The parents of a 17-year-old gay high school student have gone public about their son's suicide last month and believe anti-gay bullying may have been a factor in his decision to end his life.
Josh Pacheco was a junior at Linden High School in Fenton, Michigan. On 27 November, he posted a message on his Facebook page quoting Bilbo Baggins from J.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit: 'I regret to announce that this is the end. I'm going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.'
The parents have since learned from other students that their son was being bullied in and outside of school including being pushed into lockers at one point.
'He was having problems with bullying,' his mother, Lynette Capehart, tells Michigan Live. 'He didn't really want to tell us very much. It was very disheartening to me.'
Superintendent Ed Koledo tells MLive that the school was unaware of any specific bullying incidents.
'There's been a lot of stories that have turned up over the weekend that we are looking into.,' he said. 'We are trying to put new programs into place, so [students] feel more comfortable [talking to administrators]'
Pacheco was found dead by a neighbor. He was inside of his truck inside the family's garage with the garage door closed.
He left a note in the truck which read: 'I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough.'