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Education

Hernando sheriff releases report into 12-year-old's suicide

Hernando Today staff reports
Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2013 at 04:18 PM
BROOKSVILLE -

A 12-year-old West Hernando Middle School student who hanged himself last month wrote a suicide note two weeks prior to his death, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Miguel's mother, Jeanette McCants, disclosed to detectives she found a suicide note in Miguel's room two weeks prior to his Jan. 23 suicide, and stated she was in his room helping him clean up when she found a crumbled up piece of paper that she opened and read, according to the report.

"Mom I love you, I love David, I love my sister Aysha, I love my dad," the note read, according to the report. "I'm committing suicide because I'm tired of all the drama."

McCants stated she never approached Miguel about it because Miguel was happy and loving and she "did not want to breathe life into the words," according to the report, and Miguel's friends interviewed in the report mention Miguel made peripheral comments about suicide, then quickly retracted them, saying he was joking.

Detectives asked McCants what she thought was the trigger that caused Miguel to take his life, and McCants replied, "He is highly sensitive," and on Jan. 24, McCants contacted a detective saying she had found a Sony microcassette recorder, the report shows.

McCants rewound the tape on the player and recognized Miguel's voice stating, "If you're getting this message, I've got some bad news. I am leaving this message to you guys 'cause I am dead or I got caught by the other team. Now what I want you to do is go get Mackaro. I need your help, please, please, I need your help. Get Mackaro."

McCants told detectives Miguel often played a video game on his Xbox 360 called, "Call of Duty." The character in the game commits suicide by hanging himself, according to the report.

"I listened to the tape that is not dated. I then tried to find information on this game and discovered that main character, 'Mackaro,' did hang himself in the game," a detective writes.

McCants explained Miguel called her into his room about a week prior to the suicide and told her that he was troubled by other kids saying things about her. Miguel told her that kids say she is fat or ugly and he could not handle that. McCants stated she and David tried teaching Miguel to defend himself against other kids who threatened and teased him, but he refused to be aggressive toward anyone.

The report ruled Miguel's death a suicide.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said the school district is in the process of conducting a separate, independent investigation.

"We've been working with the sheriff's office, and we have an investigation we just completed and in fact it's very consistent with the findings of the sheriff's department, and I think they did a good job on it," Blavatt said. "We interviewed nearly every teacher that had contact with the student, and interviewed all his friends and associates there and their response was very much the same."

Blavatt said the internal review conducted by the school district is 71 pages.

"It involved teachers at school, all of the records that the school had, and comments from fellow students," Blavatt said. "Our 71 pages is not different at all. It's exactly what the sheriff's office found, so we're in agreement."

Hernando Today has requested a copy of the report following the district's completion of its investigation.

McCants described the evening prior to Miguel's suicide, as Miguel appearing normal and happy. McCants stated she was in bed when Miguel came in and kissed her goodnight. Miguel told her that he was going to bed. Miguel generally gets up for school at 7:45 a.m., according to the report.

The next morning McCants overslept and didn't get up until 9 a.m., the report shows, and McCants walked into Miguel's room, turned off his television which was still on and walked out of the room without noticing the closet. McCants assumed that Miguel had gone to school. Later that afternoon after 5 p.m., McCants started to worry because Miguel had not come home. McCants called Miguel's cell phone and got no answer. McCants eventually went into his room to see if he had left his phone at home.

McCants walked in and looked on his bed where she saw his shirt. She looked at the closet, but didn't notice Miguel because he blended in with the clothing. McCants stated she smelled an unpleasant odor in the closet and looked closer until she found him hanging by his neck in his bedroom closet. A belt was wrapped around his neck and attached to the closet's wire shelving, the report shows.

McCants tried to get Miguel down, but could not, then ran to the phone and called 911.

"While inside the victim's residence with Sgt. Hayden and Deputy Istvan, an unknown male came running into the residence saying he wanted to see his brother," the report shows. "The male was very distraught over losing his brother. The male refused multiple verbal commands to exit the residence and was placed on the floor by Sgt. Hayden and Deputy Istvan.

"Due to the male being extremely distraught, he was placed into handcuffs for his safety. The male was then escorted outside and continued to be extremely distraught," the report said. "Deputy Steve Johnson had to place the subject on the ground at which time he eventually calmed down."

Miguel has always struggled with his size, McCants told investigators. She stated that he is much smaller than his peers and that he has been ridiculed in the past for being small.

"I did observe measurements on the frame of Miguel's bedroom door where he has been marking his growth, along with a pull-up bar in the door," one of the detectives wrote.

In the report, McCants described her relationship with Miguel as very close. McCants stated Miguel was very attentive to her needs especially if she wasn't feeling well or sick. Miguel was described as being soft-hearted, got along with his siblings and his stepfather, and that Miguel's state of mind appeared normal leading up to this incident.

Miguel appeared very happy about his relationship with his girlfriend, according to the report, and was in a good mood most of the time. McCants stated Miguel never displayed any behavior that caused her alarm or made her suspect he was contemplating suicide.

Miguel's clinic visits for 6th grade, for the school year of 2011-12, showed 12 visits to the clinic, and two incidents were from altercations with other students.

Miguel's clinic visits for 7th grade, for school year 2012-13, showed 16 visits to the clinic, and one incident appeared to be from an altercation.

McCants could not be reached for comment.

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