BRISTOL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A transgender teen was killed when an Amtrak train hit him Monday afternoon in what officials are ruling a suicide.
Officials say Riley Matthew Moscatel, 17, of Croydon, Pa. stepped in front of the oncoming passenger train around 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. The train was traveling at nearly 120 miles per hour and it was nearly a mile before it was able to come to a complete stop.
Riley’s mother, Kristine Moscatel, told the Courier County Times that Riley had been battling depression for five years.
“Things were just building up and building up and [he] just couldn’t take it anymore,” she said. “[He] hid behind a mask. [He] had a mask for me, my husband, my son, my parents … everyone [he] had a different face for, but they were all happy (faces).”
[Riley] was transgender, his mother said. [He] identified as being a boy by using the name of Riley Matthew with [his] friends and on social media.
“[He] went from so many different things that [he] didn’t know what [he] was and all of that added on to [his] depression. We were trying to accept it, we were dealing with it as best we could. We supported [him].”
Editor’s Note: Pronouns changed to reflect Riley’s identity.
Riley’s father, Rich Moscatel, told The Trentonian that he believes gender identity played a “large role” in Riley’s suicide, and that he was also struggling with a couple failed relationships, trepidations of starting his senior year and deciding whether to attend college or not.
“[He] did a really good job of masking [his] depression in front of the people that [he] loved,” he said. “We’re still kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. [He] was dealing with a lot of pressures.”
The Moscatels say Riley began identifying as male as early as 3-years-old when he cut off all his hair and said he wanted to be a boy.
“That was our sign, but we didn’t realize it until 10 years later,” Kristine Moscatel said. “It then started to manifest itself seriously.”
A year ago is when he began identifying as Riley.
Editor’s Note: If you or a young person you know is LGBT and thinking about suicide, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. For adults over 24, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.