Residents of this small mountain town are still trying to understand why two popular teens would take off on a four-state journey, only to end it by committing suicide on an Arkansas highway.
Kevin Hyde and Joshua Rogers, who were both 15, shot themselves after their stolen car was stopped by an Arkansas state trooper early Saturday morning.
A 12-year-old girl from Robbinsville also was in the car and reportedly tried to kill herself, but was stopped by the trooper, authorities said.
``A couple of people have asked me what's different about this case,'' said Lowell Crisp, superintendent of schools in Graham County. ``It's always different when someone commits suicide. There's something very different about this one.''
In this town surrounded by the peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains, it's easy to close ranks in times of tragedy. That's what happened this week as residents prepared for today's funerals for Hyde and Rogers.
Sheriff's deputies refused to allow the media to enter the high school gymnasium for Wednesday night's memorial service.
One deputy who refused to give his name said townspeople were concerned that the case would be sensationalized in the media. ``The way we all feel about it, you should leave the grieving families alone,'' he said