A small town in South New Jersey is mourning the deaths of two teenagers who committed suicide just four days apart.
Ado Halkic, 15, and Mike Steve, 18, were close friends. They went to school together at Burlington Township High School and trained together at the JBM Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Edgewater Park for almost eight years.
On Jan. 1, Halkic asked his father to order chicken wings and to watch football with him. Moments later, the father found his son dead.
“No word, nothing,” Adam Halkic, the boy’s father, told NBC10. “No discussion, no note, that killed me.”
Halkic had hung himself in his bedroom and four days later, his good friend Steve would do the same.
“These guys didn’t show anything,” JBM Gym Director Victor Lopez said. “That’s what makes it even more shocking.
“Both of them were a part of our jiujitsu academy that we treated as extended family.”
Steve had spoken at Halkic’s memorial service two days before his own suicide. He also posted a message on Facebook dedicated to his friend.
“He may be physically not here but his spirit is,” the post stated. “It’s a big pleasure still calling him my dearest and closest friend. I love you buddy I will see you soon!!!”
The school released a statement following the tragedy.
“Needless to say, the past few days have been painful for our entire community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have been touched by the sudden death of two of our high school students. It is in times like these that we need to come together as a community and support one another.”
An investigation is currently underway to try and determine what might have led the two teenagers to commit suicide. Burlington Township High School and the JBM Jiu Jitsu Academy both held events to offer guidance to the grieving parents.