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UPDATE: Beloved sheriff's deputy dies at home on Thanksgiving Day

Deputy Devin Freeman, who served at two schools, fought cancer for 6 years

Posted: November 29, 2013 11:18 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2013 1:59 p.m.
Deputy Devin Freeman, left, and Deputy M. McPheeters check out Beale's Cut in the Newhall Pass in this undated photo. Deputy Devin Freeman, left, and Deputy M. McPheeters check out Beale's Cut in the Newhall Pass in this undated photo.
Deputy Devin Freeman, left, and Deputy M. McPheeters check out Beale's Cut in the Newhall Pass in this undated photo.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s Deputy Devin Freeman, who worked as a resource officer at Canyon High School and Sierra Vista Junior High School, died at home on Thanksgiving Day after a six-year battle with cancer, a spokesman said today. He was 38.

“He passed in his favorite chair, surrounded in his girls’ blankets, pillows and pictures they have drawn him over the past few months,” Freeman’s wife, Meghan, wrote in a message she shared with deputies.

“His mom (was) on one side and I on the other. He was surrounded by love and his last word to me were, ‘I love you too,’” she wrote.

Freeman was beloved by the schools he served as resource officer. When his cancer escalated last spring and he had to go to Philadelphia for special treatments, the Canyon High School community converted a planned school event into a fundraiser for the Freeman family, and thousands turned out to support the deputy and his family.

“This is all just community, this is all just family,” Canyon High School student government adviser Mike Motherspaw said of the crowd during the fundraiser in early May. “And it’s not just students. I’ve seen more alumni here than I’ve seen at some homecoming games.”

His fellow Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies also admired Freeman and considered him a good man and a hard-working deputy, said Deputy Josh Dubin.

“His locker was right next to mine. We would see each other at the start of our shifts. I would put on my uniform and talk to him every day,” Dubin said. “It’s sad.”

Freeman was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2007, according to a statement from his wife, but for years he showed no signs of it slowing down, Dubin said. In addition to working at both Canyon High and Sierra Vista Junior High schools, Freeman helped out with the Crime Prevention Unit, the detective unit and with the off-road motorcycle team.

In the spring of this year, however, Freeman’s health declined.

“He started to feel pain,” Dubin said.

“On Thursday, April 18, 2013, Devin was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma to the liver,” his wife wrote. “He has multiple lesions spread throughout the liver.”

“What’s shocking is just how aggressive this cancer was,” Dubin said. “He worked up until he started to go to Philadelphia (for treatments) in May.”

His fellow deputies are in the process of organizing a tribute in Freeman’s honor, he said.

Students and staff at both the high school and junior high school are going to miss him, Canyon High School Principal Mike Kuhlman said Friday.

“All the Canyon family, everyone who had a chance to know or work with him, is deeply saddened,” he said. “He really was a great guy.

“He had that ability to enforce the rules and maintain the respect of the students,” Kuhlman said. “He had such a positive demeanor. He was always such a positive guy.

“We really love him and we really miss him,” he said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt





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