He wasn’t a terrible person, he needed help

Robert Travers, 50, and Carol Lama had been long time friends. They met when they were three and had kept in touch throughout the years.

As a teen, Travers began using drugs, and became addicted. However, in 1998 Travers had completed a rehab program and had come out clean and sober. Carol Lama offered him a place in her home. And reportedly the two had a brief romantic relationship at that time, however that didn't work out.

Lama says she helped him to move out to an apartment of his own. And the two evidently kept in touch. According to Lama, in May she recieved an email from Travers, threatening to harm himself. She went to his home, pounding on the door and when she did not get an answer, she broke a glass to gain entry. She found Travers unconcious, beside two empty pill bottles. She contacted 911, and arranged for him to be taken to the hospital. And was suprised when they released him the same day.

His landlord's have said that Travers appeared emaciated. And that he had not paid rent in eight months, but that he was trying to get his life together.

After the suicide attempt, Travers reportedly began threatening Lama. Lama says that she has a new boyfriend, and that Travers was afraid that she wouldn't have time for him any longer. She helped him find a therapist and she went to his first appointment with him.

Reportedly Travers had previously broken into her home. And allegedly he had abused her in the past and that he had begun stalking her. She warned him that she was sleeping with a loaded gun by her bed. She says she didn't report his threats to police, because she didn't want him to lose the new job he had gotten.

Early Saturday morning, Lama says she was awakened by the sound of her door opening. Then he said her name. She reportedly asked hiim not to kill her, and she says she saw a weapon in his waistband. As he charged toward the bed, she shot and killed him. Police say he was armed with a pellet gun.

Lama was not harmed, nor were her son or his girlfriend who were also sleeping in the home.

The investigation into the crime is continuing. Lama has not been charged with a crime. Statements have been taken and will be reviewed by the district attorney.

How Travers got into the home is not clear. According to Lama, she doesn't know how Travers got into her home. And she says "It's not a thing someone should ever have to do," "He wasn't a terrible person. He just needed help."



Coming out of rehab, he immediately found a "savior" who offered a place to live, friendship, and even a romantic relationship. And though the romantic relationship is reported to have been short term, lasting only a couple of months, the ongoing friendship he had with her- I can see him confusing his sobriety as being dependent on her support. And thus a new boyfriend could seem to threaten both his well being and his sobriety. I wonder if he had possibly turned to drugs again? The comment about him being emaciated, troubles me. It could be a sign of a physical illness, mental problems, or drug usage.

The fact that it is unclear how he entered the home, is troubling. Still having lived there, and been a long time visitor, he would have known which doors or windows might have been prone to being left unlocked.

He attempted suicide, and she stopped him. Right away, he seems to begin threatening her. I wonder if she had ever advised his therapist of the threats? Certainly his suicide, his threats to her could have resulted in a psychiatric hold in a hospital if the therapist considered them to be credible indications of "threatening harm to self or others". Yes, it could have caused him to lose his job, a job he had obtained recently after a long period of unemployment. But it could have prevented the tragic result.

Still, it is easier to stand outside the situation and say 'should have done this, should have done that' than to have lived through it.    

To learn more about the warning signs of mental illness, click here. If you know of someone with these signs, be sure to discuss them with the persons doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist.



  1. Bruce said,

    June 26, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Hi, I’m Bruce. Some of you may have seen me on an MTV-award-nominated hit music video by a band called Cake. I’m a shrink by day, and a singer/songwriter by night. I’m known as the “original blog ‘n’ roller,” because I invented a new style of posting blog comments, known as “blog ‘n’ roll,” in which I combine traditional comments with original “blog ‘n roll” statements like this one, which addresses the issue of domestic violence, (and has become nearly as popular as another song of mine Black Santa, which appeared on the top 30 among mp3 download hits back in December of 2005):

    Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
    [audio src="http://www.drblt.com/music/MRSjones.mp3" /]

  2. Bruce said,

    June 26, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Correction: That link should be:

    [audio src="http://www.drblt.com/music/MRSJones.mp3" /]

  3. Soobs said,

    June 27, 2006 at 12:48 am

    I hate spammers.

  4. June 27, 2006 at 12:53 am

    I don’t have speakers. I will leave it up once if it is about domestic violence. Otherwise it comes down.

  5. Soobs said,

    June 27, 2006 at 3:48 am

    I didn’t even listen to it. It just seemed to be advertising himself. Sorry, couldn’t stop my fingers from posting. LIke now. 🙂

  6. CAROL LAMA said,

    August 8, 2010 at 4:11 am

    My name is Carol lama although I dont use the name anymore . This story is about me. I suffer everyday from this . I just wanted to comment on a few questions . First .. let me assure you this was very very involved but No one would listen to me or help . After Robert tried to commit suicide I called the hospital and I begged them to keep him .. when they released him I called them again and asked them how they could do that . They were No help. I got him pyschiatric help .. yes he had been doing drugs ( perhaps prescription which is what got him hooked again..he was drinking.. he was gambling .. he was commiting violent acts and he was lying so that I wouldnt find out he was doing all those things .. I was blind and stupid .. I believed him..he even swore on his dead mother that he was 100 percent clean , no drinking..no drugs..no gambling.. no hurting people physically..all lies!

    Robert wouldnt see a therapist without me..so I went there with him .. and yes he and I told her all that was going on .. She could have done something but I think perhaps after listening to him she was afraid of him.. since soon she dropped him and gave him a referral ..( which I didnt know she dropped him) but if I had known ..I aslo knew he would not have gone to another doctor .

    How did he get in .. I think at some point he stole my keys and had one made .. I was missing my house key after we went shopping with Robert one day long before any of this happened but i wont swear that is how..I honestly dont know..

    I do know after I emptied the room.. my bedroom where it happened .. I found two hidden taperecorders behind my dressers .. the police missed these in their search .. he really did hide them well

    and on another note.. I didnt report him to the police but I spoke with them about robert and all that was going on .. I did this on more then one occasion … I asked for advice as to what I should do ..I wont go into it much here but it also was No help .. I was adviced against restraining order being told it might make things worse and I was told verbal threats were not a crime .. and if I had him arrested lets say for trespassing.. he would get out fast and me having him arrested would make him worse .. I tried to consider all options ..

    and last I called his sister who he loved ..and begged and pleaded with her for help .. to talk to him .. to commit him .. to do something….anything

    No one would help with his threats.. I told them he was hearing voices .. I told them he was seriously threatening terrible violence towards me and “my family” .. he threatened to kill my sisters and even my parents who he once loved and respected .. I begged and pleaded with people who could have helped.. but I also knew he was capable of hurting or killing my family .. so I did everything to keep them out .. I was afraid for them ..

    I changed my phone number .. I told him he needed to continue with seeing his therapist ( little did I know she dumped him) .. he was beyond reasoning with .. but I told him if he got real help and stuck with it .. that one day we could be friends again .. I didnt believe that , but hoped it would keep him calm .. buy me time .. buy him time

    The system failed Robert …. his environment failed him .. his family failed him .. his doctors failed him .. Robert failed him self .. and last I failed him

    and after all is said and done .. I loved the Robert who was my best friend .. the one who swore he would never hurt me .. he told me he understood that I wanted to start dating..after all it was” 6 years” after our brief bf/gf relationship had ended … we reamined friends as we had been before .. we were best friends .. NOTHING romantic … I signed him up for a dating site too .. and yes he emialed women .. I hoped he would meet someone .. I wanted him to be happy ..


    I am the one who has such deep sadness .. who suffers alone ..and I have had serious medical issues since .. that I think are a result of this tragedy .. Robert did kill both of us that day .. I am just on borrowed time ..

  7. Angela Steenport Cordero said,

    October 19, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Carol, this is Angela from CA. Please get in touch with me if you want to talk. I remember you from long along and you would never harm anyone unless you thought your or your family was in danger. I am on Facebook and sent a msg to your eldest son. You can reach me that way if you choose. Blessings to you,

    Your long lost friend,

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