April 23, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
38°F

Teen’s apparent suicide is fifth in 12 months in county

Nick Glunt and Loren Genson | The Gazette

A 15-year-old Medina High School student was found dead in the woods behind his home Thursday afternoon.
County coroner Dr. Neil Grabenstetter said the boy’s death appeared to be a suicide.

The death would be the fifth suicide of a juvenile in Medina County in the last 12 months and the second of a Medina City Schools student.

“These suicides almost never make any sense,” Grabenstetter said. “It’s just tragic.”

The student, who the school identified as a freshman, was found by family around 3:27 p.m., according to Montville Township Police Chief Terry Grice.

Medina school officials confirmed the student attended classes that day. Grice said the boy was discovered in a wooded area near a subdivision off River Styx Road. He said family members found the teenager unresponsive behind the family home.

Grice said he couldn’t give additional details out about the death because the initial incident report wasn’t available because of a computer glitch late Thursday night.

Officers were still trying to recover the lost information Friday afternoon, Grice said.

Grice said more details would be available Monday.

School officials called parents of all Medina High School students Thursday evening notifying them of the death.
At Medina High on Friday, 20 Medina County crisis team counselors were available to assist students and staff members, said Kris Quallich, director of educational services.

The counselors also were at the home football game against North Royalton on Friday night.

The Medina County Crisis team assists schools in responding to tragedies and includes trained counselors from around the county.

Quallich said several students met with counselors.

“The kids are doing as well as can be expected,” Quallich said. “They just have a lot of questions. Students also took to social media sites coordinating plans to wear yellow, the freshman class color, to support fellow classmates.

Quallich said the school put suicide prevention resources up on its web page at www.medinabees.org and it’s encouraging parents to reach out for those resources in talking with their children this weekend.

“We want to make sure parents have the resources to help their kids over the weekend,” Quallich said.

Quallich said the school stands by to support parents, staff and students. Questions and comments should be directed to the school at (330) 636-3200. Earlier this year, two deaths of Medina County teenagers have been ruled suicides, according to the county Child Fatality Review Board, which compiles information on everyone who dies under the age of 18.

Last year, a 14-year-old Claggett Middle School student was one of two teenage suicides in the county
The county saw only one juvenile suicide in 2010 and one in 2011, according to the review board. Statewide in 2011 — the last year complete data are available — Ohio reported 55 suicide deaths of residents under 17— nearly double the 28 reported the year before.

The county review boards send data to the Ohio Department of Health, which publishes an annual Ohio Child Fatality Review.

The most recent report, published last year covering deaths in 2010, found boys represented 86 percent of child suicides in 2010 but make up only 51 percent of the childhood population.

The report also found 29 percent of child suicides happened in suburban counties, while suburban teens only make up 18 percent of the population.

Quallich said all teachers in the district have taken suicide prevention training required under a new Ohio law. But she said the school may seek a broader, community-based approach.

“I think this has got to be the whole community coming together,” Quallich said. “Maybe we can have a community night where we offer resources to everyone.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.