William Biyinzika Loveall, a bright young man who came to Springfield from Uganda as a teenage boy, died by suicide on June 16 in Bend after months of homelessness brought on by the onset of schizophrenia. He was 23 years old.
Adopted by a Springfield couple who did mission work in Uganda, Loveall came to Eugene in 2013 and was enrolled as an eighth grader at Willamette Christian School. The following year he went to Marist Catholic High School, where he was elected senior class president and graduated in 2018. In an essay published by Marist in its alumni magazine that year, Loveall wrote of the poverty and abuse he endured in Uganda before he was taken under the wing of the couple, who treated him at a health clinic and fought for years to adopt him so they could bring him to the U.S.
“God has done a great work in my life,” the young man wrote. “Yet I believe this is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.”
Loveall studied for a year at Northwest Christian University, now Bushnell University, before beginning to show symptoms of the mental illness that would ultimately end his life, his family said.
His adopted parents, newly elected Lane County Commissioner David Loveall and Nita Loveall, worked desperately to find help for their son as he became increasingly disoriented and paranoid.
“The end of his first year in college, he began to say things weren’t right,” Nita Loveall said. “His second year he didn’t even start.”
Instead, William Loveall, now an adult, lived alone in an apartment his parents provided in downtown Springfield, growing more and more delusional. At one point he stacked furniture against one wall to protect himself from imagined enemies. “We didn’t understand it,” his mother says. “We didn’t know what was going on.”
The schizophrenia rapidly took control of the young man’s life. “He refused to take his medication,” Nita Loveall says. “He began living in his car.”
William Loveall went to Sacramento, California, where his erratic behavior led him to be held for two weeks in a hospital. When he came back to Springfield, he refused to live in the apartment. David Loveall bought a van and outfitted it for his son to live in, but William refused that as well.
“That was the last time we saw him before he went to Bend,” David Loveall says.
Once William Loveall was in Bend his parents began a nightmarish battle to get treatment for him. They hired a lawyer, who filed papers to have the young man committed to a mental hospital. The couple’s application was dismissed due to a technicality, the Lovealls say. “Somebody put their name on the wrong line,” Nita Loveall says.
For a time things improved as the young man lived at a homeless shelter and met with a counselor. But he was able to stay at the shelter for only 30 days, the Lovealls say. And on June 16, he hanged himself in a public park.
Both his parents say William Loveall’s life could have been saved if the law allowed medical intervention.
“The system of him making all his own medical decisions kept us from intervening,” David Loveall says. “We need an intervention law.”