Authorities say the 31-year-old woman walked into the park on crutches on June 19 and read a statement about homelessness and mental health issues. Moments later, she set herself on fire. Some bystanders attempted to put the fire out, though Sagal later died from injuries.
“We asked them why they’d done it,” one witness, Peter Stratacos, told Oregon Live. “They said it was because they were homeless and they didn’t know what else to do.”
Sagal was best known for her horror game “Homesick,” which follows the story of a woman searching for her friends inside the house where her family was murdered. She also made headlines in 2013 when she ran an Indiegogo campaign that was ostensibly for metal poisoning treatment. But, according to Eurogamer, the money was instead used for gender alteration surgery.
Sagal’s friends tell Oregon Live she had physical difficulties and struggled with mental illness for many years. They also said she was the target of a persistent online bullying campaign by Kiwi Farms, which the New Yorker once described as “the web’s biggest community of stalkers” that “specializes in harassing people they perceive as being mentally ill or sexually deviant in some way.” The group allegedly began harassing Sagal on various social media platforms after the Indiegogo campaign.
“One factor that made it much harder for her to get help was that whenever she talked about suicide [Kiwi Farms] would report her Facebook page and get it locked down,” Sagal’s friend, AJ Luxton, told Oregon Live. “This had happened multiple times in the month prior to her death.”
“She was one of the most brilliant, and tortured artists I have ever known,” said her friend Jasmine Barlow.