Bullying | Michigan | News

Bullied Gay Michigan Teen Commits Suicide

Josh Pacheco, a high school junior from Fenton, Michigan, committed suicide on November 27. His parents, Lynnette and Michael Capeheart, believe anti-gay bullying is to blame MLive reports:

PachecoHe told his mother he was gay just two months ago, but Capehart said she wasn't surprised and she said it made no difference to her. She loved her son just the same...

...Lynnette and stepfather Michael Capehart said they didn't know until recently that Pacheco was bullied.

Capehart said her first indication that there was a problem came after the homecoming dance on Oct. 6. She was out of town, so she called to see how the dance was. It was the only one he attended this fall.  Pacheco was upset and crying, but wouldn’t tell her why, Capehart said.

After his death, she found out from students that her son had been pushed into lockers and teased at school. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t tell many people about it, Lynnette Capehart said, because Pacheco never wanted to make anyone else upset.

Pacheco's depression worsened and his parents made an appointment for him to see a counselor, but it was apparently too late:

Around lunch time on Nov. 27, Michael Capehart saw Josh's Facebook status, quoting a line from Bilbo Baggins, a character in the "Lord of the Rings" movies: "I regret to announce that this is the end. I'm going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye."

It immediately worried Michael Capehart. Pacheco was home sick that day, so Capehart called his neighbor to check on Pacheco. He was found unresponsive in his truck, which had been running in the closed-up garage.

He left a note in the truck: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough."

Pacheco's parents heard more tales of bullying after his death, but school officials say none was ever reported. School officials have accelerated plans for an anti-bullying hotline.

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  1. I wonder what the actual tipping point in human tragedy will have to be for this to eventually stop and for real progress at local/state/federal levels to stop the senseless deaths of our children.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 5, 2012 3:01:15 PM

  2. It doesn't matter how many stories like this I read, I get choked up every time. So sad... :(

    Posted by: Luke | Dec 5, 2012 3:06:46 PM

  3. I seriously hope the bullies are identified and brought up on charges. I hate reading these stories :(

    Posted by: Austin | Dec 5, 2012 3:09:00 PM

  4. Hmmm, I wonder if there is a better way to reach these kids than it gets better. I wonder if in their addled minds, the message of several older gays "succeeding" later in life just adds to their depression.

    I wonder if the message would be better suited to the parents. It is becoming a legitimate thing to talk to your kids about suicide. These parents got on the ball too late and probably didn't have the tools to address a suicidal teen.

    Next time I donate to the it gets better project I am going to suggest an earmark for parental resources.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Dec 5, 2012 3:10:18 PM

  5. You can't tell me school staff did not know this was going on. They know EVERYTHING. Nothing is sacred in schools....gossip gets around quickly. They just chose to DO nothing.

    Posted by: Stephen | Dec 5, 2012 3:10:37 PM

  6. You can't tell me school staff did not know this was going on. They know EVERYTHING. Nothing is sacred in schools....gossip gets around quickly. They just chose to DO nothing.

    Posted by: Stephen | Dec 5, 2012 3:10:38 PM

  7. FENROX --
    yes there is and its called Equalize Youth. We're starting a netroots movement, connecting each of our stories, coping mechanisms, and mere existence... to our schools and communities, on a map interface.

    Posted by: Derek | Dec 5, 2012 3:16:03 PM

  8. F Michigan - its a HATE STATE and they're PROUD of it......avoid it like the plague of hate and Bigotry it is.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Dec 5, 2012 3:21:00 PM

  9. As someone who was bullied throughout school, I feel confident in saying there is no way that school administrators and teachers had no idea the bullying as happening. However, if they were somehow completly unaware of what was gonig on, then that raises the question of where in the hell they are during the day and who is monitoring the students.

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 5, 2012 3:25:20 PM

  10. Well, that was full of typos but you get my point.

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 5, 2012 3:25:48 PM

  11. michigan. right. the state where republicans gutted the safe-schools anti-bullying policies in order to allow "Christian kids" the freedom to hate on their gay classmates, for religious reasons.

    we hear stories like this all too often - the picked on kid who is ashamed and embarrassed to admit to their family that they're the target of hatred. and who can blame them? we keep seeing school officials and politicians side with the bullies!

    we've lost another brother.

    there are ways, however, to send specific and applicable messages of not just hope, but directions to improve one's life.
    you need not just say "hey, it gets better"

    you can make a video and show, specifically, how one can make life better NOW not just for themselves, but for their friends and family members.

    i encourage any and all to do just that.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 5, 2012 3:26:46 PM

  12. @Derek, I like that sit , thanks for the info. I would still like a link at the top that says "Parents" where parents can watch videos of how to have that frank talk with your kid about the pressures of suicide.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Dec 5, 2012 3:30:07 PM

  13. Michigan is not "a hate state and proud of it." Like most states in the union, it's a mix of equality minded progressives and bigots. Holding an entire state accountable for the actions of a few is incredibly stupid.

    Posted by: OddBet | Dec 5, 2012 3:31:04 PM

  14. Guys! Guys! Guys! DO NOT kill yourself! KILL THE BULLY INSTEAD! After a few of those hit the news, people will stop bullying. It's the old Mafia tactic; it DOES work. If you think you might DIE if you do something, you generally won't do it. DEAD BULLIES DON'T BULLY!

    Posted by: Patriot | Dec 5, 2012 3:42:03 PM

  15. I was reading this story in just a "casually-browsing-Towleroad" manner until I got to the part about him leaving a note that said "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough." That literally knocked the wind out of me. If that doesn't make you choke up a little bit, I'm not sure what will.

    Posted by: ATLJason | Dec 5, 2012 3:44:54 PM

  16. How can we get the message to LGBT youths there is hope, future and help for them. This is so sad. So very sad.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Dec 5, 2012 3:45:06 PM

  17. OddBet - Noooo - look up Michigan and LGBT RIGHTS - there is practically NONE in Michigan..NONE! F Michigan

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Dec 5, 2012 3:47:00 PM

  18. Unfortunately, what State Senator Gretchen Whitmer said last year came true...sad


    Posted by: Dave in PA | Dec 5, 2012 3:52:42 PM

  19. Michigan has a lot to answer for.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 5, 2012 3:53:12 PM

  20. This makes me so sad. My heart breaks for his parents and friends. He looks like such a sweet kid. I look at that picture and see a bright future filled with so much joy...I hate that he couldn't see that too. I wish I knew the answer to all of this. I don't want to read one more story like this.

    Posted by: Bryan | Dec 5, 2012 3:58:16 PM

  21. That poor poor young man. My condolences.

    Posted by: Will | Dec 5, 2012 3:59:36 PM

  22. It is just so freaking SAD.

    Posted by: mike | Dec 5, 2012 4:05:31 PM

  23. I'm so tired of reading stories like this and reading that his note read "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough" makes me want to scream and cry. And go bully-hunting.

    I know it's wrong, blaming the victim, but these stories also make me want to shake the kid and demand to know why. Why couldn't they hold on for just a little while longer?


    Posted by: Caliban | Dec 5, 2012 4:07:41 PM

  24. I don't want to blame the parents, BUT this is the issue now with gay kids and accepting parents. Accepting is great, but do not assume that just because you accept and support your kids everything will be fine.

    The moment you find your kid is gay (or even well before), educate yourselves about issues affecting gay kids. Actively work with the school to make it a safer place. Do not assume the world is gay-friendly!!!! It isn't!

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 5, 2012 4:10:58 PM

  25. I think this, more than anything else, should be galvanizing TEACHERS to Come Out. we all know our straight teachers. with gay teachers it's almost always speculation.

    confirm it. COME OUT. show your students that they too can live upstanding open and honest lives.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 5, 2012 4:17:50 PM

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