Criminal investigation underway after 13-year-old commits suicide in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE- The Baton Rouge Police Department has opened a criminal investigation to determine if bullying caused the death of a 13-year-old who was found hanging in his Baton Rouge home this week.
The 13-year-old, identified as Traeh Thyssen, was a student at Westdale Middle School. The WBRZ Investigative Unit learned an incident report was filed last week after another student cut Thyssen's hair while he was at school. That incident report documented by the school resource officer was turned over to the Baton Rouge Police Department, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
Deputies are responsible for security at schools.
East Baton Rouge Parish School Superintendent Warren Drake confirmed the incident but didn't release additional details about what happened.
"When that incident happened, the family was called in, the [sheriff's deputy assigned to the school] was called in and they talked [until] 5 or 6 p.m. and had a good conclusion to that conversation," Drake said.
Drake said the school district is upset learning of Thyssen's death.
"I just can't say how sorry I am to that family, and how sorry we are as a district and as a school. And we want to say, 'we love ya,' and how much we care for you," Drake said.
Drake sent a team of people to investigate the death.
"I've sent a risk management person and two HR people to the school today to interview teachers and administration," Drake said. "We want to make sure we cover all bases and find out what happened."
Drake said in his 45-year career of educating children, he can only think of two times where a child committed suicide. This was one of them.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office echoed those sentiments about how rare suicides by children under the age of 15 are. Since 2009, 10 children between the ages of 10 and 15 have killed themselves in the parish, according to the coroner's office.
Parents like Tamara Johnson spent the day talking to their kids.
"I sat them down last night and told them about what happened to this little kid," Johnson said. "If anything is going on at their school or any type of bullying, they can come to me and I'm going to take action."
There are plenty of resources for help: For a list click here and here.
Statement from Rosalynn Thyssen, mother of Traeh:
"He was 13. His name is Traeh, heart spelled backwards, and he was everything his name suggests: loving, caring, compassionate, sincere and always a forgiving son, brother, nephew, cousin friend. On October 3rd, 2019 my heart and the hearts of every person he encountered broke when we realized Traeh took his own life."