Town discusses hanging deaths

Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 11:43 p.m.
BRANFORD - Parents, teachers, pastors, grandparents and other adults gathered at Branford Middle High School Wednesday night to vent their anger, ask questions, and express their hurt over the hanging deaths of three boys in the last three months. Nearly 200 people also spent time listening and talking about what should be done to prevent future deaths.
Investigators believe all three boys took their own lives by hanging themselves inside their own homes.
"But I don't think we will ever know if it was accidental or on purpose," Sheriff Tony Cameron told the crowd. Investigators are trying to determine if any or all three had been playing a game in which they choked themselves until the point of blacking out to produce a euphoric feeling.
Frank Zenere, a school psychologist brought in to help the Suwannee School District deal with the aftermath of the deaths, urged the crowd to avoid assigning blame for the deaths.
"This community has been through enough," Zenere said. "Now it's everybody's job" to prevent additional deaths.
Those who attended were given lists to take home on what to watch for and where to turn for additional help in preventing similar deaths. Those who attended were also urged by family members and friends of the youths to avoid using the word suicide to describe the boys' deaths and instead refer to the deaths as accidental hangings.
The grandmother of one boy said he had "Created the circumstances around his death, but dying was not his intended consequence."
Zenere was in the district meeting with middle school students on Wednesday and will meet with high school students today.
Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or

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