SAN FRANCISCO—A father and his 9-year-old son were found dead Wednesday, January 13 just after 6:07 p.m. in the Marina District of San Francisco on the 3800 block of Scott Street. The father has been identified as Stephen O’Loughlin and the son has been identified as Pierce O’Loughlin.
The bodies were found in the father’s home during a well-being check after the mother Lesley Hu, went to see her son at school, but his teacher informed her that Pierce hadn’t been at school all day. Hu went to her ex-husband’s home knocked on the door and called out, but the curtains were drawn and there was no answer. After not getting an answer she went to the police station and that’s when they performed a wellness check and found the two bodies in the home. The son was found dead and father was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The death is being ruled as a murder-suicide. O’Loughlin and Hu had been involved in a series of lengthy legal battles dating back five years. Hu petitioned for full custody of son Pierce, in July nearly four years after the couple divorced in November 2016 citing her ex-husband’s refusal to let their son get vaccinations. Both of them shared physical and legal custody over Pierce’s medical decisions since the divorce meaning that both of them had to approve vaccinations.
O’Loughlin was an ally of the anti-vaxxer movement and refused to allow Pierce to get vaccinated, which Hu says jeopardized Pierce’s health and potentially enrolling in school. In court documents Hu states that her ex-husband’s stance took on a cult-like tone. She suggested that O’Loughlin’s stance stemmed from a new-age, self-help group where he had spent thousands of dollars on sessions with the organization. In his own court filings, O’Loughlin argued that his aversion to Pierce’s vaccinations were rooted in concern for his son’s health, saying that Pierce suffered from side effects as a young child such as vomiting and drastic weight loss. Hu refuted those claims and said that there was no evidence that their son ever suffered from vaccination side effects.
On June 30, 2015 Governor Brown signed a bill that changed immunization laws for California. The new law states, “Parents or guardians of students in any school or child-care facility, whether public or private, will no longer be allowed to submit a personal beliefs exemption to a currently-required vaccine.” The law went into effect on January 1, 2016.
That Tuesday before the bodies were discovered O’Loughlin had agreed to get Pierce vaccinated. District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani released a statement to the press saying, “We need tighter gun laws and a much stronger mental healthcare system.”