Bullied Teenager Takes Own Life, Charges Filed Against Restaurant Manager Where Teen Worked
A teenager from Howard County, Missouri took his own life. It is believed he committed suicide because he was the constant target of bullying.
The 17-year-old high school junior, identified as Kenneth Suttner, allegedly shot himself on Dec. 21 near his home. Lexie Graves, Suttner's best friend, said in a statment that the way he talked due to a speech disability and his weight were two of the things that bullies took notice off, CNN reported.
Suttner worked at a local Dairy Queen and the manager of that restaurant was charged after his death. Authorities ruled the case as second degree involuntary manslaughter two months after the alleged suicide.
Howard County Coroner Frank Flaspohler made the inquiry about the possible reason for the suicide of the teen. An inquiry is like those given to the grand jury but it is held in front of the public.
He called the coroner's inquiry to bring attention to the seriousness of bullying. Flaspohler added, "In this case, it was obvious that he'd suffered a great deal of bullying (that) had pushed him to this point."
Testimonies from witnesses revealed that 21-year-old Harley Branham, the manager of Suttner, was bullying the victim. Co-workers said she repeatedly mocked Suttner while on the job and she made him clean the floor by hand while lying on his stomach.
She also reportedly threw a cheeseburger at the teenager after he did not follow her orders correctly. A jury then recommended the charge against Branham after 20 friends, witnesses, and co-workers told their stories about the bullying.
Branham believes she was not the reason why the teen killed himself. She said in a statement she was just joking around with the Suttner and does not understand why a lot of people would blame the kid's suicide on her. She will be arraigned this Feb. 14, New York Daily News reported.
Dairy Queen also released a statement saying they only learned about the situation after the manager was charged. Branham is no longer part of the company.
The school district was also blamed in the death of the teen. The school Suttner attended, however, said he never told teachers he was being bullied. They argued they could have done something if only he said something about what was happening.