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Parents say anti-gay bullying is to blame for son’s suicide

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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 Pacheco

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.

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28 more reader comments:

  1. Just not fair!! Completely makes no sense. We have to stop this non sense!! Rest in Peace Josh!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:03pm
  2. I can only hope that parents, family and friends of LGBT loved ones could have good communication and to guide and comfort them as they grow up to become a unique individual.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:04pm
  3. so sad. life is hard sometimes, especially for us gay people. suicide just isn’t the way to win. pray for his family. life lost, hearts broken, empty spaces never filled.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:05pm
  4. This should not have happened. This is very sad indeed. Teachers, and school admin need to be more engaged with there students, and set up rules and guidelines to curb or stop this bullying at schools. In this time and age, nobody should have to be bullied, and drive someone to suicide. STOP THE HATRED NOW!!! The Bully’s involved should be arrested and charged with man slaughter We need to set an example that bullying will not be tolerated. End of Story…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:09pm
  5. This kind of bullying would make Christ weep. God will have vengeance.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:11pm
  6. I can’t wait for a law criminalizing bullies at schools and making them and their parents responsible for the deaths.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:12pm
  7. it is somewhat the bullies fault but it s also others like the sons for doing the parents for not removing their son and teachers, there are more than one side to every situation. not saying the bullies arent to blame, but there was others around who could of helped in a big way, like insted of his parents going to work and hoping for the best, they should of taken time off for a few weeks and spent that time with him, educating him on these things either way its sad another child has died due to tormenters, lets hope those bullies get whats coming to them

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:12pm
  8. So sad…I feel so bad for the utter dispose this poor young man must have been going through. I feel so bad for his family,but Bless you for loving and accepting him! We need to figure out a way to stop all of this bullying…now!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:20pm
  9. so sad that any group is seen is different week and worthy of degeneration.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:24pm
  10. Awe man. Sooo sad…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:27pm
  11. Bullying is getting out of control. I’m hearing of a rise in schools in my area and am starting to work with parents to get them to rally and storm the school. But, I urge all of us to remember.. We mustn’t become bullies ourselves. Compassionate, but appropriate strength will win, not violence.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:56pm
  12. i always get that choked-up feeling when i hear things like this happen…i hope his family and friends come together and think only think of the positive things in his life. i hope whoever caused him to do this, i hope they realize now that they’re the reason for an innocent life being taken away, and that they change their ways and grow up feeling the pain Josh felt here. i don’t know John but even still i believe he was an amazing person filled with love, care, and courage. but at some points in life…we break and can’t hold on any longer. Rest In Peace John. <3

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:30pm
  13. Just heartbreaking. A young man, who just so happened to be gay, who just had finally was PUSHED past the last click on his life roller-coaster, before he plunged down the other side, and found that without brakes OR without a foreseeable way out, the metaphoric crash gave the end result, was this….. HEARTBREAKING….

    I too was not only gay, but overweight, and smarter than the average school aged kid. I was not the jock (who all of them get away with far more gay like touching than most young gay kids do), nor was I a ditzy cheer-mattresses that usually slept around to have a “rep”; which made you popular in my school system back then. I was however classified as a nerd, and or a drama/choir-fag. It was something but not by MUCH.

    So, much like this poor kid, I had that triple slam back in the day in my high school. At least bi-daily to weekly I was tortured, and bullied daily, but had enough friends, and teachers who loved me who would protect me when the crap hit the fan. And I also threw a kid down a flight of stairs because I finally fought back. That just meant I went from being bullied, to simply ignored like I did not even exist. Which in a way was worse. But somehow, someway, I survived…

    I feel so sad for the family of this kid who clearly gave warning signs, but they were all too little too late. I pray that this kids soul is allowed some peace now. Certainly not what he was given by his peers at his school.

    I think that instead of holding some vigil, the main kids who were the instgators of this horrific story, should be brought to justice to PAY somehow for the pushing of this kid to their final “click”. Maybe if there was some retribution to these little pukes of society,there wouldn’t be so much choosing by these young PEOPLE, these HUMAN lives to commit suicide as a final alternative.

    Again, just heartbreaking.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:36pm
  14. How many more before people wake up??? Kids AND adults can be so cruel!! And often bullied students don’t tell anyone out of a very real fear of retaliation. I’ve heard reports of children in KINDERGARTEN being bullied out of lunch money, etc.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 3:06pm
  15. This would be tragic any time, but so close to Christmas. I feel for his family & friends. The suicides just keep happening, and they will continue to as long as schools remain complacent about the problem of bullying.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 3:12pm
  16. This story breaks my heart. I’m so tired of so many people having to go through this just because of who they are. Life is about love and just loving each other and helping each other. He seems like a beautiful person, maybe even an angel on earth <3

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 3:39pm
  17. Heartbreaking! I know how hard everyone is working to prevent these tragedies, but sadly some of these beautiful young people slip away from us. May God grant him eternal rest and his family healing!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:18pm
  18. So sad I can’t even imagine! RIP Josh and prayers to you and your family!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:24pm
  19. shame, shame.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:27pm
  20. This needs to stop. Such a shame!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:28pm
  21. This is so sad. No young person should ever go through this. The school administrators and teachers need to go through training as well as the students.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:34pm
  22. My heart Is broken again. Bullies must be stopped. And agree with Valerie re: schools.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:35pm
  23. Freaking horrible!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:36pm
  24. I think bullies are provoked by illegal use of marijuana and alchohol….just went to the cknv store and the teenagers started SCREAMIL EVIL THREATS at me and im sick of it!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:50pm
  25. my heart is very heavy as I know all to well what this kid had to deal with.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:51pm
  26. oh no … :-(((
    -> Rest in Peace Josh …
    -> Dear ♥ Josh Pacheco ♥ fly fly fly to the sky
    -> The end is not death
    There is not death nor an end
    Death is only an accelerated path to the above
    A tunnel into the white golden light
    From the earthly existence with all its joy and pain
    To the golden glittering stars, to all the friends that are in Your heart
    To Your beloved friends You miss so much
    Even if the fire here burns and destroys
    You will rise up to the angels, Your sorrows and Your calls will be heard
    Don’t let sadness conquer You, many have risen before You
    From the darkness, the torture, the pain
    You awake as a new star with a clean heart
    there is no fear, no pain, no hypocrites
    here You are persecuted by Your awful experiences and nightmares
    Lightning’s in Your heart, unrest, discontent destroys all harmony
    in Your dreams You hunted by a big knife
    You swim in Your dream like a fish against the flow, against cannibals
    You torture yourself over and over again with sadness and loneliness
    when You think You happy it takes little to push You down
    because sadness comes very silently but yet spontaneous
    and it doesn’t let You go because sadness knows
    how to open the door of memories
    Your eyes are tired and turn into glass balls, as if they don’t belong to You
    full of tears when You shut them close
    I miss You so much I wish You on my side again
    in paradise, in golden feathers under the rainbow
    where it doesn’t matter who You are and what You are

    from me with love

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 9:10pm
  27. Oh dear dear josh you left us much too young. As a mom to teenager it is never easy to figure out when to step in and ask whats up or let them figure it out.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 9:18pm
  28. That’s so heartbreaking. This young man had so much left in his life. This is just another reason to continue to fight for civil rights. You are in our thoughts, Josh.

    Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 8:43am