July 22 2000

– Homicide detectives said they found empty prescription anti-depressant bottles in the bedroom where a Modesto man and a 6-year-old boy died Tuesday in an apparent murder-suicide.

Detectives said they are waiting for the results of toxicology tests to determine if the pair died from an overdose of the drugs, Stanislaus County sheriff’s investigators said Friday. That could take six weeks.

The child, Alex Michael Jeske, was found dead in the south Modesto home where he was spending the summer with his uncle, his aunt and her boyfriend.

Found dead in the same bedroom was Ronald Scott Artel, 33, the boyfriend of Alex’s aunt, Nancy Miller, 39. The couple lived in a small two-bedroom home at 1410 Holm Ave.

Detective Sgt. Tim Beck said Artel left a suicide note in the bedroom explaining that he was taking his life because of personal problems. The note also contained information about why Artel killed the boy, authorities said, but detectives haven’t released those details. The note was behind the door.

Beck said Artel and Alex had been dead for several hours when their bodies were found by Miller. Their bodies showed no obvious sign of trauma.

Investigators have interviewed several witnesses who said Artel had been very depressed. He had displayed violent and bizarre emotional behavior, deputy Jeff Broumas said.

Other witnesses reported that Artel had shown signs of delusional behavior toward the boy, but investigators wouldn’t elaborate.

Broumas said the empty pill bottles were in the trash in the bedroom. According to a pathologist, an overdose of the anti-depressants would produce fatal results, Broumas said.

Some people who knew Artel speculated that he might have been exposed to hazardous chemicals at the Modesto food processing plant where he worked, and that might be his cause of death.

Beck said there is no reason to believe, at this time, that any exposure to chemicals on the job led to Artel’s or Alex’s deaths.

Artel and Miller had lived together for more than seven years. Alex had stayed with the couple on numerous occasions, Miller said. Also living at the house was Miller’s brother James Edward Clark, 41.

Alex died one day before his seventh birthday.

A funeral for Alex will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Lakewood Funeral Chapel, Hughson. Visitation will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the chapel. Burial will be at Lakewood Memorial Park, Hughson.

– Daryl Farnsworth


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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