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. well said, Amir!!!

    the mob mentality thing is very very true. i know many other gay people like me experienced a very specific phenomenon in schools - generally speaking, on a one on one level, we were well-liked. it was only when "groups" were around that the bullying kicked in.

    i've talked to so many other people who had friends during summer vacation, but when the schoolyear began it was back to being a pariah.

    and no, the solution is not to teach kids martial arts. the solution is for LGBT-inclusive education in the curriculum starting in the elementary school age.

    diversity in families. some of those kids in every class are gonna be gay. have a gay parent or two. have a gay sibling. an aunt. an uncle. a cousin. a grandparent. a beloved neighbour.

    this is the reality. hatred is learned. we need to stop with the band-aids and get to the root - children need to learn to embrace diversity.

    kids don't just naturally hate gay people. they're taught to.

    and we need our TEACHERS to Come Out.

    it's very hard to empower youth to find pride in themselves when the adults around them lead by example.

    help the next generations. live Out.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 6, 2012 12:24:27 PM

  2. @Lil' Canadian,

    You phuking attention whore; Have you had a bossy, know-it-all loud mouth your entire life?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 6, 2012 1:20:16 PM

  3. I grew up and the town right next to Linden and this really hit home for me I read this today and broke down in tears ... I hear the bullies have no remorse and the school did know about this ! I heard just a few days after his death the bullies were going around school saying the word glad he was dead! I think the bullies and the parents should be prosecuted!! justice needs to be done !! I put this up on my Facebook today I was so distraught ! gay straight bi sexual transgender it does not matter you are a human being !! these bullies are nothing but coward disrespectful pork use of the youth today !! the parents of these bullies should be ashamed! I heard some of the football team urinated on his locker !! this tragic situation should not be ignored !! my heart goes out to Josh and his family they deserve justice ! even after they got what they wanted Josh passing away they still run his name down to the ground... I feel so horrible and I never even met this poor kid.. and of course the school going to stick up for the brats cuz some of them are on a football team !! this is murder to me and they deserve to be prosecuted along with our parents !! it shows what kind of parents they have !! I hear the school just gave them 5 days off of school .. I pray and hope the justice system does not fail Josh and his family !! my heart port about for Josh and his family nobody deserves this !!

    Posted by: Athena | Dec 6, 2012 1:55:39 PM

  4. From his comments, Ratbastard sounds like the bully today.

    Posted by: DAN | Dec 6, 2012 3:59:30 PM

  5. just as Gary explained I didnt even know that some people able to make $5443 in a few weeks on the computer. did you see this site link www.FLY38.com

    Posted by: cateblanchettc | Dec 6, 2012 4:02:59 PM

  6. There have to be witnesses who can identify the bullies and school officials with the cojones to charge them with homicide. Nothing less will stop the heterothugs. Castrate them!

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Dec 6, 2012 4:33:10 PM

  7. How many of our beautiful children must die before people who do not recognize this is for real, will stop preaching hate? Must it hit their own families? Wake up. Even the God that the evangelicals say they believe in, surely must have compassion for all. This is just sad, and so so unnecessary.

    Posted by: Jimmy Palmieri | Dec 7, 2012 2:52:52 PM

  8. Jimmy, it's gonna be a long-time coming. Bill O'Reilly and his fellow bigots have just told their Fox News-worshipping viewers that gays are indeed the enemy of Christianity and America.

    Fox News viewers, of course, are not "immune" from having gay children.

    Know this - there will indeed be more LGBT youth suicides. Especially this holiday season. And the American right-wing is utterly responsible.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 7, 2012 3:05:50 PM

  9. Hello

    Josh was my cousin. My absolute favorite. We always assumed he'd be internationally known, but for his talents and intellect -- not for his sorrow. The outpouring of support on all of these websites and blogs are humbling, and very much appreciated. He only had one year of high school left. If he only realized how big the world is, and how many wonderful people are in it. Thank you. And, to quote Josh, "Stay Classy"
    Josh wanted to become a psychologist to better understand human behaviors and thought processes. I think he wanted to know why people were so fearful of anyone differing from themselves; He was quite insightful. He truly loved and accepted everyone, as he knew what it was like to be different. He would have been an exceptional psychologist.

    We would like to welcome you all to his Facebook group page.

    Posted by: Heather | Dec 7, 2012 6:12:01 PM

  10. "The weekend before his death, he spoke to his sisters about his future, making comments that worried his parents."

    The comments josh made to his parents were telling them that he tried to jump in front of a train but the train got there before him… He had goodbyes in his phone to all his friends and family. The parents killed him by not taking him to the hospital to get help because he was asking for help. Maybe if his parents cared a little more Josh would still be alive…

    Posted by: Lauren Phillips | Dec 7, 2012 9:16:59 PM

  11. this is so sad, I can barely contain my emotions; there is NO excuse for a school to deny this type of bullying that leads to a teen to commit suicide...the topic of bullying has been front page news for too many years for a school to bury its head in the sand and say "we didn't know" the only hope I have is that this poor kid's death can lead to improved anti-bullying programs in the school...my heart goes out to his parents, family and friends

    Posted by: Bernie | Dec 8, 2012 6:08:51 PM

  12. I read the article and it both sickened and saddened me. In fact, I didn't think I would have the misfortune of coming across anything more sickening, more depressing or more incredulous - until, I misguidedly looked for some solace and solidarity in the comments section. I was wrong to assume that there would be words to comfort our community, words that spoke of the very tangible loss we as human beings have suffered with Josh Pacheco' death. I was wrong to assume that we who have been given an opportunity to read his story and understand what it feels like when you believe you are completely alone; when no option can be identified through the pain that might stop the despair from settling in. I remember accepting hopelessness at a time in my life, and it would surprise me to no end if many of you have not felt the hopelessness I'm speaking of - it would surprise me because there comes a time in every GLBTQ person's life where the present feels comparably and progressively worse than the past. When we are faced with that perception the future becomes bleak and untrustworthy. At these times when we Know despair, it brings a certain sense of relief - a melancholy peace - that while erroneous and completely irrational to those of us not walking his path - never-the-less to Josh and far too many others in our community, the choice to commit suicide is the only option that guarantees the end of the pain, the abuse, and the despair...unfortunately the self made decision to end your life immediately returns a certain appearance of control and power over what will happen,what is tolerable, what is endurable and for how long. There is a very, very short window of time when the diagnostic symptoms that indicate that a suicide is imminent are unmistakeable even by trained professionals. People who decide to take their own lives from a place of utter despair often seem happier to the casual observer and rarely speak a single word that might, just might give their decision (power and control)away, instead choosing to leave a note/a message of some kind just before ending their lives.
    I realize that most of what I've written is redundant to those of us who have felt despair, hopelessness and suicidal at some point in our lives; and it was not my intent to write a thesis on the obvious, which clearly was unnecessary as many of you have pointed out that gay suicides have become outrageously commonplace. So, I apologize for my rantings.
    Regardless of your opinion, I wrote what I needed to remember from my own experience so I could speak with heartfelt conviction and say to all of you who posted comments before I(specifically the ones I managed to read thoroughly before I began to write these words)that your sympathy is not enough, it never has been, and it never will be - change requires action, organized action not anonymous condolences posted to a blog with limited influence and that the family, friends, teachers, officials and bullies will likely never see. The condolences, the directionless outrage posted in the comments I read were to assuage your own pain and anger - you gave yourself a voice instead of lending yours to the young man who has none. You judged and blamed the parents, the teachers, the bullies, even the It Gets Better program. Those people, all of those people you so readily blamed are actually experiencing what you are so vocally opining and posting about from the detached safety of provided by your computer screen. The truth is much harder to deal with. We, ALL of US who have posted a sympathy comment on a random blog, updated our facebook status to include words, phrases and quotes of memorial to inform the people on our friend lists of another gay tragedy, ALL of US who have done these things - talked and texted our friends speaking in quiet whispers of a recent gay suicide - WE are to blame. Not the parents who have lost a child, not the friends and loved ones left to go on without the presence of someone special to them, not the school officials, teachers, state representatives, or the other students who either ignored the bullying or encouraged it. Not even the bullies who made any GLBTQ person feel worthless and powerless enough to even consider taking their own lives, not even the bullies are to blame. WE are the ones WE have to blame, it is our negligence to take meaningful action that allows bullying to continue undeterred. We hide our words, our voices in the ether of cyperspace, feeling proud and secure in the notion that we have done our part. Then, invariably, due in no small part to our silent tolerance and inferred permissiveness, another member of our community is bullied and commits suicide. So we post more routine comments, and lambast the straight people (assumed straight) people for not doing more to prevent gay kids from being bullied. What hypocrites we have become when we disparage the coordinated actions of a group of mostly straight allies (The It Gets Better program). Hypocrites in word and deed, because while straight parents, teachers students and community leaders are taking action, we are busy consoling ourselves with meaningless platitudes and unproductive blaming games.
    Isn't it time we used the words, the sorrow, and the responsibility that we have at our disposal and is legitimately ours to effect change by actually making a difference?
    If all of us who bothered to post comments concerning Josh's suicide today, had used that time and all our social media skills to get as many people as we could to each send a post card to Josh's Michigan High School that simply says Josh Pacheco one one side and STOP BULLING on the other, for less than a dollar each we could literally flood that high school with a very direct, very coordinated and very public statement that would get even more mainstream coverage than the It Gets Better program, and it would give Josh a voice and empower our community.
    And I for one no longer wish to wear the label of a hypocrite. Do you?

    Posted by: Clayton | Dec 8, 2012 7:13:03 PM

  13. So sad. Why doesn't teachers reacted on bullying.. Rest In Peace

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 15, 2012 6:19:33 PM

  14. My son was bullied by 3 18 year olds last week at Linden High School. He is 16, and was physically pushed around outside in parking lot, they teased then touched his chest laughing how scared they made him. Police didn't want to file a report, school still hasn't done anything, and my son hasn't went back to school. These kids are supposively same group who taunted Josh Pacheco, who took his life a few months back. 2 of the 3, just signed college scholarships. One parent works at a Linden Elementary school. We want something done! Thanks!

    Posted by: Kim Ball | Feb 17, 2013 10:00:46 AM

  15. As a born again believer in Jesus Christ I am thoroughly disgusted by the behaviour and attitudes of some fellow Christians towards gays and lesbians. (Westboro Baptist Church)My heart goes out to all bullied teenagers, be they gay, black, disabled or whatever. Hatred towards homosexuals is not condoned in anyway by Jesus and Christians should be protecting and standing up for gays against Muslims/ other Christians/ whoever else in homophobic instead of persecuting them. It is a disgrace and an injustice to both humanity and to Jesus to do anything less.

    Posted by: Jennifer | Oct 30, 2013 11:58:47 AM

  16. this is terriable. this guy took his own life because he was bullied. shame on then bllys. i dont know who you are, and i dont know who he was.. but noone should have to go through that. shame on all of you.

    I dont mean to be rude.... but all you bullies can just shut up. Seriousally. like it isnt funny even is you were just "joking aroud" like others might not be and, they might take it a different wasy then it was said, or they might take what you said to eart... like if you said... "drnk bleach" they might take your advise and then you would be responsable for someones death. and you have to live with it. so... next time think before you say anything, and try to stop bullying in school. it is really messed up.

    Posted by: rose | Dec 12, 2013 4:49:33 PM

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