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aquarius2
live laugh love
10:30 AM on 04/07/2010
I think the ME needs to be fired. A six year old does not have the mental acuity to understand suicide.
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Sue-in-Jersey
Now I am in Pennsylvania. Hope they let me vote.
03:49 PM on 04/07/2010
Not to understand suicide, possibly.
But to carry it out, on an impulse? Sadly they do have the mental acuity, and it's very sad.
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deeppeace
Hey! My micro-brew is empty!!
03:55 PM on 04/07/2010
Unless you have first-hand knowledge that the ME doesn't, please keep your opinions to yourself.
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Sue-in-Jersey
Now I am in Pennsylvania. Hope they let me vote.
04:02 PM on 04/07/2010
Agreed. This is no place for armchair detectives. There is a heartbroken family that will never completely heal.
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AdV2k1
10:18 AM on 04/07/2010
what an odd story
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
10:13 AM on 04/07/2010
Parents had warned all of their children of the dangers of putting a belt around their necks"

What? Why would anyone 'warn' their children not to put belts around their necks. The idea never crossed my mind in my whole life. Why would I need to warn my kids about such a weird thing? I would have said this was not possible until reading the article.
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Sue-in-Jersey
Now I am in Pennsylvania. Hope they let me vote.
10:23 AM on 04/07/2010
It's a common worry. Kids get entangled, play dress-up, make leashes for themselves to pretend to be doggies...I'm surprised that you think it's weird, actually, that kids need to be taught not to play dangerously.
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10:39 AM on 04/07/2010
Kids are going to do stewpid things while playing - it's just in their nature. But I agree with you, I don't think s uicide is an idea that a very young kid would developmentally conceive and carry out - usually. Even in the many (too many) cases of abuse of very young children, you don't hear about them taking their own lives.
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bnyb
sky-gazer
10:07 AM on 04/07/2010
Boy Interrupted is one of the most candid, if heartbreaking, true accounts of thoughts of death in the very young, for anyone who's interested: http://www.boyinterruptedfilm.com/
01:25 PM on 04/07/2010
I heartily endorse this documentary.

For those that don't understand, it's enlightening.
09:48 AM on 04/07/2010
Too sad. The child probably thought she was going to teach her parents a lesson without realizing she could actually die. One of the saddest stories I have ever read. Hug your kids. Tell them they're the greatest. My heart goes out to these parents.
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Aedh Wishes
02:35 PM on 04/07/2010
Yes -- it sounds like the defiant "I'll show you: you'll be sorry" line, so typical of that age, as they tentatively seek the boundaries between their own growing independence and their still infantile dependence on their parents -- capable of much complex thought but not quite capable of thinking it right through in all its repercussions.
I do not blame the parents for one instant. It's heartbreaking.
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RachelMc
09:38 AM on 04/07/2010
i saw a show about children who are schizophrenic and were homicidal and suicidal. personally i had never seen that type of disorder in a child. it was sad and scary. esp for this parent who's 11 yr old daughter constantly wanted to k|ll her and said if she had the opportunity she would and the same for everyone else. but i doubt if the girl hand some kind of history of suicidal thoughts they would have sent her to her room by herself. maybe she overreacted and wanted attention and was hopping some1 would come and save her just in time and unfortunately accidentally killed herself. so sad....so sad... im never having kids. a little bro is good enough for me.
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hackerblaster
I did not mean that to be a factual statement.
09:35 AM on 04/07/2010
I don't see how a first grader actually knew she was going to end her life. I bet she thought, "I will kill myself and show them"! Then couldn't wait to see the look on their faces. But I seriously doubt she thought she would actually die. Just my thoughts.
09:56 AM on 04/07/2010
True, i don't think she knew it was permanent. But her actions show that she knows somewhat, what death is - in that it makes people feel bad and regretful. She might be young, but even teenagers and adults sometimes threaten to kill themselves, and even try it, hoping that someone will find them and feel bad. They too, might not actually intend to die.
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Aedh Wishes
02:37 PM on 04/07/2010
Yes -- exactly: wIthout realising she wouldn't ever be able to "see the look on their faces" afterwards.
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moonflowerjewelry
Buy American made, no excuses.
09:19 AM on 04/07/2010
How tragic... my teenager can't see the long term consequences of his actions. It seems obvious that a 6 year old would not be able to grasp the permanence. My heart is with her family.
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GoldStarMom
Reading is Fundamentalism ... in Texas.
09:06 AM on 04/07/2010
While I have no problem believing that a six year old might be angry enough, or depressed enough to kill themselves, I do NOT believe that most 6 year olds fully grasp the fact that "dead means forever."

Can I picture the little girl doing this, so Mom would "cry and feel bad for being so mean to me, then be nicer to me from now on?" Easily.
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topkatnc
Give a stray cat or dog a chance .
09:44 AM on 04/07/2010
Agree....
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Sue-in-Jersey
Now I am in Pennsylvania. Hope they let me vote.
10:16 AM on 04/07/2010
Completely agree. I just went into the kitchen to relate this story to my own daughter Samantha, who's now a smart, successful and well-mannered college student.

This horrible story strikes much too close to home, because when MY Sami was little and going through tantrums SHE would threaten to kill herself, too, just to spite us for not giving her something she wanted. She would scream at us, full of little girl rage, "I'm going to throw myself down the stairs and break my neck if you won't..." whatever it was. And I remember once I grabbed her and screamed in her face, "You must NEVER ever attempt such a thing. You will stop threatening to hurt yourself! Your father and I do not negotiate with terrorists."

But this mother's Samantha actually went through with her threat.
After all, little girls don't really know what forever gone means.
My heart breaks for this family.
08:52 AM on 04/07/2010
This is really messed up. It bears asking, where would a 6 year old have the wherewithal to have a greater understanding of the meaning of suicide, much less the action itself? At which point, the parents should be held responsible.
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trutheau
09:29 AM on 04/07/2010
How are the culpable in this?
10:17 AM on 04/07/2010
I guess it goes back to that old argument of, "nature Vs nuture", doesn't it? My children are grown, but if I recall when they were 6 years old they didn't have a comprehension of what suicide means, much less knowing how to act that out. Sure, they understood what living and dying means and on the level of maybe one of their goldfish dying and/or a family member, but suicide, nah. They were taught that their life and others were to be respected and cherished.
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Sue-in-Jersey
Now I am in Pennsylvania. Hope they let me vote.
10:21 AM on 04/07/2010
The parents? Might as well blame Disney videos, dude.
Little girls figure out drama and tragedy before they're four years old.
Mine sure did.

I'm just lucky her acting-out didn't go as far. When I sent her to her room, the worst retaliation she came up with was to push out the screen and go out the (first floor) window and "run away" to live in the backyard.

Nobody who knows children would make a comment as uninformed and cruel as yours.
10:27 AM on 04/07/2010
Why would you even think that your child "could" even have an understanding of what it means to take ones life? "I'm just lucky her acting-out didn't go as far". What??
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anthonytaurus
don't f&f me. you dont' know what I'll say next
08:44 AM on 04/07/2010
My problem with this story is that I don't understand how in the h*ll do the police get it into their mind that they're somehow smarter than the doctor? The doctor is making considerations based on information gathered. What are the police doing besides shooting off their mouths?

"The disagreement is a little more philosophical than it is material to the case," McMinnville police Capt. Dennis Marks told KGW News in Portland. "It's not that we disagree with the mechanics of what happened. It's the finding that a 6-year-old could form that kind of intent."

Come on!! Since when do police officers take up philosophical discussions. They have no business disagreeing with a medical examiner. That's like a regular child walking into a college classroom to tell the professor the calculus equation he did was wrong.

And this is part of the reason why I get pissed at the idea that politicians can cut budgets for education but won't cut budgets for police departments. It's their ignorance and lack of education that make many police officers more of a problem. Do we really need less education and more dumb police?
09:45 AM on 04/07/2010
I think it's entirely appropriate for the police, and anyone else familiar with both the case and basic child psychology, to second guess the finding of intentional suicide. I think goldstarmom's comment above nailed the likely thought process of this little girl ie. "I'll make mommy feel bad for being so mean, so she'll treat me better". That said, if the "system" comes to believe that 6 year olds have the capacity of formulating a plan to do themselves (or others) harm and are perceived as having an appreciation of the consequences of their actions then I guess we can expect the police to be investigating a lot of child "criminals" that were never before viewed as such. Children by their vary nature are impulsive and act in ways with no thought whatsoever to the next moments, often with tragic results. My heart breaks for this family who did nothing wrong, AT ALL. Sending your belligerent child to their room for a time out is basic parenting.
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anthonytaurus
don't f&f me. you dont' know what I'll say next
10:22 AM on 04/07/2010
This is why undereducated people, such as police officers, should not question the medical examiner.

First of all, do you really think this is "basic child psychology"? Nice term, sounds good when used but think about that for a second. Children are not stupid. You may want to believe that to make this situation seem easier to manage for your own psyche but you're going to have to face some reality here. Children are not dumb animals that simply don't know any better.

Secondly, it is irrelevant what the child felt in regards to the consequences of death. The fact remains that she intended to harm herself, and MAYBE in doing so harm her mother as well. That alone makes it a suicide. Simply alluding to the potential ignorance to an aspect of her decision along with her being a "belligerent child" is not enough to challenge the fact of a suicide. It's STILL a suicide.

Finally, no one did anything wrong, except the child which is why it's a suicide. People have to stop letting their emotions get the best of them and start thinking with a clear head. Just because some cop wants it to be an accident doesn't mean we should change the truth. If we do that, then there are a lot of other children (as mentioned by parents in the comments) who may end up just like her and we're ignoring it.
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maggiee
10:01 AM on 04/07/2010
The finding can have an impact on life insurance payments. It's extremely sad to think of but a lot of parents take out small policies on their children just in case the unthinkable happens and they need to pay for a funeral. I know mine did and when I turned 21, I was able to cash out the policy and pay off a little student loan debt. This is the kind of thing that the police might think of where a doctor might not.
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anthonytaurus
don't f&f me. you dont' know what I'll say next
12:37 PM on 04/07/2010
Absolutely understandable. But, if that is the case, then it could and should have been handled privately. This is why police aren't advocates. They only know how to kick down doors, literally and figuratively. Now that it's in the public eye and everyone knows, whatever insurance company may be involved is going to stonewall this family in a big way, bring in their own experts, question the family more, etc etc etc.

On another note, by bringing it such public attention, the medical examiner is not allowed to change anything privately and must concentrate on defending himself publicly. This does nothing more than further fan the flames for this family who are already going thru hell.

I could go on and on but the point is, the police need to do their jobs, not spend taxpayer's money trying to play public advocate. There's a reason they're police and not more/less than that. This issue could and should have been handled differently and by a better-suited individual or group.
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thinkingwomanmillstone
...I am Siamese if you don't please.
07:59 AM on 04/07/2010
I worked on the children's unit in a state psychiatric hospital. We had children who were so ill that they were suicidal or homicidal. They were very depressed, very angry and very impulsive. Whether or not this child truly understood that death is forever, she certainly could form the impulse to take the actions that ended in her death. What a horrible tragedy for this family.
07:58 AM on 04/07/2010
We know this family, and they are in great pain. The parents are very loving people who have made many sacrifices for their family. You have no idea how incredibly painful it is to lose your little girl in such a way, then have your community assume that killed your daughter. Their lives are forever changed, their family is forever changed. I'm sad to see this posted on Huffington because the last thing they need is more scrutiny from strangers on the internet.
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Pennsylvanianne
There is no sin but ignorance.
08:18 AM on 04/07/2010
Please offer the family our deepest sympathies. This is a horrible tragedy. Children that age can be very willful. While the family may not appreciate the posting of the circumstances of their child's death, they may never know how many children's lives might be SAVED. That's because parents who read this site are now more aware of how even young children can kill themselves. These parents are now going to be more likely to follow their children up to their rooms after they threaten suicide.
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goodmarina
Most People use Religion to justify their bias!
09:19 AM on 04/07/2010
Please tell these parents that there are other parents out there who understand. It is a nightmare to live through -- an understatement, I know.

As a parent who advocates for greater understanding of adolescent psychiatric issues, I for one am glad to see this story posted because we need more dialog about these uncomfortable, rarely discussed or understood phenomenon.

More than 2 decades ago, i knew of a 5 year old who tried to kill himself. I happened to work at the school and was so shocked to learn that this is possible. Back then, this was not something discussed. The worst part was what the parents went through -- not because of the shame & guilt they felt but because no one was able to offer them understanding.

Suicide among our children is at a rise -- regardless of the degree of understanding of action and consequence.

As a society, we really need to talk about this and dispel myths and discuss solutions. Let us ensure that this child's life was not lost in vain ... (even though that surely brings little comfort to these parents).
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tlgeiger62
A woman of substance.
07:07 AM on 04/07/2010
I cannot imagine the horror of finding your child hanging, lifeless. I hope there is another conclusion reached. The pain of this must be overwhelming to say the least for her mother. It would seem to me that a 6 yr old would not be capable of "desiring" to end her life. Perhaps she did it in such a way that she passed out and then it was too late. Just heartwrenching.
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waldopepper
I'd tell you all about me if you were my friend.
06:49 AM on 04/07/2010
I suppose that I should not write such things here, but this story reminded me of what I used to do when I was under ten years of age. I used to put a small camping knife to my throat and press, wondering what it would be like. I had forgotten doing that. I read the story with a quite skeptical eye thinking that someone so young could not possibly have had such thoughts. And then I remembered.