FENTON, Mich. — The parents of a Michigan high school student who took his own life last week believe anti-gay bullying is to blame.
Josh Pacheco, 17, committed suicide on Nov. 27. His mother, Lynnette Capehart, said that Josh was gay, which led to him being bullied both inside and outside of school, reported MLive.
Josh told his mother he was gay just two months ago, but Capehart said she wasn’t surprised and that it made no difference to her — she loved her son just the same.
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.
“He was having problems with bullying. He didn’t really want to tell us very much,” she said. “It was very disheartening to me.”
The weekend after Thanksgiving, Pacheco talked to his sisters, questioning life and his future — comments that worried his parents. His mother talked to him that Sunday and on Monday, Nov. 26, set up an appointment for him to see a counselor on Wednesday — even though he seemed back to his normal, “quirky” self.
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.”
Josh was later found unresponsive in his truck, which had been running in the closed-up garage at his family’s home in Fenton.
He left a note, which simply said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be strong enough.”
Josh was a junior at Linden High School in Linden, Mich., was part of the Fenton-based Kidz Theatre Kompany, worked at Tim Hortons, loved his advanced placement politics class and called his four siblings his best friends, according to his mother.
Linden High School students have planned a vigil for this evening.