The death of a bullied high school freshman in Texas was officially ruled a suicide after police discovered his body in a ditch.
Raymond Howell Jr., 14, was found in McKinney, Texas, on Thursday morning just four miles from where he attended high school. Police officers arrived to the scene around 7 a.m., and confirmed later in the day that his death was a suicide. Those who were close to Howell said, following the announcement, that he would have never taken his own life, despite being bullied by older students.
“There were people who didn't like him, but it's life — there's always someone that won't like you,” 16-year-old Aleena Rogers said. “'But those were very few and far between for him. He was loved by most everyone.”
Rogers described Howell as “an amazing guy with a huge heart,” and another friend called him a “great, happy, awesome and nice guy.”
It is unclear whether the school district was aware of claims by Howell’s friends that he was bullied, but district officials did release a statement on Thursday acknowledging the ongoing investigation and offering support for students affected by his passing.
“It is with great sadness that we were informed this morning of the death of a McKinney Boyd High School student,” spokesperson Cody Cunningham said. “We recognize there are a lot of unanswered questions at this time, and we ask for your patience as the McKinney Police Department investigates the situation.”