Friends and family are the most important things in life, but sadly, most people get wrapped up in their own problems and make more time for to-do lists than they do for their loved ones.
In 2014, the friends and family members of a beloved American CEO were blindsided when they heard she had passed away. But in the days that followed, everyone realized they had been too oblivious to see the signs…
A Promising Career
At just 22 years old, Wisconsin native Autumn Radtke began her illustrious career in the tech industry when she was hired as a consultant for Virgin Charter. Despite being so young, she quickly excelled and worked closely with Richard Branson, Virgin Charter’s chairman and a billionaire entrepreneur.
Climbing To The Top
Autumn later worked as a freelancer for Apple to help bring cloud-computing software to Johns Hopkins University, Los Alamos Labs, and the Aerospace Corp. After working as a freelancer, Autumn was hired by tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic Systems…
In January 2012, Autumn made yet another job change when she moved to Singapore to work for First Meta, an online exchange where users can purchase or sell different virtual currencies like bitcoin. That same year, Autumn was appointed CEO of the company.
A Respected Colleague
Autumn was young to be a CEO, but she had quickly climbed the ranks because she was an incredibly talented business woman. “Autumn Radtke offers a rare combination of business smarts and grace,” Brendan Kenney, a former colleague, wrote about her time at Geodelic Systems…
“She possesses an amazing ability to connect with people in a real way, building the type of confidence, trust and relationships that open up doors and get business done,” Brendan added. To those who knew Autumn or had worked with her, it was no surprise when she was appointed as the CEO of First Meta.
A Demanding Schedule
On the outside, Autumn seemed to be thriving in her new position even though she had more responsibility than ever before and often worked through the night on conference calls with colleagues in California. However, on the inside, Autumn was struggling…
Just A Phase
Autumn had always been a positive person who lived life to the fullest, so her friends noticed when she started having anxiety and symptoms of depression. Everyone figured it was just a phase and that she would go back to being her normal happy self soon enough.
None of Autumn’s friends thought twice when she posted a link to an essay, ‘The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship’, and commented ‘Everything has it’s price’ on social media on February 10, 2014. However, it was one of the biggest clues about what was going to happen in just a few short weeks…
First Meta was struggling at the time and Autumn was stressed out about the company’s losses. On Valentine’s Day, Autumn revealed to her boyfriend, 30-year-old Daniel Pohlod, that she was also struggling with her personal finances since her rent ate up more than half of what she was earning.
Crying For Help
Over the next few days, things only got worse. By February 20th, Autumn was barely sleeping or eating so she went to a doctor and was prescribed medications for anxiety and depression. But Autumn’s never gave the medication enough time to work…
Mr. Teng Cher Meng, a contractor who Autumn had hired to do some renovations and fix small things around her house, noticed Autumn wasn’t acting like herself. “She was a very nice and cheerful person. She would often offer to buy lunch for us,” Teng said.
From Bad To Worse
On February 24, Teng couldn’t help but notice Autumn’s unusual behavior. “From 9am to 3pm, I watched her pacing up and down the house, talking on the phone loudly. She looked so agitated. She usually wasn’t like that,” said Teng. The next day it only got worse…
“I was smoking at the door. She suddenly came out and told me she had not slept for a night, then hugged me and burst into tears,” Teng said. “I couldn’t really understand her, but I heard the words ‘America’ and ‘money not here’.”
Autumn’s Last Night
Teng assumed Autumn was having money problems and was possibly homesick, but didn’t want to pry into her personal business so didn’t ask her any more questions. Instead, he offered Autumn a cigarette and they smoked together in silence. So when Teng found out what happened the next morning, he felt sick…
At about 7 in the morning on February 26th, the 28-year-old CEO was found lying motionless outside of a 25-story building that was a 2-minute walk from her home. Paramedics were called to the scene, but when they arrived, Autumn was declared dead.
“She was so young. She died too early,” said Teng, who was devastated when he heard the news about his customer and friend just a few hours later. “I didn’t believe it when I first heard about her death. Even though I didn’t know her for long, I was so sad, I cried…”
The Official Statement
“The First Meta team is shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed,” First Meta said in a statement soon after news of Autumn’s tragic passing was made public.
Initially, it was suggested that Autumn committed suicide, but some people began to speculate that she had been murdered. It wasn’t until Autumn’s autopsy and toxicology reports were released that the truth was finally revealed…
The Truth Is Revealed
Autumn had no drugs in her system when she jumped off the 16th floor of the building. A police investigation also revealed that Autumn had visited suicide-related websites 46 times in the days leading up to her death. Steve Beauregard, GoCoin CEO and Autumn’s close friend, told investigators that Autumn had asked him if he had ever thought about ending his life.
An Avoidable Tragedy
“Her state of stress and anxiety was corroborated by independent observations of her weight loss, loss of appetite, depression and anxiety. According to friends, this was a departure from her usual cheerful disposition,” said Coroner Janet Wang. “Regrettably, this could have been forestalled with timely intervention and support.”