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. Hmmm, so I guess comments are only welcomed from people who live in that particular city, state or country. Got it.

    Posted by: BETTY | Dec 5, 2012 5:48:34 PM

  2. And I'll point out that Fenton is a short distance from South Lyon, MI, where that teacher that played a pro-gay rap video in class was suspended.

    Posted by: Tarc | Dec 5, 2012 5:51:03 PM

  3. Betty : People can comment from wherever they want to, I guess (It's not my blog). But be prepared to be corrected by those who have hands-on knowledge of certain places. I think that's fair.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 5, 2012 5:51:55 PM

  4. I'll also point out that Michigan is NOT a hate state - I've lived here as a gay man with my partner of 22 years for all my life. Is the current red government hositle? Yup - ALL republicans are hostile. But we certainly and unequivocally went blue in the federal elections. And we have multiple schools like the University of Michigan and cities like Ann Arbor that are on the cutting edge of gay rights. We are in the midwest, but things are evolving significantly here.

    Posted by: Tarc | Dec 5, 2012 5:54:37 PM

  5. I guess Canadians living right across the river from the area in question have no knowledge of Michigan. Seems your beef is with Kiwi.

    Posted by: BETTY | Dec 5, 2012 6:03:59 PM

  6. Betty : I certainly don't mean ALL Canadians. Many have rough lives, too. Some are in the military, overseas, etc. Anyway.. Kiwi is awful, yes. But so are Americans from Vermont.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 5, 2012 6:12:11 PM

  7. Tarc : I know a long term very happy gay male couple in Michigan too. A HUGE circle of gay friends. Very happy to live there, they are. (They're in the Detroit suburbs, though, which is way more gay-cool than the Detroit ghetto).

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 5, 2012 6:16:13 PM

  8. Michigan is an overall anti-gay state. Kiwi put it out there, and it's true. The government is anti-gay, the laws are anti-gay, the majority of the state is not gay accepting, and the legislative agenda is anti-gay. Michigan is a Democratic state but not a liberal one. Ann-Arbor, Lansing and Ferndale are accepting. Ann-Arbor is one of the most gay cities in the US but that alone doesn't make Michigan an accepting state. Michigan has severe problems, and honestly it's offensive to gloss that over or sugar coat the issues, or attack Kiwi for being Canadian because he put it out there. The rest of the country has improving to do as well, and things are worsening in some states, and getting better in others. Things have to get better in Michigan and everywhere. Do what you need to do to save lives.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 5, 2012 6:17:41 PM

  9. Francis : Well, Detroit always makes the yearly top 5 in the FBI's City Murder rates so it's not like the state doesn't have all kinds of problems. But I CAN tell you, for the guys I know there at least, it's pretty good. But that's just re. them, I know. It's a big and varied state.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 5, 2012 6:23:49 PM

  10. And Kiwi shouldn't be commenting on suicide cases at all since he used to be all over Queerty encouraging those he disagreed with politically to kill themselves because "daddy hates you." It was a regular thing with him.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 5, 2012 6:33:10 PM

  11. Detroit was named the worst city in terms of travel for anyone gay/trans and is one of the worst "notable" cities for LGBT people to live in the United States in terms of culture, laws and general acceptance. I am glad your friends are doing fine though, Yupp. Do they live in Ferndale? Ferndale is a very high-gay populated community, and thus, very gay accepting with a low hate crime rate and crime rate in general. So I'm assuming that's where they live, because Detroit suburbs are better than the city, but still touch-and-go.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 5, 2012 6:41:35 PM

  12. Everybody knows that the anti-gay Christians are behind the hate and harassment of LGBT children in our schools. I hold the anti-gay Christians responsible for the deaths of LGBT children be they kill the children with their ex gay therapy or their teaching their children how to hate LGBT people to the point of killing them. They are to blame and need to be held accountable for the deaths of gay children who are bullied to death for being gay.

    Posted by: Kit | Dec 5, 2012 7:00:50 PM

  13. @Yupp: Good luck. You are taking on Kiwi and his loyal followers Francis and Betty. Those demagogues don't like people to disagree with them. Like Benedict XVI and The Donald they THINK they know it all. They are typical authoritarian types.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 5, 2012 7:56:50 PM

  14. Couldn't read this without crying. I know that kid. I was that kid. Most of us probably were. What are we doing now to give them hope...

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 5, 2012 8:21:28 PM

  15. @Andrew: are you freaking kidding me?! I couldn't give a rats butt about Kiwi! But I WILL challenge Yupp's statement that people cannot comment on a story based on where they live. Following that logic, the only people that should be allowed to comment on this story are those who live in Michigan. I was questioning Yupp's veiled hostility at Canada, not his obvious beef with Kiwi, most other people on this board and probably all those around him. So give your head a shake.

    As for Kiwi, I mostly skip over his postings. A loyal follower? Yeah, thanks for the biggest laugh I have had all day!

    Posted by: BETTY | Dec 5, 2012 8:32:57 PM

  16. Cute kid. Sad. "I wasn't able to be strong enough." Terribly sad. 2012 and still so many feel so alone and helpless.

    Posted by: TyInTennn | Dec 5, 2012 8:51:43 PM

  17. As a Michigan resident, it's tough to be saddled with such a conservative government. But it is getting better - albeit slowly. First off, the homophobic tea-party mayor of Troy (a neighboring town) was recalled last month, and it was her anti-gay comments that helped secure her fate. Last month the Dems took six seats in the state House from the GOP. The bit about the lame-duck GOP legislature trying to pass a bill so that gays can't even adopt foster kids... yep, it's disgusting. So we're trying to make sure that the clock runs out on the legislature until the new, more moderate group comes in on Jan. 1st. Cautiously optimistic.

    Posted by: michguy | Dec 5, 2012 9:01:07 PM

  18. The most important thing you can do for a kid that you think is being bullied is to get them into a good Martial Arts school that teaches self defense and physical fitness. All bullies have one thing in common: they want to hurt other people without being hurt themselves. If they know that they may get their a$$ kicked if they bully, they wont. Also the classes will give the young boy or girl more self confidence which they usually lack. Don't wait for legislative bodies to enact anti bullying laws, empower your kid now!

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 5, 2012 9:19:52 PM

  19. What else can be said that hasn't already been said? A suicidal kid apologizing for "not being able to be strong enough?" This makes it extra sad. One thing that puzzles me though, is why with supportive parents he felt unable to go on? He could have transfered to another school if that school refused to deal with the bullying. Not trying to condemn the poor kid, I'm just genuinely puzzled. There was a time in my life that I was so devastated by workplace bullying that I actually picked up the phone to call a suicide hotline. But I had the kind of family where if you ever told anyone you thought you might be suicidal they'd get angry at you for trying to look for sympathy - you'd do better talking to a stranger. It's hard to know what makes or prevents a person from reaching the breaking point.

    My sympathies for this poor kid's parents, who will probably always think there was more they could have done.

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 5, 2012 9:27:05 PM

  20. If you need support, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 to speak with a trained volunteer counselor. Each year over 30,000 teens and young adults call the Trevor Lifeline when they need someone to talk to. The Trevor Project is there for you 24/7.

    Posted by: Spike | Dec 5, 2012 10:36:02 PM

  21. I think that the friends and families of these bullycide victims need to step up and identify the bullies. I am sick of reading these news stories that report that the dead gay kid "was bullied." The passive voice is used because the identities of these fiends are being concealed. The story passes from the front page and the bullies go on with their lives secure in the knowledge that no one will ever link them with their crimes.

    There are real people who bullied him. They have names. Name them or consider yourself complicit.

    Posted by: Derek | Dec 5, 2012 10:48:53 PM

  22. Mary, parental support usually isn't enough. It's huge, but there needs to be hope in the outside world. And for these kids in conservative areas, they see no hope. All the know in their individual lives is hate. They may have a few friends who support them but they see adults railing against homosexuality or voting for anti-gay ordinances. When the world around you is so disgustingly hateful it makes one feel very vulnerable, insecure, lonely, and depressed. I know because I felt that way when I was younger, so have most of us, I sometimes do still.

    It takes both family and community. Josh's community failed him completely. Tragedy is the end result.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 5, 2012 10:52:07 PM

  23. Michigan is over 85% Hate State. There are pockets of resistance, of course, but Michigan is a Hate State by a landslide.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Dec 5, 2012 10:54:49 PM

  24. Actually, I shouldn't say "usually isn't", but often it isn't enough to have parental support and nothing else, as we have seen many times. Plus the parents are usually straight. The lack of anyone gay to turn to and relate to is another huge reason why these kids feel alone.

    And Derek, you're very right............release the names of the kids who caused this and charge them with as severe a legal punishment as possible. That's one of the most viable deterrents there is at stopping these incidents of terrorism.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 5, 2012 10:56:26 PM

  25. Empower these usually shy or timid kids to stand up for themselves. Teach them self defense. Teach them MMA skills. It will increase their self confidence and let the would be bullies know that they just might get hurt if they try anything.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 5, 2012 11:00:01 PM

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