Melissa Etheridge’s son slid into opioid addiction after accident

EXCLUSIVE: ‘His helmet was split like a watermelon.’ Melissa Etheridge’s son slid into fatal opioid addiction after the singer ignored his request for help when he suffered ‘major injuries’ from nightmare snowboard accident, girlfriend claims

  • Melissa Etheridge’s son Beckett slid into a fatal opioid addiction after a nightmare snowboard accident when he was 17, DailyMail.com can reveal  
  • The 21-year-old died of an overdose at his Denver, Colorado apartment on May 13
  • His ex-girlfriend Hailey Lavelle said Beckett never got the care he needed after the accident and instead ended up turning to drugs to ease his pain
  • She said: ‘He passed out in the air and fell 40 feet, landing on his head. They showed me his helmet. It was split in half like a watermelon’
  • Lavelle added: ‘He had a major concussion and he broke his ankle and his foot as well. I believe it resulted in a brain injury that was never treated’ 
  • Beckett had called his music star mother for their insurance details to go to the doctor, but she was about to go on stage and the details were never sent 
  • Lavelle said: ‘Nothing was taken care of, no medicine, nothing. He began to self-medicate — at first it was just weed, then he got cough syrup with codeine in it’ 
  • She added: ‘The real story is that he got hurt and he didn’t get the proper help for it and that just led to a domino effect of horrible, horrible events’

The tragic slide into opioid addiction that killed Melissa Etheridge’s son all started when he suffered horrendous head and foot injuries in a nightmare snowboard accident, DailyMail.com can reveal.

But Beckett Cypheridge — who died aged 21 from an overdose on May 13 — never got the care he needed and instead ended up turning to drugs to ease the pain, his former girlfriend said in an exclusive interview.

‘He passed out in the air and fell 40 feet, landing on his head,’ Hailey Lavelle explained. ‘They showed me his helmet. It was split in half like a watermelon.

‘He had a major concussion and he broke his ankle and his foot as well. I believe it resulted in a brain injury that was never treated. It’s the same that you see in football players. He took a hard hit to the head and nothing was fixed afterwards.

‘His addiction did not come from boredom or the celebrity lifestyle that he was born into,’ Lavelle, 23, insisted. ‘It came from him making the decision to self-medicate for the pain he was going through each and every day.’

Up until the February 2016 accident, Cypheridge, who was found dead in his Denver apartment, had been an outstanding snowboarder and was gunning for a place in the X Games. 

The tragic slide into opioid addiction that killed Melissa Etheridge's son Beckett all started when he suffered horrendous head and foot injuries in a nightmare snowboard accident, DailyMail.com can reveal

The tragic slide into opioid addiction that killed Melissa Etheridge’s son Beckett all started when he suffered horrendous head and foot injuries in a nightmare snowboard accident, DailyMail.com can reveal

The 21-year-old died of an overdose at his Denver, Colorado apartment on May 13. Up until the February 2016 accident, Cypheridge, who was found dead in his Denver apartment, had been an outstanding snowboarder and was gunning for a place in the X Games

The 21-year-old died of an overdose at his Denver, Colorado apartment on May 13. Up until the February 2016 accident, Cypheridge, who was found dead in his Denver apartment, had been an outstanding snowboarder and was gunning for a place in the X Games

Beckett had called his country music star mother for their insurance details to go to the doctor after the accident, but she was about to go on stage and it was never sent. Pictured: Etheridge and Beckett in 2011

Beckett had called his country music star mother for their insurance details to go to the doctor after the accident, but she was about to go on stage and it was never sent. Pictured: Etheridge and Beckett in 2011 

His ex-girlfriend Hailey Lavelle (pictured) said Beckett never got the care he needed after the accident and instead ended up turning to drugs to ease the pain She said: 'He passed out in the air and fell 40 feet, landing on his head. They showed me his helmet. It was split in half like a watermelon'

His ex-girlfriend Hailey Lavelle (pictured) said Beckett never got the care he needed after the accident and instead ended up turning to drugs to ease the pain She said: ‘He passed out in the air and fell 40 feet, landing on his head. They showed me his helmet. It was split in half like a watermelon’

‘He was very fit — he had to be,’ said Lavelle, who was selected to represent the United States at the 2015 Under-19 World Lacrosse Championships in Scotland. 

‘Other people would snowboard for a full day and then take a few days off, but not Beckett. He rode every single day, all day long, just doing what he loved — and that’s why I fell in love with him.

‘He was an amazing snowboarder, he had no fear,’ added Lavelle, now a senior at Arizona State University. ‘He would throw himself off the jump because he enjoyed the adrenaline rush.’

Lavelle met Cypheridge on a ski trip to Snowmass, Colorado in late 2015, and they immediately started dating. Within weeks the teens were living together.

He was on the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s team, training on the slopes used in the X Games when he had his accident. He was treated on-site and sent home.

‘I told him: From what I knew you’re not supposed to go to bed after a concussion. So, let’s stay awake,’ Lavelle said. ‘Let’s call your mom get some insurance information so we can bring you to the doctor.’ But those insurance details never came. 

Etheridge, now 58, was on tour and when her son called she was just about to go on stage. 

‘There was a miscommunication between the two of them and the communication got less and less and we never got the insurance card,’ Lavelle said.

‘He was never able to go to a doctor. At that point, and not being in school, he had nothing to do but ride. He wanted to go back and ride.’ 

Lavelle met Cypheridge on a ski trip to Snowmass, Colorado in late 2015, and they immediately started dating. Within weeks the teens were living together

He was on the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club's team, training on the slopes used in the X Games when he had his accident. He was treated on-site and sent home

Lavelle met Cypheridge on a ski trip to Snowmass, Colorado in late 2015 (pictured left and right), and they immediately started dating. Within weeks the teens were living together. He was on the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s team, training on the slopes used in the X Games when he had his accident. He was treated on-site and sent home

'He was an amazing snowboarder, he had no fear,' added Lavelle, now a senior at Arizona State University. 'He would throw himself off the jump because he enjoyed the adrenaline rush.' Pictured: Beckett (center) with friends in Sandpoint Idaho in 2014

‘He was an amazing snowboarder, he had no fear,’ added Lavelle, now a senior at Arizona State University. ‘He would throw himself off the jump because he enjoyed the adrenaline rush.’ Pictured: Beckett (center) with friends in Sandpoint Idaho in 2014

At the time of the accident, Cypheridge was just 17. His girlfriend was 18. 'We were just children — what did we know?' she asked. 'We didn't understand that we could tell the doctors to charge us and once we get the insurance card, we'd make it work. We were both so young, we didn't know anything. The communication with his family got less and less and we never did get insurance, so he never went to the doctor'

At the time of the accident, Cypheridge was just 17. His girlfriend was 18. ‘We were just children — what did we know?’ she asked. ‘We didn’t understand that we could tell the doctors to charge us and once we get the insurance card, we’d make it work. We were both so young, we didn’t know anything. The communication with his family got less and less and we never did get insurance, so he never went to the doctor’

So Lavelle bought some Ace bandages and taped up her boyfriend's foot so he could get back on the slopes. Just three days after the accident he was snowboarding again. 'I thought: You want to ride, I'll tape it up and you can go. And a few weeks later we realized that wasn't going to work and we couldn't get in contact with his family.' Pictured: Beckett with Etheridge (center) and Etheridge's wife Linda Wallem

So Lavelle bought some Ace bandages and taped up her boyfriend’s foot so he could get back on the slopes. Just three days after the accident he was snowboarding again. ‘I thought: You want to ride, I’ll tape it up and you can go. And a few weeks later we realized that wasn’t going to work and we couldn’t get in contact with his family.’ Pictured: Beckett with Etheridge (center) and Etheridge’s wife Linda Wallem

So Lavelle bought some Ace bandages and taped up her boyfriend’s foot so he could get back on the slopes. Just three days after the accident he was snowboarding again.

‘I thought: You want to ride, I’ll tape it up and you can go. And a few weeks later we realized that wasn’t going to work and we couldn’t get in contact with his family.’

At the time, Cypheridge was just 17. His girlfriend was 18. ‘We were just children — what did we know?’ she asked.

‘We didn’t understand that we could tell the doctors to charge us and once we get the insurance card, we’d make it work. We were both so young, we didn’t know anything.

‘The communication with his family got less and less and we never did get insurance, so he never went to the doctor.’ 

Etheridge’s rep did not respond to requests for comment

Cypheridge — who was the biological son of rocker David Crosby and Etheridge’s then-partner Julie Cypher — tried to continue snowboarding. ‘But every day he came home his foot was purple,’ said Lavelle.

As the weeks went by, he was not getting better. ‘He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t even go out in the living room because of his concussion,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘Nothing was taken care of, no medicine, nothing. I noticed he began to self-medicate — at first it was just weed, then he got cough syrup with codeine in it.’

With that medicine he started to make ‘lean’ — a highly intoxicating mixture of the syrup and Sprite, also known as ‘purple drank’. 

As the weeks went by, Beckett was not getting better. 'He couldn't walk, he couldn't even go out in the living room because of his concussion,' she told DailyMail.com. 'Nothing was taken care of, no medicine, nothing. I noticed he began to self-medicate — at first it was just weed, then he got cough syrup with codeine in it.' Pictured: A video of Beckett taking a hit of an unidentified substance from a large bong

As the weeks went by, Beckett was not getting better. ‘He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t even go out in the living room because of his concussion,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘Nothing was taken care of, no medicine, nothing. I noticed he began to self-medicate — at first it was just weed, then he got cough syrup with codeine in it.’ Pictured: A video of Beckett taking a hit of an unidentified substance from a large bong

Beckett also posted a video showing off a large collection of modified guns he amassed

Beckett also posted a video showing off a large collection of modified guns he amassed

Beckett also posted a video showing off a large collection of modified guns he amassed

Beckett, who used the last name 'Cypheridge' which combines Etheridge's name with that of her ex-wife Julie Cypher. Friends previously told DailyMail.com he was notorious for knocking on his neighbors' doors late at night to ask for baking soda which can be used to turn cocaine into smokable crack

Beckett, who used the last name ‘Cypheridge’ which combines Etheridge’s name with that of her ex-wife Julie Cypher. Friends previously told DailyMail.com he was notorious for knocking on his neighbors’ doors late at night to ask for baking soda which can be used to turn cocaine into smokable crack

As he showed no sign of improving, the young couple moved to Los Angeles to live with Etheridge and her wife Linda Wallem.

‘I don’t think until then Melissa was aware of the extent of his injuries,’ Lavelle said.

But back in LA, Cypheridge started to spend entire days in his room. The only times he left was to hook up with drug dealers. ‘That was when he began to self-medicate with opioids,’ said Lavelle.

‘He was very depressed. He would just lie there. All he knew was snowboarding, and that had suddenly been taken away from him.

Lavelle said Cypheridge only had a ninth-grade education as he had spent nearly all of his teenage years in various special schools and wilderness programs. ‘The only thing he knew, the only constant in his life, was snowboarding, so when that was eliminated you can imagine how it made him feel.

‘He felt kind of worthless. He didn’t have anything to do.’

Melissa realized things weren’t working at home, so after just three weeks, she sent her son to work on a marijuana farm that she had an ownership interest in in Santa Cruz, California.

‘I don’t think anyone was prepared for what happened when we got up there,’ said Lavelle. ‘Beckett never started working. He didn’t want to work.

‘He was very depressed. He would stay up for days just sitting there, smoking, watching videos, vaping. He never wanted to go to the beach. He didn’t sleep for days.’

He started meeting people at 2am. ‘I believe they were drug dealers,’ said Lavelle. ‘He was self-medicating every day. He needed something to get up and walk. He was walking with a limp. Over time it became normal. He kind of got used to that pain.’

After Beckett started shooting heroin, Lavelle told Etheridge, who sent him to rehab — one of five spells he would have. That is when the young couple parted ways and Lavelle, who grew up near Syracuse, New York, moved to Arizona for school. But they remained friends, bonding particularly over Bodi, a German shepherd that Cypheridge had bought her as a thank you present for looking after him

After Beckett started shooting heroin, Lavelle told Etheridge, who sent him to rehab — one of five spells he would have. That is when the young couple parted ways and Lavelle, who grew up near Syracuse, New York, moved to Arizona for school. But they remained friends, bonding particularly over Bodi, a German shepherd that Cypheridge had bought her as a thank you present for looking after him

'He would actually drive down here to Arizona to see Bodi,' (pictured) she said. 'He'd ask me to send him pictures. He said seeing Bodi kept him alive

Beckett with Bondi

‘He would actually drive down here to Arizona to see Bodi,’ (pictured left and right) she said. ‘He’d ask me to send him pictures. He said seeing Bodi kept him alive

As DailyMail.com reported exclusively last week, Cypheridge died in his $3,500-a-month apartment in downtown Denver after a massive two-month bender. Friend Joe Kayafas, 38, said: 'He was an animal. I have never seen people do that much drugs'

As DailyMail.com reported exclusively last week, Cypheridge died in his $3,500-a-month apartment in downtown Denver after a massive two-month bender. Friend Joe Kayafas, 38, said: ‘He was an animal. I have never seen people do that much drugs’ 

His final two months were spent in Denver where according to Kayafas, he made money by dabbling in bitcoin trading. Pictured: The apartment complex Beckett was living in at the time of his overdose

His final two months were spent in Denver where according to Kayafas, he made money by dabbling in bitcoin trading. Pictured: The apartment complex Beckett was living in at the time of his overdose 

From there he started shooting heroin. Lavelle told Etheridge who sent him to rehab — one of five spells he would have.

That is when the young couple parted ways and Lavelle, who grew up near Syracuse, New York, moved to Arizona for school. But they remained friends, bonding particularly over Bodi, a German shepherd that Cypheridge had bought her as a thank you present for looking after him.

‘He would actually drive down here to Arizona to see Bodi,’ she said. ‘He’d ask me to send him pictures. He said seeing Bodi kept him alive.

Cypheridge stayed in Colorado, getting a job as a bellboy at the Westin Snowmass Resort. ‘But carrying people’s luggage hurt because of his foot,’ his ex said.

‘That was the only job he ever had. He hadn’t got his GED, he didn’t graduate high school and without those things it’s very hard for you to do anything,’ Lavelle said.

As DailyMail.com reported exclusively last week, Cypheridge died in his $3,500-a-month apartment in downtown Denver after a massive two-month bender. Friend Joe Kayafas, 38, said: ‘He was an animal. I have never seen people do that much drugs.’

Lavelle, who has already taken advantage of Arizona’s loosening of coronavirus restrictions to get a feather tattoo in memory of Cypheridge, said he knew he was on a path of self-destruction. He told her that when he died it was up to her to tell the true story of his life.

‘He told me that multiple times. The story that’s out there is that he was a drug addict, a privileged boy living off his parents’ money in Denver.

‘But the real story is that he got hurt and he didn’t get the proper help for it and that just led to a domino effect of horrible, horrible events.’ 

Melissa Etheridge’s son Beckett wondered if he got his ‘addictive personality’ from his biological father David Crosby

Beckett Cypheridge would never boast about his famous parents. In fact, girlfriend Hailey Lavelle only found out that Melissa Etheridge was his mother and David Crosby was his father when he played his guitar weeks into their relationship.

‘We had friends visiting and I asked him, how do you know how to do that so well? All his friends started laughing and asking if I knew who his parents are,’ she said.

‘They said he had a pretty good coach and that’s when he told me his mom was Melissa Etheridge.

‘I’d never even heard the name,’ she admitted. ‘I had to ask my mother who Melissa Etheridge was!’

It was only later that she learned that Crosby had been the sperm donor for both Beckett and his older sister Bailey, now 23.

Beckett's ex-girlfriend Hailey Lavelle insists that David Crosby, 71, was never a factor in Beckett's life, despite the iconic rocker protesting that he had been, following the boy's death. 'He knew that David Crosby had had a past of drug abuse, and he said: ''Maybe that's where I got my addictive personality, it's a genetic trait.'' In the back of his head, he knew that and may have resented him for it,' she said

Beckett’s ex-girlfriend Hailey Lavelle insists that David Crosby, 71, was never a factor in Beckett’s life, despite the iconic rocker protesting that he had been, following the boy’s death. ‘He knew that David Crosby had had a past of drug abuse, and he said: ”Maybe that’s where I got my addictive personality, it’s a genetic trait.” In the back of his head, he knew that and may have resented him for it,’ she said 

Lavelle insists that Crosby, 71, was never a factor in Beckett’s life, despite the iconic rocker protesting that he had been, following the boy’s death.

‘He knew that David Crosby had had a past of drug abuse, and he said: ‘Maybe that’s where I got my addictive personality, it’s a genetic trait.’

‘In the back of his head, he knew that and may have resented him for it.’

Lavelle said Beckett loved Etheridge and was much closer to her than to his other mother, Julie Cypher. ‘He called Melissa Big Papa — that was his nickname for her. All he wanted was her attention and her love.

‘And he loved his siblings, he would have done anything for them. Not just Bailey, but the twins Melissa had with Tammy Lynn Michaels and Glynnis, who is Julie’s daughter.

‘I just hope they can see that their older brother was an amazing, caring, compassionate person who fell into a deep dark hole of addiction and could not find his way out.

‘He wanted his siblings to have a different life than he did. He knew how easy it was to get drugs and he wanted to make sure they would not go down the same path he did.’

Beckett, whose father was iconic musician David Crosby (right), grew up in Hidden Hills, California, with Etheridge, Julie Cypher (left) and his older sister Bailey

Beckett, whose father was iconic musician David Crosby (right), grew up in Hidden Hills, California, with Etheridge, Julie Cypher (left) and his older sister Bailey

There were other aspects of her boyfriend’s privileged upbringing that surprised Lavelle.

‘I don’t want to say he was coddled, but he was certainly carried. For instance, he didn’t know how to shop. He asked me once: ‘How do you know where everything is in the grocery store?’ I said: ‘You look up at the signs.’

‘He’d never been in a supermarket. People did that sort of thing for him.

‘You are going to come out of that one way or the other. You’re either going to have the network that you grew up with that will help you get places — and that’s Bailey who is very a very strong woman and very successful, she went to Columbia and now works for Goldman Sachs — or you’re going to fall behind and you’re going to struggle — and that was Beckett.

‘He thought snowboarding was the one thing that was going to get him there, but after the accident his dreams were crushed.

‘He felt useless. He felt alone. And if you knew Beckett you would know he always wanted to be around people.

‘What has affected me the most is knowing that he died alone.’ 

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