Ian Terry / The HeraldTiffany Ferrians holds a portrait of her son Keaton Farris at her home on Lopez Island on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. Farris, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis when he was incarcerated, died of dehydration and malnutrition at the Island County Jail in Coupeville in April.Photo taken on 11052015

Ian Terry / The Herald Tiffany Ferrians holds a portrait of her son Keaton Farris at her home on Lopez Island on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. Farris, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis when he was incarcerated, died of dehydration and malnutrition at the Island County Jail in Coupeville in April. Photo taken on 11052015

Part 1: The justice system fails Keaton Farris

What Jail Can’t Cure
Part 1: The justice system fails Keaton Farris
Part 2: A sheriff refuses to ‘warehouse the mentally ill’
Part 3: Cops and social workers team up on the streets
Part 4: With help, a homeless alcoholic finds redemption

COUPEVILLE — Keaton Farris was seven miles from home and he was dying.

He was alone and naked, dehydrated and starving, locked up in the Island County Jail for forging a $355 check.

Keaton, 25, had attended Coupeville High School, less than a mile from the jail. He played football and basketball and ran track. His dad, Fred, is a mailman in the small town. Keaton returned home last year to rest and find his footing after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

His parents believe he was in the throes of a manic episode before he died on April 7. Keaton was behind bars for 18 days, shuffled among three other jails before he was sent to Island County.

The Coupeville jail didn’t get his medical records. He didn’t arrive with any medication even though he had a new prescription in his pocket when he was arrested. Fred Farris and Tiffany Ferrians weren’t allowed to see or talk to their son. They frequently called to check on him and told corrections officers he was bipolar and needed his medication.

The Island County Jail chief later claimed his staff didn’t know Keaton was mentally ill.

The chief’s statements and details about Keaton’s incarceration are part of the 700-page report compiled by Island County’s veteran detective Ed Wallace. His investigation found that corrections officers documented how Keaton refused water and meals.

They reported that he talked to himself, cried in the corner of his cell, ate crumbs off of the floor and wiped his face with his underwear. He ate a bar of soap and dumped water on his head. He was found naked on the floor of his cell pretending to swim in a half-inch of cold water.

After that, officers shut off the water to his cell’s sink and toilet. They didn’t do hourly checks. Because there are gaps in the records, it’s hard to know how often the officers gave Keaton water when they did check on him. No one noticed him wasting away, though he lost about 20 pounds.

Corrections officers didn’t make him drink water and they didn’t weigh him even though he repeatedly refused meals. A supervisor didn’t monitor the officers’ notes. One corrections officer said she’d never seen another inmate act like Keaton, yet no one called for a mental health professional.

His parents were assured their son was being seen by a nurse. That wasn’t true.

A nurse didn’t see Keaton until the day before he died. He’d been there 12 days. Keaton told the nurse he needed medical help. She stood outside his cell for two minutes, peering at him through a window. She didn’t touch him or take his temperature or check his skin’s elasticity for dehydration. She told staff his color looked good and he was breathing fine.

The next day, on April 7, Keaton was dead. It took nearly a full shift for corrections officers to notice.

Keaton died because he was labeled a behavioral problem, a danger, and an inconvenience. He died while he was in a mental health crisis and unable to care for himself. He needed help from the people paid to care for him in the jail. He needed water and medical attention. He was denied those things.

Two corrections officers forged records and lied about when they’d last checked on Keaton. They were put on leave and later resigned. The Whatcom County prosecutor is investigating to determine if someone should be charged with a crime. The FBI also is reviewing Keaton’s death.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, who oversees the jail, fired a corrections lieutenant. The jail chief retired and the nurse left her job in the midst of a health department investigation. Island County has spent $20,000 for a corrections advisor to review jail operations.

Brown made changes to improve medical and mental health screening. He apologized to Fred Farris and said Keaton died because of a “systematic breakdown.”

Keaton’s story is not an isolated incident.

He is one of the estimated 2 million people living with mental illness who are booked into the nation’s jails every year. Mental illness is three to six times more prevalent in jail than in the general population. Suicide continues to be the leading cause of death among inmates and has been on the rise for a decade.

The National Institute of Corrections and behavioral health experts say jails and prisons have become the country’s largest mental health institutions since the nation shut down psychiatric hospitals in the 1980s and failed to adequately replace them with community resources. Jails and prisons aren’t designed to properly care for people in crisis, or treat those with severe mental illness. Corrections officers often aren’t knowledgable about mental illnesses, and jails often lack adequate medical staffing. Inmates can be reluctant to report their mental illness because of the stigma. Sometimes a symptom of a person’s illness is to deny its presence.

The 58-bed jail in Coupeville is just across the water from Snohomish County, where reforms have been under way at the jail after a series of deaths. Snohomish County has paid $3.7 million to settle lawsuits with the families of two young people who died after being denied adequate medical attention. Other lawsuits are pending.

Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary has taken up the campaign for changes, saying any strategy that starts with the jail as the first step is wrong. Jails for too long have been used to hide mentally ill, drug-addicted and homeless populations.

Keaton’s symptoms were so severe on April 1 that he couldn’t be arraigned for identity theft. The San Juan County judge urged Keaton’s mom not to bail her son out of jail. His public defender assured Ferrians that Keaton was safe in jail. The judge ordered him to be evaluated by a psychologist at Western State Hospital. But long delays plague the state psychiatric hospital in Pierce County, which is under a court order to admit inmates sooner so they don’t languish, untreated, in jails.

Fred Farris regrets not paying Keaton’s $10,000 bail. The guilt gnaws at him, like the sound of the coroner knocking at his front door at 3 a.m.

“If I would have been allowed to see him for one minute, I would not have left,” Farris said. “It would have just taken one person to do the right thing.”

A life interrupted

Keaton grew up on Lopez Island among gardens, woods and neighbors whose homes were as open to him as if he were their own.

He was an imaginative child who made up stories about castles and knights and acted out the scenes with his buddies. He rooted for Eeyore, the forlorn donkey from the Winnie-the-Pooh books, and learned to love reading in the pages of “Calvin and Hobbes” books. The inquisitive boy filled a quiet home with questions and tall tales.

He helped his mom plant a garden and flourished in the alternative classroom she helped start at the local elementary school. He was a graceful and powerful athlete and often gathered up his friends to shoot hoops at a church basketball court.

Fred Farris and Keaton’s stepmom, Susan, an elementary school speech therapist, moved in 2005 to Coupeville, where they live with their daughters Vivian, 10, and Mia, 8. Keaton lived with them for two years of high school, doing just enough homework to be eligible to play sports.

He moved back in with his mom on Lopez Island for his senior year so he could graduate with his closest friends.

After high school, Keaton worked odd jobs, moving around between his parents’ homes and his Uncle Louie’s house in Redmond. Keaton’s bliss would have been behind the wheel of a VW van, exploring the country, and at the helm of a sailboat, headed for a warm beach, his dad said.

“He’d like to think of himself as a pirate,” Fred Farris said as he sifted through the rocks, feathers, arrowheads and other treasures Keaton collected and stowed away in a wooden box. They were friends. Keaton was the best man at his dad’s wedding.

Since their son’s death, others have asked Farris and Ferrians if Keaton showed symptoms of mental illness as he was growing up. Memories, precious gifts now that he’s gone, don’t offer up an answer. Keaton was a sensitive and compassionate boy. Ferrians can still picture her young son standing in a neighbor’s house, a skinny arm wrapped around a friend’s shoulder, comforting the boy, whose father had died.

Keaton was “pure love,” his friend Tanissa Lavigne-Thomas said. Family and friends could count on him for an encouraging text message at just the right time. Tense moments dissolved into laughter with one of Keaton’s goofy faces. In photographs, he was rarely without a smile. Yet, in the last year of his life, Keaton wasn’t so quick to ham it up for the camera and his eyes lost some of their mischief.

The first manic episode struck in late 2013 while Keaton was staying with his mom on Lopez Island. Her gentle son screamed at someone she couldn’t see. Keaton didn’t remember breaking a door, or punching a tree, or the helicopter ride to a Bellingham hospital.

His parents plunged into the unfamiliar, consulting therapists and researching mental illness. They jumped through the endless hoops to get Keaton the right treatment. Meanwhile, their son’s easygoing nature was fading under the weight of his illness. It crashed against him like the waves he’d watched reshape the shoreline.

At Swedish Hospital in Edmonds, Keaton was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed antipsychotics. Encouraged to focus on his health, Keaton rested, read and built a garden bed outside his family’s Coupeville house. He and his dad jogged the island’s rolling green hills.

When the symptoms retreated, Keaton stopped taking the antipsychotics. An aspiring writer, he didn’t like the way they dulled his senses and ambushed his creativity. Keaton dreamed of being able to support himself as a writer and performed his poetry on street corners.

His parents were in the early stages of trying to understand Keaton’s illness. Their strong, healthy son was vulnerable to an unseen wound. They didn’t know how far it reached or where it would lead.

“I would never describe Keaton as mentally ill. For me, I saw it as episodic and we didn’t have enough time to understand how, or if, his daily life would be affected,” Ferrians said.

Keaton wondered if he would feel like himself again. Could he go back? Would people treat him the same? He didn’t want to tell some of his friends and family about his hospital stay. His brain had betrayed him. His dad said it’s not easy to say those words, to believe that you can still be the wizard who loves watching the Detroit Lions and making your little sisters laugh.

Fred Farris urged Keaton to take the medication. He didn’t want Keaton to be defined by the label on a prescription bottle but Farris believed it helped his son even out. They had some tough conversations about how to deal with Keaton’s illness.

Keaton believed he needed sunshine and the outdoors. Those had always been part of his life, his peace. He also believed marijuana would keep the symptoms at bay.

Although he still moved around a bit, Keaton retreated back to Lopez Island, working toward finding a place of his own with friends and a job, exploring his independence and writing more.

“Nothing feels better than creating. Anything from a good hearty meal, to a scribble on a yellow notepad, to a fine-knitted tapestry, or even a long epic hymn; we are meant to create,” Keaton wrote on his Facebook page in October 2013. “You should never let fear strip you of anything, especially the most liberating feeling you’ll ever know. So write a better movie! A better song! Paint something absolutely mind bending! Create dammit. Create, for we were created to create.”

Shuffled among jails

Keaton’s legal troubles came in March when San Juan County prosecutors charged him with identity theft. Court records say Keaton forged a $354.72 check in January. He didn’t try to cover his tracks, writing his driver’s license number on the stolen check he cashed in Friday Harbor.

The theft caught his parents off guard. Keaton was never a kid who asked for much, satisfied with some new socks, underwear or a shirt at Christmas. After the theft, Keaton didn’t contact family for several days. Stealing wasn’t in his nature and his dad wonders if it was the start of a relapse. “I can’t assume it was, but maybe,” Fred Farris said.

Talking with his dad, an embarrassed Keaton agreed he had to take responsibility. “You need to figure this part out,” Fred Farris told him. Keaton, along with his mom, showed up for his arraignment March 13. The hearing was bumped a week so Keaton could find his own lawyer. He told his mom the public defender didn’t like him.

Keaton’s stress and anxiety over the upcoming hearing bubbled to the surface. He was determined to make it right, picking out new pants and shoes at a thrift store for his next court appearance. He asked his mom if he should get a haircut, joking that girls liked his curls. Keaton planned to meet his mom so she could take him back to Lopez Island the day before the hearing. She would be in Everett and he was staying with friends in the Lynnwood area. But Keaton lost his phone and he never made it home.

The next day Keaton sought help at the Edmonds hospital where he was first diagnosed. Doctors gave him anti-anxiety medication and wrote him a new prescription. Hours later a Lynnwood police officer found Keaton outside a bank after employees called about a man acting strangely. Keaton told the officer he was trying to project his thoughts on people in the bank and admitted he was off his medication, though, he added, the officer’s badge was making him feel better.

Because Keaton didn’t show up for court, a San Juan County judge had issued a $10,000 warrant for his arrest, so the Lynnwood officer booked him into the city jail. At intake, Keaton said he took medication for anxiety and panic attacks but he wasn’t suicidal. Records show Keaton didn’t sign the intake paperwork and staff wrote that he was “FTC/220,” meaning he wasn’t complying with officer’s instructions and likely had some mental health issues. Before sunrise Keaton was sent to the Snohomish County Jail pending another move, to Skagit County’s lockup. The hand-off was part of the transport agreement among the regional jails.

Changes have been made in the Snohomish County Jail in recent years. Medical screening and booking restrictions are more stringent, which isn’t popular with some police departments under pressure to clean up the streets. The jail has been the county’s de facto mental health hospital, homeless shelter and detox facility.

But Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary argues that jail isn’t the place for nonviolent offenders with medical and mental health issues. Incarceration is expensive and doesn’t fix anything.

Yet, with a felony warrant, Snohomish County let Keaton in.

At booking a nurse examined Keaton, reporting that he denied any mental health issues. Staff there suspected Keaton had taken more anti-anxiety medication than prescribed based on how many pills were left in the bottle he was carrying. They started checking on him every hour to make sure he wasn’t going through withdrawals. A nurse saw him three times that first day. Nurses checked his vital signs seven different times during his four-day stay. Snohomish County records documented how much fluid he took, measured in cups.

Corrections officers moved Keaton to an observation unit a few hours after he was booked, noting that he may have some mental health issues. A corrections officer recommended a mental health professional talk with Keaton. The next day the behavioral health worker ordered 30-minute safety checks.

Those steps are from lessons learned the hard way. The mental health provider later wrote that if Keaton were released from jail, he should be evaluated for involuntary treatment at a psychiatric facility. He “is unwilling or unable to communicate verbally. He is presenting symptoms consistent with psychosis,” the provider wrote.

The records don’t say if there was a conversation alerting San Juan County authorities to Keaton’s condition. Instead he was passed along to Skagit County, a move that was delayed a day because Keaton wouldn’t cooperate. Shuttle staff told Skagit County jailers Keaton was zapped with a stun gun while in Snohomish County. There is nothing in the records that indicate Keaton was ever shot with a Taser.

Skagit County corrections officers put Keaton in an observation cell near the booking station because he wouldn’t talk and they didn’t have much information about his condition. They told Island County, which provides jail services for San Juan County, to send two officers when they picked him up the next day.

Only one officer showed up. Keaton resisted being put in handcuffs and tried to bite an officer. He was placed in a restraint chair, wouldn’t talk to a nurse and refused to take his medication. Records show that Skagit County was aware that Keaton had bipolar disorder and had, as someone there noted, “disorganized, bizarre thought content.” A San Juan County sheriff’s lieutenant requested a mental health professional see Keaton in Skagit County. Meanwhile Keaton’s public defender was trying to arrange a competency hearing.

But a mental health professional in Skagit County refused to do an evaluation saying the request was “too vague” and Keaton was another jurisdiction’s problem, according to the investigation. Keaton was strapped to a restraint chair for hours waiting for Island County corrections officers to sort out transportation. The next day, March 26, he was moved to the jail in Coupeville.

Wasting away

Keaton’s reputation as a problem inmate followed him to Island County and he was locked in a padded safety cell with no window, sink or toilet. The jail nurse, Nancy Barker, was on vacation and didn’t see him. Neither did a mental health professional.

“When Mr. Farris came in we had no idea that he had a mental health condition whatsoever (sic). I’m not sure if he did,” jail chief De Dennis later told investigators.

Island County didn’t get Keaton’s medical records from the other jails. Barker said jails are inconsistent about sharing inmates’ records. Even after Keaton’s death detectives were told they must obtain his parents’ written permission before Snohomish County and Lynnwood would release records.

Jail Lt. Pam McCarty said she put Keaton in the solitary cell because he was “resistive.” Corrections officers never saw Keaton act violent, according to the investigation. One officer said Keaton grabbed his hand through the handcuff port but the officer pulled away without being hurt. Even so corrections officers were advised to be in pairs if they opened Keaton’s cell or moved him.

Two officers later reported seeing Keaton gagging on a rag he’d stuffed in his mouth. Instead of entering his cell, the officers asked McCarty what to do. She told them to “leave that man alone,” records said.

Keaton didn’t have access to water during the four days he was in the padded cell and was reliant on corrections officers, who were supposed to check on him every hour. Officers told the detective there wasn’t a policy that spelled out how much water to give inmates or how to monitor their fluid intake, or what to do if an inmate refused water. Yet officers should have noted if Keaton refused water or meals, the jail chief said.

If inmates are not drinking or eating, “they’re going to see a nurse or the nurse is coming down to see them and then … we may just transfer them to a hospital,” he said.

One thing corrections officers did notice was Keaton’s erratic behavior. They wrote in their notes that he repeatedly removed his pants, banged on his cell and talked to himself. He wanted to know when he could leave and asked for water but dumped it on his head or spit it out.

On the first available visiting day, Keaton’s aunt, Tamara Fralic, went to see him. She was unaware of his condition. McCarty told her that Keaton wasn’t cooperating so they couldn’t move him to the regular visiting area, but McCarty agreed to let her see Keaton in the safety cell.

Fralic crouched down and peered through the slot in the door. Keaton sat up when he heard her voice. His hair was in his eyes. She encouraged him to follow orders and he’d be out in no time. She assured him that once he was in the jail’s general population he could play cards and have visitors. He nodded.

About an hour later, the jail called Fralic to say her nephew was out of the padded cell. They didn’t tell her he ate crumbs off the floor and wiped the toilet grate with his underwear before wiping his face. They didn’t tell her Keaton crawled out of the cell.

In his new cell for only 15 minutes Keaton pressed the call light. He had plugged the toilet with a pillow. Keaton was playing in the water and asked for a lemon wedge. The officers shut off the water to the cell but didn’t initiate safety protocols. They didn’t check on him every hour even though he didn’t have access to water. They claimed they offered him water at every meal but the records aren’t clear if that happened.

“We were hoping that might even spur some communication. We didn’t see the reason for a safety cell,” McCarty said.

At his court hearing in San Juan County the next day, Keaton wouldn’t talk to his lawyer or cooperate with deputies. A judge ordered a state psychologist to evaluate Keaton to determine if was competent to assist his lawyer and discouraged Keaton’s mother from posting bail.

The deputies agreed to let Ferrians see her son. Strapped to a restraint chair, Keaton’s bare feet were shackled and his hands were cuffed behind his back. Hair hung in his eyes and his beard was unkempt. She couldn’t see his cheeks and the jail smock hid his weight loss. Keaton raised his head and said, “Hey, Mom.” Ferrians wasn’t allowed to touch her son or even get close.

“The deputies asked him three times if he needed anything. He said, he’d like some water, an apple and some Chicaoji,” a Lopez Island hot sauce, she said.

Keaton started twisting his feet and a deputy told Ferrians to leave. “We love you. We don’t know what you’re going through but we’re here for you,” she said.

Keaton’s lips trembled.

“I left traumatized with the judge’s voice in my head,” Ferrians said. “At that point, I figured we had to let the process work through.”

Fred Farris tried to see his son. He wanted Keaton to sign a medical release form so doctors at Group Health could call the jail and discuss his condition. Farris thought that would help get Keaton his medication. Farris was told that his son was in solitary confinement. He wasn’t a threat to anyone or himself. He wasn’t talking, though.

“I told them if he got his medication, they’d like him,” Farris said. “I think he probably would have been immediately manageable if he’d been given his medication.”

Keaton’s aunt called the jail nine times during the two weeks her nephew was there. “I was told everything was fine, and I would tell his dad ‘everything is fine, no problem,’” Fralic said.

On April 4 corrections officers found Keaton naked on the cell floor pretending to swim in the water he’d splashed out of the toilet. They pulled him out and put him in a warm shower. He refused to come out and ate a bar of soap. Corrections officers moved him to a third cell, closer to their main desk so they could keep an eye on him.

“They did it because he seemed out of sorts, even for him,” McCarty said.

The water was shut off in the cell but corrections officers didn’t initiate safety cell protocols until the following evening. They also filled out a medical request asking the nurse to see Keaton.

Barker stood outside Keaton’s cell on April 6 — 12 days after he was first booked into the Island County Jail. She looked through a small window in the door. Keaton was lying on the floor with his feet propped on the toilet. Barker told him she was the nurse. He mumbled and then said something like, “I need a medical professional.” She asked how he was doing.

“Not good,” he said but didn’t elaborate when Barker asked what he meant.

She asked Keaton if he knew where he was. “Jail,” he answered.

Barker stood at the door for two minutes, never going inside. She later told a detective she didn’t ask the corrections officers to open the door because she “had heard everybody talking about … what a behavioral problem he was and he was known to be violent and disruptive and uncooperative.”

Barker also acknowledged that her evaluation wasn’t good enough. She said she didn’t think she could demand that the officers open the door. She didn’t arrange to have a doctor visit Keaton and there are no records that she spoke to the jail chief or lieutenant about her patient.

A Western State Hospital psychologist stopped by Keaton’s cell about an hour after Barker. He was there to evaluate three other inmates, and the jail chief asked him to check on Keaton. The psychologist, acknowledging the long delays at the hospital, told the jail chief, “it’ll be June before we even see that guy.” The psychologist observed Keaton only through the window but didn’t enter the cell. Keaton appeared to be talking to someone in the cell but didn’t respond to questions. The psychologist sent Fred Farris an email, saying Keaton wasn’t competent and he was recommending admission to Western State Hospital for treatment.

Ferrians and her mother tried to visit that same day. They were eager to talk to Keaton, to see his face. It was visiting day at the jail, but McCarty said she couldn’t let the women in because it wouldn’t be fair to the inmate housed next to Keaton. She reassured them that Keaton had eaten breakfast and told them he wasn’t being combative or violent, although he wasn’t talking or taking orders.

A corrections officer told the detective her last conversation with Keaton was likely that day. Officers offered him some water and he asked for 99 more cups. They told him to drink the water he already had.

Corrections officers’ logs show Keaton refused water just after midnight on April 7, but drank about two ounces around 3 a.m. before spilling the rest. He refused breakfast and at 10:17 a.m. a corrections officer observed Keaton “laying on floor/moaning.” The officers gave him lunch and water at 11:30 a.m. but there isn’t another entry in the log until 3 p.m. when a corrections officer wrote, “sleeping on floor.”

According to the records, Keaton wasn’t offered food or water again until 4:30 p.m. The officers picked up his plate an hour later.

A corrections officer didn’t check on Keaton again until 8:30 p.m. The officer wrote that Keaton was breathing. But that contradicts findings by Island County Coroner Robert Bishop, who estimated that Keaton died around 7:30 p.m.

Wallace, the sheriff’s detective, later determined that corrections officers Mark Moffit and David Lind forged four entries after Keaton was found dead. Moffit noted that Keaton moved at 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. and Lind wrote that he checked on Keaton at 10:30 p.m. and an hour later.

At 12:30 a.m. on April 8, five hours after Keaton’s death, an officer tapped on the cell window. Keaton didn’t move or say anything so the officer nudged him with a baton. Keaton was naked and propped up near the door. His eyes were open and he was cold to the touch.

“He was a young man with health insurance and a family who was really aware and advocating for him and we couldn’t effect change on all of the decisions that were made,” his mom said. “They didn’t see Keaton the way we see him.”

Grief and questions

Keaton’s parents filed a claim against Island County, hoping to force sweeping changes at the jail. There are so many questions, so much that doesn’t make sense.

Why weren’t changes made after the last death at the jail?

Why was he moved to two different jails after the mental health provider at the Snohomish County Jail deemed him “gravely disabled?”

Why didn’t anyone see that he was suffering?

His family is demanding answers, an accounting for what happened to Keaton and the way he was treated. What happened to him was more than incompetence or simple missteps, Ferrians said. Her son was in crisis and he was mistreated for days. Why did no one speak up? Why did no one see her son as a human being?

Ferrians says her grief is suspended as she waits for action. She can’t go to the grocery store for toothpaste without someone in her small community recognizing her as the mom whose son died in jail. She, Farris and the rest of the family feel a responsibility to seek justice, to get assurances that no other son or daughter will suffer the way Keaton did.

Ferrians is learning more about the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the initiatives the group supports that call for compassionate treatment for people living with mental illnesses. She has researched the Stepping Up Initiative, a national movement to reduce the number of mentally ill inmates in jails.

“It’s hard to read headlines that call your son mentally ill. That didn’t define him and it shouldn’t have led to his death,” she said. “He was the light of my life.”

She will continue giving Keaton’s sisters his beloved “Calvin and Hobbes” collection. She will reread his writings. They make her think about love and compassion. She misses the friendship that fed her spirit.

Fred Farris has followed others across the nation who are calling for reform. He is wading into those waters, talking to other parents and inmates and reluctantly taking up the torch for a cause that was forced on him. He and his family have protested outside the jail. They wear T-shirts that Farris designed, a silhouette of Keaton with a saying of his: “I see your hate and raise you One Love.”

“I see there needs to be change. It’s hard to get past the human part of this, though, just to see past the part of them not giving someone enough food or water,” Farris said.

He last saw his son on March 8. That day, Keaton’s sisters set up a table outside the market on Lopez Island to sell Girl Scout cookies. Keaton had picked up a job chopping wood nearby. He took an hour off to surprise them. Keaton bought the girls their favorite candy — banana-flavored Laffy Taffy for Vivian and Dots for Mia.

Keaton reassured his dad that he would take care of his legal troubles. The two embraced, a big back-pounding, bear hug.

“He said, ‘I’m real happy right now, Dad. I know you won’t believe me, but I am,’” Farris said.

Farris told his son he loved him. He wanted Keaton to be happy.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dianahefley.

Vivian Farris, 10, made this video in tribute to her older brother, Keaton Farris.

What Jail Can’t Cure
Part 1: The justice system fails Keaton Farris
Part 2: A sheriff refuses to ‘warehouse the mentally ill’
Part 3: Cops and social workers team up on the streets
Part 4: With help, a homeless alcoholic finds redemption

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Homeowners Jim and Chris Hall stand beneath their new heat pump, at right, inside their Whidbey Island home on Thursday, Sep. 7, 2023, near Langley, Washington. The couple, who are from Alaska, have decreased their use of their wood burning stove to reduce their carbon footprint. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County to start ‘kicking gas’ in push for all-electric homes

Last year, 118 Whidbey Island homes installed energy-efficient heat pumps. A new campaign aims to make the case for induction stoves now, too.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Construction occurs at 16104 Cascadian Way in Bothell, Washington on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County real estate values tick up 4.5% in assessor’s report

You’ve got mail: The Snohomish County Assessor’s Office will send property tax statements this week.

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