Local News

Mother's attempt to protect deaf teen led to I-40 suicide attempt

Posted February 17, 2016

— 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.


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  • Michael Clay Feb 18, 2016
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    I think he understands. I just think he's a raciest that wants to keep his raciest rants in the news.

  • Sean Creasy Feb 18, 2016
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    Unlike you who uses a disability as an excuse anytime you can, I made no mention of her disability but instead reflected on her apparent actions that were a direct result of her toy being taken away.

  • Jack Ruth Feb 18, 2016
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    Sean, you don't have a clue what this deaf teenager is going through and your comment demonstrates the kind of callousness the media and society have for people with disabilities, especially those who are deaf. Texting and emails are technologies that provide the deaf community an opportunity to participate in a "normal" life like everyone else in the world. Thank God there was a police officer that could communicate with this girl. The article lacks significant information to fully understand this teenager's home and social situation. Deaf Lives Matter

  • Norman Lewis Feb 18, 2016
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    This could be either an extreme over reaction to a stressful situation on the part of this young lady OR a planned, calculated action to dominate her mother in the future with the "threat" of a repeated suicide "attempt" if the mother does not allow the child to do what she wants to do. Having worked with manipulative personalities for several years, I have to be cynical about this situation. The mom acted appropriately by taking the phone away. Wanting to meet men she met on-line is an almost sure way to get sexually abused. Would the child really prefer to be raped than pay attention to her mother?, I think not.

  • Tandy Dawgy Feb 18, 2016
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    Always a victim are we?

  • Sean Creasy Feb 18, 2016
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    After reading this article I couldn't help but feel that this was just another spoiled teen throwing a temper tantrum to get attention..

  • Steve Clark Feb 18, 2016
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    "A police officer used sign language to coax the 16 yr old to safety" ... and this will NEVER be acknowledged by the "Black Lives Matter" crowd. There ARE some bad cops out there, but there are an AWFUL LOT of really good ones.

  • Jim Hinnant Feb 18, 2016
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    Suicide "threat." Had she jumped and survived it would have been an "attempt."

  • Barrett Powell Feb 18, 2016
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    Kudos to this mom. She deserves all the help she can get. Don't give up.

  • Erika Phipps Feb 17, 2016
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    I am so glad for this girl, her family, and the police involved that she realized it was help she needed, not oblivion. Accepting the genuine help of compassionate professionals can make all the difference in the world, for her and those who love her.