Killing himself was the only way the 11-year-old boy could think of to be with his mom, who died of cancer three years ago.
So he tried — twice. The first time was around two years ago, near the first anniversary of her death. He tried to strangle himself at home with rosary beads, even though his dad told him it was a mortal sin to take his own life.
The second attempt was near the second anniversary of his mom’s death, when he wrapped the straps of his bookbag around his neck in the coat room at his school.
In addition to the two suicide attempts, the boy had been soiling himself. His hygiene was poor. His grades were down. He was written up at school 40 times for various infractions.
After the coat room incident, Wilmington police got involved. When an officer responded and saw the marks on the boy’s neck, his training with the department’s Special Victims Unit of social workers kicked in.
He referred the boy’s father to a social worker and a grief counselor.
Now, a year later, the boy has made a complete turnaround. No more of the old problems. He has not been written up at all this year.