Mother's attempt to protect deaf teen led to I-40 suicide attempt
Posted February 17
Raleigh, N.C. — A deaf teenager frustrated after her mother took her smartphone away threatened to kill herself on Interstate 40 on Tuesday.
Hundreds of drivers were stuck in snarled evening traffic after Raleigh police shut down a portion of I-40 as they tried to talk the girl out of jumping to her death from the Rock Quarry Road overpass.
A police officer eventually used sign language to coax the 16-year-old to safety. She was taken to a local crisis center for mental health treatment.
"I was just scared, crying, just didn't know what to do," the girl's mother, Maria Dailey, said Wednesday.
Dailey said her daughter, like most teens, finds an outlet in social media. But she fears the girl is more vulnerable than others to online predators.
"This child, she feels alone," her mother said. "I try to tell her it's dangerous, but she says not to listen to me."
Dailey said her daughter often meets people, mainly men, online and then wants to meet them in person.
The girl became so angry when Dailey took her phone away temporarily on Tuesday that she threatened to hurt herself and ran to the highway overpass.
"She wrote down that she was going to kill herself, get hit by a car," Dailey said.
Like many parents, Dailey said, she begs her teen to be careful online. To get the message across, she writes down her fears for her daughter to read.
She said she's frustrated that there aren't more resources available to educate special needs teens on the dangers they could face online.
"(There are) not that many services out there for her, for people like her, for deaf people her age," she said.