Local News

Bullied 10-year-old girl commits suicide

Posted November 16, 2011 5:48 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2011 7:19 p.m. EST

— Columbus County authorities are investigating the death of a 10-year-old girl who hanged herself Monday night after repeatedly being bullied at school.

Samantha West said she found her daughter, Jasmine McClain, dead in her bedroom Monday night.

"I just lost it because she took her last breath in my arms," West said Wednesday. "She was a loving child. I just don't understand."

Chadbourn Police Chief Steven Shaw said her death was obviously suicide, and he was about to close the case when he started checking posts on Facebook and other social media about Jasmine and her death.

"Children started coming forward and making accusations that she was bullied – and bullied bad – in school," Shaw said.

Jasmine was picked on at Chadbourne Elementary School, West said, noting other children teased her about her clothes or her shoes. She left the school for a while and dreaded having to return about a month ago, her mother said.

"It's a shame that kids are that cruel. It really is," West said, noting that she never knew how badly Jasmine had been tormented.

"Everyone that we have spoken to, there are little indicators – not huge indications – but small indications that she was not happy," Shaw said.

State lawmakers passed two anti-bullying laws two years ago. One made online bullying of children a misdemeanor, while the other required school districts to adopt policies to prohibit bullying without specifying the punishment for violators.

Shaw said it's too early to determine whether anyone could face criminal charges in Jasmine's death.

Chadbourn Elementary Principal Deanna Shuman said the school is working with police and is also conducting its own investigation. Flags outside the school flew at half-staff on Wednesday in Jasmine's memory.