Show Mobile Navigation
           
Humans |

10 Heartbreaking Accounts of Child Suicide

by Jaydon Colin-Michael Nolan
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Suicide is a difficult subject to address. There are far too many tragic stories of people who felt the only way to escape their troubles was to take their own lives. When the people at the center of these events are children, the dreadful emotions we feel are amplified. In this list, we’ll look at some of the shocking motives and piteous stories of children who ended their own lives, horrifically from as young as 6 years old!

10Ryan Halligan

On the night of October 7th, 2003, the lives of John and Kelly Halligan were changed forever when they discovered that their thirteen-year-old son, Ryan, had committed suicide by hanging.

Traumatized by the horrific and tragic situation they’d been thrown into, the parents of Ryan searched desperately for answers as to why their son would feel so lost that he felt suicide was his only option. Ryan had been described as a lovely child who was always able to make people smile. Why such a sweet and happy seeming child would commit suicide was a huge mystery to all.

Between the fifth and seventh grades, Ryan began to suffer intense bullying from his schoolmates leading him to confess a fear of going back to school. His parents advocated the seemingly reasonable approach of talking to the headmaster, an idea opposed by Ryan, who feared it would make matters worse. Ryan, instead, began to learn how to fight and consequently used his new skills to defend himself. This seemed to finally solve the problem.

However, unbeknownst to his parents, the bullying continued online. Comments were made about his sexuality, and even his girlfriend joined in telling online friends that she had gone out with him for a joke. It was ultimately too much for Ryan to bear, and he killed himself at the tender age of thirteen.

9Tyler Clementi

During the summer following his high school graduation, Tyler Clementi decided to openly talk about his sexuality. Despite this being a difficult time for him, Tyler was able to happily begin University.

Everything seemed to be going well for Tyler, who showed exceptional talent as a violinist, allowing him to participate in an orchestra comprised mostly of older students. In addition to this, Tyler began to date men. His college roommate Dharum Ravi respected Tyler’s request for privacy, and Tyler entered a relatively happy part of his life for the first time. However, Tyler didn’t know that Ravi had set up a hidden camera in their room and began sharing intimate footage of Tyler and his dates with his friends. The footage went viral, and Tyler became the target of intense ridicule.

Overwhelmed by guilt, shame, and a sense of betrayal, eighteen-year-old Tyler killed himself by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. Ravi was sentenced to thirty days in Jail for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy.


8Beth Wilkinson

BethWilkinsonVigil

Beth Wilkinson was a seventeen-year-old British girl who suffered sporadically from mental health troubles. During her bad times, she would self-harm and, at one point, attempted to kill herself. The laudable efforts of the local police prevented a tragedy from happening. Four years earlier, Beth was given help from the Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Their involvement in her life intensified after the suicide attempt. However, this help was not enough, and seven months later, on the night of December eighteen, Eileen Flanagan, Beth’s school teacher received a horrifying phone call from Beth.

Beth called Eileen to thank her for her efforts in attempting to give Beth a positive outlook on life. Eileen noticed the sound of wind in the background and, given the emotional nature of the phone call and foreknowledge of Beth’s mental health troubles, Eileen asked with concern where Beth was calling from. She confessed that she was standing on the other side of the rails at the Humber Bridge. Despite Eileen’s efforts to calm her, Beth ended the phone call after informing her that a Police officer was coming.

The officer reportedly said to Beth, “please don’t do this in front of me,” which was part of the officer’s training. However, at that point, Beth tragically jumped into the water below. It wasn’t until May 24th that a fisherman discovered her body on a neighbouring shore.

7Leelah Alcorn

652fe75ae3934fa73449e1cf080c43c9

On December 28th, 2014, Leelah Alcorn committed suicide by walking into the path of a truck. Before the incident, she had scheduled a post on her public Tumblr page to go live after her death.

In her final message, Leelah stated, “my death has to mean something.” She wrote about her struggles as a young transgender woman, detailing her to wish to live as a woman with her Christian parents, who had denied her request, claiming it to be an insult to God. The post broke the hearts of thousands of readers, who actively shared the message to publicize the tragedy.

After her death, Leelah’s mother still refused to use female pronouns for her daughter and would only refer to her by her given name of Joshua. She also refused to allow Leelah’s best friend, who had supported her decision to live as a woman, to attend the funeral.

The horrific death created a platform for many transgender people, both young and old, to speak openly about their gender identity. In addition, the exposure Leelah’s suicide message was given on social media opened the minds of many people who previously had no interest in understanding transgender issues.


6Samantha Kuberski

samantha-kuberski-of-oregon

At the age of 6, Samantha Kuberski is one of the youngest ever recorded cases of suicide.

After being sent to her room following an argument with her mother, Samantha was later discovered to have hanged herself by attaching a belt to the bar of an unused crib. Before retreating to her room, Samantha announced to her family that she was going to kill herself. However, due to her young age, many sceptics wondered if Samantha truly intended to kill herself or whether the tragedy was actually a horrible accident. The question of whether or not a 6-year-old can really be fully aware that she was going to end her life remains unanswered.

Although it is extremely rare for anyone under the age of 15 to commit suicide, it is not unheard of for people below this age bracket to be treated with anti-depressants. Studies have shown that depression can be present in children as young as 3 years old.

The true reason behind Samantha ending her own life may never truly be understood, yet the event was still a dreadful tragedy for the family and friends of the young girl.

5Evan Ziemniak

Another case involved 12-year-old Evan Ziemniak, who committed suicide in March 2016 by hanging himself after ongoing incidents of bullying at his school.

Despite Evan’s parents raising the issue of bullying with the school several times, the incidents continued. Evan’s grandmother recalled times her grandson had told her that he had been stabbed with pencils and shoved around on the school bus. She strongly believes that Evan’s reason for ending his life was his desperate attempt to escape the bullying, as Evan’s home life was a contented one with no major family arguments or disagreements.

Evan enjoyed normal things for a 12-year-old, including the popular game Minecraft. He also had an active interest in the Civil War and collecting old coins. Everyone considered him to be a polite young boy with lots of potential.


4Ronan Hughes

ronan-hughes

In 2015, a Nigerian online gang tricked 17-year-old Northern Irish Ronan Hughes into sending them intimate photos of himself. They attempted to blackmail him into sending them thousands of pounds to prevent them from posting the photos to his Facebook account.

Ronan had sent the images to the gang after being sent images of a girl he believed he was talking to. Three nights before his death, Ronan confessed to his mother the situation he found himself in. She reviewed the messages sent between the gang members and her son, where Ronan had pleaded with them not to send the images as he was “only 17”. After taking Ronan to the Police, the only officer on duty claimed there was not much he could do about the situation.

Ronan’s mother blames the lack of reassurance authorities offered her son on his suicide. She believes that if the officer had promised to contact an IT specialist as soon as he could, that her son would still be alive today. On the day he committed suicide, Ronan told his mother that a friend had received links to image files from a stranger, which she had not opened. Concerned about how her son might react, Mrs. Hughes rushed home, only to discover he had left a suicide note on the kitchen counter. She later uncovered his body in a field behind their house.

3Kenneth Weishuhn

kenneth
Until he decided to be open about his sexuality, Kenneth Weishuhn was described as a happy and popular young man. When Kenneth came out about his sexuality, he became the target of bullying from students within his school year group and his older sister’s also.

The bullying began online when Kenneth’s former friends created a hateful Facebook group. In addition to this, bullies began to phone him making death threats due to his sexuality. Despite the messages he was receiving, Kenneth disregarded the subject when his mother brought it up, claiming it was nothing serious.

Sadly, Kenneth committed suicide by hanging on April 15th, 2012, at the young age of 14. Although the event saddened his mother, she was in two minds about pressing charges against those who drove her son to commit suicide. Even though she felt justice against her son needed to be served, and somehow bullying had to stop, she was reluctant to take another child away from their parents.


2Bart Palosz

bart-palosz
After attending his first year as a sophomore at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, Bart Palosz committed suicide using the family-owned shotgun. Friends of the 15-year-old boy claimed that Bart had suffered years of bullying due to his physical appearance and Polish background. The teen was mocked for being tall—6 foot 3 inches (190cm)—and for having a Polish accent. Although his friends described him as a little awkward in his appearance, he was considered a young man with a sweet heart who generally related to adults more than students his own age.

Despite Bart’s family doing everything they could to combat the bullying situation, including frequently informing the school about the situation, Bart still suffered mockery from his peers. As he was very quiet, he didn’t show any physical signs of a child in distress. Although his family and friends knew about the bullying, his suicide was still a terrible shock that no one had anticipated.


2The Kingsley Suicides

Between June 2018 and February 2019, the small Michigan town of Kingsley was rocked by a series of three teenage suicides. Although they were not related to each other or other events that occurred in Kingsley during that time, they were, nevertheless, devastating to the family, friends, and townspeople. Within just eight months in a town of only 1,700 residents, three teens were gone forever: 16-year old DeAnte Bland, 14-year old Kayden Stone, and 14-year-old Shaelynn Pobuda.

On the first day after school ended for the summer, DeAnte Bland found himself trying to cope with the deaths of three cousins—one from liver failure in 2017, another in a car wreck the same year, and the last from suicide just a week before school got out. DeAnte had expressed thoughts of not wanting to live any longer to a friend a few months before that fateful day in June. The friend reported it, and DeAnte’s parents sought counseling for their son. After a particularly rough night where DeAnte raged about his feelings, his mom thought her son was okay. The next day, DeAnte was found dead in his room.

Just as tragedy had struck on the first day of summer vacation, it returned on the last day of summer vacation, in September 2018. While DeAnte struggled in school, Kayden Stone excelled in it. He got all As and spoke several languages. He wanted to attend an Ivy League school. He loved to argue, so he joined the debate team, exploring his favorite topics—politics and religion. In 2017, Kayden became religious and was baptized. He was an independent teen but sometimes got into trouble, causing his parents to ground him. After they took his phone away, he stormed off. Kayden was later found dead in his bedroom. Lying atop a suicide note was the wooden cross he always wore.

Then, in February 2019, tragedy would strike again. Shea Pobuda began life with a raw deal. She never knew her father and was abandoned by her mother, so she was adopted by her grandparents when she was four. Like Kayden, Shea was a good student, but unlike him, she was painfully shy. She loved to read and sing in the school choir. Then, on Super Bowl Sunday, as her grandparents watched the game in the living room, Shea tried to kill herself in her bedroom. “I almost just (killed) myself,” she wrote to a friend on Instagram. “But I’m scared to do it.” She said it hurt mentally and physically to be alive, according to a report given by the fried, who later told police she didn’t take the threat seriously. Sometime between 8:48 p.m. and the next morning at 5 a.m., Shea killed herself.

IMPORTANT: If you or anyone you know are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information, and local resources. You can also text the Crisis Text line at 741-741. This free text message service provides 24/7 support to those in crisis. Text 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor right away.

Jaydon is a 17 year old student from Britain, interested in writing and discovery. Twitter: @Jaydon_Nolan

               
fact checked by Jamie Frater