An 11-year-old cancer survivor from Ohio fatally shot herself after undergoing “relentless” bullying for over a year, her family and officials said.
Bethany Thompson, a sixth-grader at Triad Middle School, killed herself on Oct. 19 after boys in the school mocked her “crooked smile” for more than a year, according to Time.
Bethany was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008, and survived after undergoing surgery and radiation treatments to remove the tumor the same year. Nerve damage from the operation affected her smile, which school bullies targeted to poke fun at her, reports Bethany’s mother, Wendy Feucht.
“It wasn’t a huge issue, but she was very sensitive about it,” Feucht said. “She had been picked on it before.”
On the day she took her life, Bethany told her best friend on the school bus ride home that she “loved her and that she was her best friend forever, but that she was going to kill herself when she got home,” Dispatch reports.
Before her friend’s father could call Bethany’s parents, the girl had found a loaded gun on a shelf in the family’s home and shot herself in the head on the back porch. Bethany’s mother found her body, while her stepfather slept in a room next door.
“It was a complete shock,” Feucht said. “It’s sad and it’s awful that she felt nobody could help her.”
“People need to know that even the littlest things can break someone,” she added.