National News

Ex-Idaho lawmaker kills himself amid sex abuse investigation

Posted January 11, 2018 11:27 a.m. EST

— A former Idaho state representative who resigned last fall amid sexual abuse accusations has killed himself, officials said.

Former Republican state Rep. Brandon Hixon, 36, died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris told CNN.

Hixon's death follows the December death of Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, also a Republican, who had been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2013. Johnson died a day after denying the allegations, and the Bullitt County, Kentucky, coroner ruled the death a suicide.

Hixon, who was in his third term, resigned from the Idaho legislature in late October. Shortly after the resignation, reports in local media said Hixon was under investigation for sexual abuse, with the Idaho Statesman citing the state attorney general's office in its news report.

Idaho Speaker of the House Rep. Scott Bedke announced Hixon's death Tuesday on the chamber floor.

"Our thoughts go to his family and friends who are suffering from his loss," said Bedke, who did not respond to CNN's request for further comment.

Sex abuse case rises to state level

The Canyon County prosecutor's office initially handled the complaint against Hixon, county spokesman Joe Decker told CNN. The investigation was transferred to the state attorney general "due to a conflict of interest," according to a document provided to CNN by Scott Graf, director of constituent affairs for the Idaho Office of the Attorney General.

The document notes that the case relates to "Brandon Hixon, Sexual Abuse Allegations."

The attorney general's office would not comment further on the sexual abuse accusations against Hixon.

Hixon's legal troubles continued after he resigned from the legislature. He was arrested on December 9 and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and resisting arrest, Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesman Patrick Orr told CNN.

Hixon was arrested again later in December for "suspicion of driving under the influence," Capt. Devin Riley of the Caldwell Police Department told CNN.

Alleged victims were minors, ex-wife says

Hixon's ex-wife, Danielle Eirvin Hixon, told CNN that the alleged victims in the sexual abuse case against her former husband were two underage girls. She said one of the alleged victims told her about the suspected sexual abuse in October.

Eirvin Hixon, who was married to Hixon for 10 years before they divorced in May 2016, said it was the first she'd learned of abuse allegations against Hixon.

Eirvin Hixon told CNN she's speaking out because she wants to help the alleged victims.

"It isn't fair for his victims that they be silenced because he's no longer here," Eirvin Hixon told CNN.

Eirvin Hixon told CNN she was due to testify before a grand jury considering the allegations against Hixon on Wednesday morning, the day after he killed himself.

The Idaho attorney general's office would not comment on Eirvin Hixon's assertions.