Google Suicide Victim Identified, Remembered as brilliant engineer

A brilliant software engineer who leaped to his death from the 14th floor of Google’s Manhattan HQ earlier this month was identified as 31 year old Kevin Rawlings. Less than three months earlier, another worker at the search engine giant’s Manhattan office took his own life, although there does not appear to be a connection between the two incidents.

| 19 May 2023 | 11:44

The 31 year old Google software engineer who took his own life on May 4 by jumping from the 14th floor of the tech giant’s New York City HQ in Chelsea was described by one college friend as brilliant mind who graduated from Carnegie Mellon but was prone to deep and debilitating depression.

Police this week identified the suicide victim as Kevin Rawlings a senior engineer at Google. He was a computer science major with a degree from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University who spent seven and a half years working for Google over three different employement stints.

College fraternity brother Jesse Salazar said Rawlings was an outgoing, fun loving guy until a close family member fell ill in Rawling’s junior year, sending him spiraling into deep depression.

“He had a 4.0 straight through until then,” said Salazar. “He stopped going to classes, started drinking heavily, and not coming out of his room.”

He said frat brothers had petitioned professors to at least let him try to pass the final exams and he said they managed to get him to study intensely for a few days before he took the exams. “He got above a 3.9--a 3.98 or 3.99,” Salazar recalled. “He was brilliant.” He said his friend went on to graduate with a near perfect 4.0 and seemed to have gotten over the paralyzing depression for awhile.

But in 2019, his older brother Robert passed away suddenly at the age of 34 and then COVID-19 hit.

Salazar also said he was difficult to keep in contact with him in recent years and he had not learned about his friend’s passing until contacted by this reporter.

”We had wild, spontaneous fun in his college years,” recalled Salazar, “He was very outgoing.”

”I don’t know what to think about what happened there,” said Salazar. “I do know one thing, it would have had nothing to do with the workload at Google. He eats problem solving for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Google was like his safe place if that makes any sense.”

Rawlings had worked at Google for three separate stretches and in his last most recent stretch was there from August 2022 until he took his own life around 11:30 pm on May 4, by jumping off the 14th floor of Google’s HQ in Chelsea on Eighth Ave and 15th Street.

Police had discovered Rawlings unconscious in the street outside Google’s Chelsea Headquarters after responding to numerous 911 calls. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Prior to returning to Google in August, 2022, he had worked at Hudson River Trading for a year from Feb. 2021 until Feb. 2022. Executives there did not return messages seeking comment. He had spent two earlier stints at Google, from Jan. 2020 until Jan. 2021 and a three year stretch from November 2013 until December 2016, sandwiched around a year spent working at Mountain View, CA-based Waymo, which was the self driving car division at Google which it eventually spun off.

During his college years, he had interned for three years at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD and in 2008 created a tool for real-time 3D visualization and measurement of nanostructures. It earned him the Issac Newton Award for Outstanding Projects from the Washington Academy of Sciences, according to Rawlings Linked in page.

“Growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, Kevin excelled at sports, including baseball and swimming,” according to an obituary posted on by his family. “He was an enthusiastic runner and weight-lifter, always trying to outdo his personal best records. Kevin enjoyed playing Texas Hold’em with friends, and recently started playing pickleball and kickball.”

The obituary said he is survived by his parents, Mark and Barbara Rawlings of Lake Frederick, VA, his paternal grandmother, Norma Rawlings of Ellicott City, MD, his sister Jennifer Wernly (Mark) of Norfolk, VA, and his three nieces, Anna, Eleanor, and Kara.

“Kevin was a wonderful son, sibling, and Uncle, and we will forever miss him dearly,” the obituary stated. Plans for a remembrance service were still being formulated at the time of publication.

He was the second Google worker to take his own life in NYC this year although the two do not appear to be connected.

On Feb. 16th, the NYPD discovered 33 year old Jacob Pratt dead after apparently hanging himself in his Chelsea apartment on the corner of W. 26th St. and Sixth Ave.

Straus News has reached out to Google for comment, but had not heard back at the time of publication.