‘She never knew how beautiful she was’


The memorial that has sprouted on the White Bear Avenue bridge over I-94 in St. Paul would have surprised Arianna Tatum, her friends said this evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tatum, 20, walked halfway across the bridge, took off her shoes, climbed a fence and jumped to the highway below, to be hit by a car, then another, and then another.

“She never knew how beautiful she was,” Cassandra Combs said. “She cared about others more than she cared about herself.”

“We were friends, but we were more like sisters,” she said as she signed a balloon with “Rest In Peace, Sis!” They knew each other for about 9 years. “We met in a juvenile center,” Ms. Combs said.

She sent her a message on MySpace two days ago, but Arianna didn’t respond.

None of the reticent young people, who stood on the bridge looking at the traffic below, knew or would say what finally led the young woman to kill herself.

“She was depressed, but she never sought help for it,” one told me.

“She was down on herself,” said another. “She didn’t realize how many people cared.”





This evening, Arianna Tatum’s family and friends are lighting candles in her memory on the bridge.

At least one news organization in the Twin Cities won’t run the story about the woman who jumped off a bridge in St. Paul. They think it’ll lead to copycat suicides. Perhaps, but maybe it’ll lead to someone asking for help.

(Update: A memorial fund has been set up. See the comments below.)