-month period and during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, last year.
Beyond the madness, she rendered just sane enough to chronicle events that preceded her death; she had the state of mind to record clips of her worst and finals months. On Instagram and Facebook, Jones shares a five-month, self-documented progression into insanity.
Even in madness, she was talented
Assata Jones is seen alluring, clever with words, and moves her body as free as the wind, dancing. Her beauty, ripe. But, a twist in events an urban tale begins…
In 2019 she was freshly maneuvering her hometown of Los Angeles after returning from Dallas, Texas where she had attended high school and later started dual careers.
OTHER NEWS ON EURWEB: Assata Jones Dead at 27: Recount of Final 2 Years
“She was doing well there — modeling, she had an assistant management job, a car, and an apartment. And then she lost everything,” said Jones’ mom, Sondra Jones.
“I lost my job because I was sexually harassed. They fired me for making a complaint,” Assata Jones said (in a video, just months before her death).
Bad luck brought her back to Los Angeles and followed her there. (Click here for details)
It was 2019 when the family noted the first signs of failing mental health. Sondra Jones said her daughter was diagnosed with depression.
“My aunt sent me to a crazy house and left me there,” Assata Jones said on social media.
An alter ego emerges
Panicked like a maddened doe — on Instagram, Jones is seen lost in paranoid screams. She is antagonizing metro subway riders in an underground station in downtown Los Angeles. Jones is losing it.
She has an alternate reality that’s taking over (friends and family don’t know) – only strangers see she is crazed.
She’s recording herself, she knows something is wrong. The camera is pointed at others; a metro train leaving, a man standing, a crowd gathering, and security guards. Jones is raging, this time it’s not understandable. A man gets off the train and stands there as though to wait on another.
“Why the [expletive] are you standing there, you just got off the train” Jones is yelling.
She screams directly at the man calling him obscenities. He looks back surprised but continues waiting. Again, he looks back, setting off a tirade of more insults and screams. A crowd of strangers startled by the upheaval turn to look which further enrages her. Jones violently curses the crowd and security guards. Everyone around is staring; all eyes on Jones.
In a now-deleted Facebook video she turns the camera to herself so we see what’s happening to her. She is telling the story of her last days alive. Jones is seen in ninja-type wear.
There are dozens of videos (on social media) like this depicting varying scenarios; in stores, on street corners. Sometimes she’s recording herself perplexed while attempting to reason with a clerk, another time — a security guard. Her gripes these times are reasonable. Her exasperation well understood. She doesn’t seem crazed here, rather understandably frustrated, and bewildered with city stressors; mean-spiritedness, thoughtlessness, and things that don’t seem to make sense. These times she doesn’t narrate except to say — do you see this? Mostly she just shows us the scene. The videos are compelling. (As we said, some of the videos have recently been locked from public viewing).
She’s talking to the camera and sharing her life with whoever might be watching — it is unknown if she had the end in mind, though it seemed a concerted effort to tell her story. Some days dozens upon dozens of videos were uploaded within 24 hours.
Most often, Jones is seen in her downtown LA skid-row, hotel room (video recording herself) — where she lived with a pet rat, Rose.
Sometimes she’s playing in her feces or posing with her meth pipe, another time she is displaying her menstruation; legs open, underwear drenched in blood. She narrates through her videos.
Full of potential, Jones — suffering from declining mental health, the isolation during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent drug addiction — succumbs to increasing frustration, paranoia, and trips into an alter ego.
Her death came within one month of the crazed underground subway scene.
Saturday, September 12, 2020, 9:20 p.m. Joey Corpuz was operating the Metrolink Blue Line 1077A southbound down Long Beach Ave in Los Angeles.
“I saw her standing on the tracks about 100-150 feet away, I applied my brakes but could not stop on time,” Corpuz said in an LAPD death investigation report.
According to the death report, Jones was walking northbound. She met her last moments 82 ft. from 81st street, on the middle of the tracks, 10 ft. from Long Beach Ave.
“It appears [that she saw the train] I don’t know how long she was… how long before she realized the train was there, but right before she was struck she looked like she was facing the train,” Officer Eri Poss of the Central Traffic Division Collision Investigation, said.
“She had no shoes on,” Poss said. “[the video] sounds like he honked, and there was the sound of breaks before he struck her.”
Jones was found dead face down in a northbound direction, on the west side of the train, 87 ft south of South 51 St.
“It’s tragic… Based on the video [Jones] was run over — the front of the train hit her because she was in the middle of the track,” Poss said.
The investigation determined the collision was accidental. There were no other witnesses.
“It happens, we get lots of people who do this often whether intentional or accidental,” said coroners office representative, Liana D.
She was in fantasy love with entertainer Aubrey “Drake” Graham, the Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and entrepreneur. She gave her pet rat Drakes last name and fantasized that he was active in their lives. “Drake did [this] for me,” she would say, or “[this] is mines and Drakes.” Photos edited to depict Assata with Drake are posted on her Instagram.
“I didn’t really know how sick she was. She’d say or do things and I’d think she was playing. Except there was one jarring incident that she shouldn’t have overlooked,” recalls Sondra.
The name Drake was one of Sondra’s strongest indications that something had actually gone wrong with her daughter. Sondra went to a laundry facility to pick up Assata, and they were talking on the phone during Sondra’s drive to pick her up.
Assata told her mom that her boyfriend Drake was with her… Sondra did hear a man speaking in the background telling her to make her way home because it’s not safe. But, when Sondra arrived to her daughter, the man was still there and she asked him if he knew her daughter. The man said he had only just began talking with her in the laundry; he’d never seen her before those moments.
Back to the skid-row apartment
How mentally ill was she?
There were other indications. A case worker from the skid-row hotel threatened to kick her out of the program. Jones had smeared feces over the walls of the hotel. Instagram followers could see that she was disturbed.
One IG follower made this comment: “You were somebody – how could you let yourself go like this.”
“They’re going to make me kill Rose.”
Jones was referring to the loud playing music that invaded her dingy, cluttered room.
The camera is angled so that Instagram followers see her engage with a male caseworker, who had come to the door only to see Jones exposing her slim naked body with breasts dangling.
The last day
In tandem with her own troubles, COVID-19 begins to make headlines and in 2020 was declared a pandemic. Within months after the city’s lock down, Jones was dead; her life evaporated underneath the weight of a train.
“If she had earplugs in, she probably never knew what hit her,” music friend Franklin Matthews said. “[silence] … I hope she didn’t feel it.”
Matthews was the artist who mixed her song “Masterpiece.” Jones told him she wanted to get together again when she lost the weight she picked up during her stay in jail. With insecurities mounting and mental health failing, she was too uncomfortable to meet until then. That day never came. (Click here for more details)
The Coroners Call: Listen
“I went to the scene,” Sondra Jones said. “She died near the projects.”
“51st and Long Beach or 54th and Long Beach,” Sondra added. One represented the exact place of her daughter’s death. She checked both, there was no yellow tape, no news media.
“No indication that my daughter died there,” Jones said.
The coroner’s report said Jones died of severe trauma. Her body was so mangled they were only able to identify her with fingerprints. The train, mental illness, and drug use were implicated as factors in her death.
“I don’t know how they knew [she had mental health issues] they told me that before we got the coroners report. I tried to get video footage, but Metro told me it was private property and that I would need a lawyer to get it,” Sondra said. She hasn’t seen the footage yet.
Liana, an employee at the coroner’s office, reported she learned of Jones’ history of mental health issues and drug use from the mom. Apparently, Sondra Jones forgot she told the authorities about Assata’s mental health issues.
“She was for the underdog, she like helping me with her younger siblings and she wanted kids of her own someday.” Sondra Jones said.
It’s a mystery how Assata ended up on the train tracks that night. Her mother was with her at the skid-row hotel earlier in the day and had planned to return with food.
Assata Jones was navigating life on her own, with skid row housing assistance, she wasn’t seeing a psychologist. Assata’s mom sites wrongful imprisonment, and the jail release program for its careless placement (skid row), inefficient care, and lack of psychological support which she thinks led to her daughter’s death.
“I hope my daughter’s story helps others,” Sondra Jones said.
The name Assata is said to mean: She who struggles amongst wise ones, lady of the people. It also means: Warlike or Warrior Princess.
Audio recording from a friend, Keosha Shorter:
Irony: Below Assata Jones is still alive, well, and dancing to Ariana Grande’s “Just Keep Breathing” a task she has stopped doing since September 12, 2020, last year.
A healthy and alive Assata Jones — Discusses the N-Word.
The Jones family hopes Assata’s story helps promote mental health awareness.
For part two of this story visit: Assata Jones Dead at 27: Recount of Final Year | EURweb
Assata Jones’ social media accounts
Before mental health breakdown
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: (Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States) 25% of all US adults have a mental illness, almost 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness during the course of their life (CDC, 2011)
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness reach for help. There are counselors and psychologist that offer drug free therapies.
What is Mental Health? (View video here)
Mental Health Resources:
NAMI on Instagram: Black Mental Health Matters • Instagram
By Billie Jordan- Sunshine – [email protected]