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Friday, June 26, 2020

Mystery: Paul Deering

It’s been a really, really hellish past month for me; so much so that I cannot go into any reasonable detail without tearing up. The abridged version is that I’ve gone through a ridiculous amount of emotional and mental trauma and stress that’s caused me to take a serious break from writing and admittedly, I should probably not be sitting here writing this story. However, I wanted to have something up on the blog for this month. So let’s stop with the idle chatter and dive into the story of Paul Deering.

The Story

Let’s take a trip back to Thursday, October 21, 1993. At around 7:30 P.M. at Hyatt Regency Hotel (which is located near Los Angeles International Airport in California). A man signed in using the name “Paul Deering” checked into the hotel; he gave the address of 790 East Ute, which was located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Paul was given the key to room 346 and was set to check out the following day (though some have argued that it was actually the 23rd that he was supposed to leave). Either way, it wasn’t until the aforementioned 23rd that the staff realized that Paul hadn’t signed out. They went to the room and entered, only to discover Paul on his bed. Upon closer examination, they discovered that he was deceased; he’d ingested a lethal amount of cyanide.

Authorities immediately got to work on seeking out the next of kin, but things took a really bizarre turn when they went to the address that Paul had given. As it would turn out, 790 East Ute. was in fact the residence of Paul Deering—the living Paul Deering. Indeed, the man who called himself Paul Deering (boy, I’ve said that name quite a lot haven’t I?) was not, well, Paul Deering. He was an imposter; an identity thief. Though why? Well, that’s a question that remains unsolved almost three decades later—as does the question of who exactly the man who called himself Paul Deering was.

The man who used Paul’s name (who I will still refer to as Paul for the sake of consistency) was a Caucasian man with brown hair and blue eyes. He stood at 5 feet 9 inches (roughly 1.7 meters) and weighed 182 pounds (82 kilograms). He wore a wedding ring on his left hand and also had the keys to a BMW. Beyond that, Paul had nothing of real merit on him besides some clothing.

Close to 27 years later, the case of Paul Deering remains as baffling as ever. Although his fingerprints were taken, they’ve never matched with anyone. Whether or not the real Paul Deering was ever questioned about the decadent and man who stole his identity, I do not know. Information on this case is rather minimal and that’s quite disappointing given that it seems like it’d be something that a lot of armchair sleuths would be interested in. However, unless I’ve grown rusty in my absence from writing, I cannot find anything. Because of that, I would like to move onto the theories section. So yeah, let’s go.


1. He was depressed

I’m unable to find any theories as to who Paul was in life, but there are some out there that propose as to why he committed suicide. The first of these is arguably the most likely and, to a degree, logical: he was suffering from severe depression and opted to commit suicide. As for why he picked such a brutal way to carry that out—what with cyanide causing your body’s cells to not be capable of utilizing oxygen (effectively causing you to suffocate from the inside)—I don’t know. It’s possible that Paul believed that cyanide would be an easy, painless way out, or perhaps it was some sort of self-inflicted form of retribution/penance. I can say from experience that I’ve inflicted pain upon myself as a form of penance because I believed that I did warranted it, but I digress. This is neither the time nor the place to put myself into the forefront.

Paul’s method of committing suicide is ultimately not one that’s abnormal. Ingesting poison deliberately is a rather common method of suicide, though cyanide’s an exceptionally dangerous and painful (albeit very, very effective) toxin. So if Paul was adamant about his desire to die, he likely swallowed cyanide and then rested on his bed until he died. As for why he did this, there are a multitude of possibilities. The first is that he was divorced and wore his wedding ring as a reminder of a happier time, but the sorrow he felt from that time finally overwhelmed him until he couldn’t bear the weight anymore.

A second possibility is that Paul simply suffered from depression; no one thing caused it. Rather, it was merely a severe chemical imbalance and it finally overwhelmed him (as it did in the previous theory) and he found himself at the mercy of his own emotions. He couldn’t handle it anymore and thus, he took his own life.

This is, honestly, where the theories end. I’ve been unable to find anything else that would suggest Paul was anything other than a depressive—though even that’s up for debate. While he did assume another man’s identity, I cannot find a single thing that states that he knew the real Paul Deering or vice-versa. I could conjure up theories of my own, but there’s so little to go off of that it’s next to impossible to speculate on what happened. For all intents and purposes: the man who called himself Paul Deering appeared out of nowhere and then died at his own hands. So let’s simply move on.

My Take

Depression is ultimately an insidious being that can eat away at you and make you feel hopeless. It’s possible that nobody who Paul knew being there for him caused him to descend into the darkest parts a human can ever be. In the past month-and-a-half, I’ve felt the same way that Paul potentially may have in his final days and to a degree, I can empathize with him. Suicide was something I always had a mixed outlook on, but after experiencing such emotions and thoughts for myself, it’s radically altered my perspective on them. Therefore, I really, really believe that this is likely what happened to Paul. A man who’d hit rock bottom and had no will to get out; everyone he knew was likely hundreds of miles away, he had no way to get in contact with them, and his world had crumbled.

While saying that he’d lost the will to live may seem like a low blow, depression is one of those things that can truly take away every bit of hope you’ve ever had and turn it to dust; there truly is nothing left when depression is left to fester and spread. It’s a sadistic, cruel mistress and it can do things to even the happiest of souls you’d think wasn’t possible—even drive them to suicide.

This is one reason that I think Paul was the victim of depression. I cannot begin to speculate on who he was, but I can speculate on why he did it. Depression can cause even those that seem happier than a child in a toy store to end their own lives and in the case of Paul, nothing indicates he was something “special”, like a criminal or government official. He seemed like a normal person who likely lived in a normal life, but deep down, he’d lost his desire to live. So, he opted to ingest cyanide.

That manner of suicide is one that admittedly makes me scratch my head. As I said when we got to the theories section, cyanide is a brutal way to end your life. However, given depictions of it in entertainment media as being something that works as quickly as 1-2-dead, I would hazard a guess and say that Paul potentially believed it would be a swift death, but learned the hard way that it’s not. Though as stated in the theories section, it could have been a form of self penance.

As for him assuming another man’s identity, I would argue it’s possible that he maybe knew Paul Deering in passing and simply assumed his identity, but for what reason: I cannot tell you. Many unidentified suicide victims have used aliases or assumed another person’s identity, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary with Paul. However, the fact the real Paul Deering lacks any sort of quote (from what I can tell anyways) about the man who took his identity is quite peculiar to me. Though that’s simply my view on it.


The man who called himself Paul Deering is but one of many, many unidentified persons in the United States, let alone around the world. His story, however, is particularly interesting to me. It’s a case with but a handful of puzzle pieces; I would say that over 90% of the puzzle has yet to be put together. Perhaps in the near future it will be. However, until that day, we can only speculate on who he was and why he took his own life.

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