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The family of a West Virginia third-grader who hanged himself Saturday at his home said his death came after months of bullying by other children.

Jackson Grubb, 9, of Sophia, died Sept. 10, the date designated as World Suicide Prevention Day. NBC affiliate WVVA reported that the boy’s family and friends are citing schoolyard bullies as the cause of his death.

Betsy Baber, Jackson’s grandmother and guardian, told the news station that the introverted boy used to fight back against the bullies with humor or, occasionally, physical confrontation, but that in recent weeks, he’d become more withdrawn than usual.

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“I was spending time with him, trying to get it out of him,” Baber told WVVA. “But Jack’s the type that holds things in, and I couldn’t get to him.”

Jackson’s sister went into his bedroom on Saturday carrying a frog that she’d found outside, hoping the amphibian would cheer him up, the news station said. Instead, she found her brother’s body.

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The boy’s biological mother, Diana Crump, said that when she got to the hospital, staff would not let her into the room with Jackson, and emergency responders who had brought him to the emergency room were crying. She said that’s when she knew that her son was gone.

Officials at Jackson’s school, Sophia Soak Creek Elementary School, said his family did not report the alleged bullying, WVVA reported. Baber confirmed that the family had not reported anything to the school and that many of the details surrounding her grandson’s death are only now coming to light.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Jackson’s burial costs.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 800,000 people die each year by their own hands. In the United States, more than a million people attempt suicide annually; the American Association of Suicidology has identified it as the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution |