Watch CBSN Live

Ohio coroner reopens case in suicide of bullied 8-year-old

8-year-old bullying tragedy
8-year-old bullying tragedy 02:49

An Ohio coroner reopened the investigation into an 8-year-old's death after he was allegedly bullied in his final days. Third-grader Gabriel Taye took his own life in January. The public school he attended is expected to release video Friday that reportedly shows the child being attacked in a bathroom.

Gabriel Taye  

That bathroom encounter happened just two days before Gabriel committed suicide. If the county coroner amends his death certificate, she said she would send the case to the prosecutor's office – if it's determined violence contributed to his death, reports CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.

An assistant principal at Carson Elementary School in Cincinnati found Gabriel unconscious inside the boy's bathroom on January 24. He was sent to the nurse's office, then taken home by his mother. That night, he was complaining of stomach pains. It was diagnosed at a hospital as the stomach flu.

Within 48 hours, he hanged himself in his bedroom, prompting an investigation by Cincinnati police.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, a homicide detective said the surveillance video captured "bullying and could even rise to the level of criminal assault" and noted in his report that after Gabriel fell to the ground, "many students step over, point, mock, nudge [and] kick" him.

Jennifer Branch is representing Gabriel's mom.

"She's devastated that her son's second-to-last day was so painful for him," Branch said.

Branch said the video shows a student slam him against a bathroom wall, but her client was told by the school only that her son had "fainted."

"If the school had told mom that your son was assaulted, your son had lost consciousness for over seven minutes, she would have immediately taken him to the hospital and had him examined," Branch said.

Cincinnati Public Schools told the Cincinnati Enquirer: "While we are concerned about the length of time that Gabriel lay motionless and the lack of adult supervision," "school administrators...followed protocol by calling the school nurse" and say they asked his mother "to pick him up and take him to the hospital to be checked out."

"It's going to happen again if nothing is done," one parent, Jessica Gibson, said.

Parents at the school say the boy's death has prompted some difficult conversations with their children.

"It's kind of tough talking to a five-year-old about someone she's seen every day after school not being there no more, and why did he killed himself," Gibson said.

CBS News has not seen the police report or the surveillance video. It's unclear if the student described in the video is still enrolled at the school or if any administrators have faced disciplinary action. We reached out to Carson Elementary and did not hear back.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.