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UPDATE: Man hangs self in tree near Valencia apartments

Family member says he had cancer, suffered from depression

Posted: July 18, 2012 12:03 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2012 7:16 p.m.


The body of an elderly man was found hanging in a tree Wednesday morning in an unofficial community garden behind the Orchard Arms apartment complex in Valencia.

The apparent suicide victim was identified by grieving family members at the scene as Ardavas Mayelian, 80, a resident of the complex on Wiley Canyon Road east of Orchard Village Road.

A woman who also lives at the complex made the discovery while walking in the area Wednesday morning.

Mayelian, recently suffering from depression and battling cancer, apparently hanged himself from a peach tree in a garden area that’s in a high-power-line right-of-way but maintained by apartment residents. Grapevines and fruit trees surrounded the area.

Once the discovery was made, white sheets were draped around the body until a coroner’s investigator arrived.

Angela Mayelian, who identified herself as the victim’s niece, said her uncle had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“He didn’t know he had cancer and we didn’t tell him,” his niece said. “His will to live was low so we didn’t want to make it worse.”

“He was depressed,” she said, describing the depression as a recent development.

“He was lonely. We tried to be around him as much as possible,” she said.

The victim, born and raised in Iran before emigrating to the United States, is survived by brothers living in California, the niece said.

The Orchard Arms complex, with 182 apartments, offers affordable public housing. The city of Santa Clarita includes the complex in a about a dozen affordable-housing options offered to seniors.

It received an almost perfect score by public housing inspectors 12 years ago.



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