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Family says 10-year-old who died was bullied for months at Peekskill elementary school

Peekskill family says 10-year-old died after bullying
Peekskill family says 10-year-old died after bullying 02:12

Editor's note (7:20 p.m. 6/7/23): This story has been updated to reflect the latest information after Tony Aiello's report aired at 5 p.m.

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Westchester Medical Examiner says the May 25 death of 10-year-old Gianlukas Illescas was accidental asphyxiation. 

The City of Peekskill says the police will provide a full update on the circumstances when an investigation is complete.

Christian Illescas, the boy's father, believes his son died by suicide after months of bullying at Hillcrest Elementary School.

He spoke at Tuesday night's school board meeting and said his concerns about bullying were ignored by Superintendent Dr. David Mauricio.

"I've been coming to this building for six months, six months.  Just one minute, you never listened to me, you never opened that door."

READ MOREPeekskill community in mourning following death of 10-year-old student

Some applauded when Christian Illescas asked the board to fire Mauricio.

"He gotta go!  He gotta go!  Why do you defend him?" Illescas said.

A state database shows no reported incidents of severe bullying at Hillcrest Elementary in 2020-21, the most recent reporting year, but some insist bullying is a pervasive problem in Peekskill schools.

"Do we really need someone to end their life to actually do something?  Why can't something be done even just in general?" a non-binary student told the board Tuesday night.

Gianlukas attended an after-school program at Little Kings and Queens Daycare in Peekskill, according to director Wykeima King-Walker.

"A boy that was just so responsible, so mature, polite," she told CBS2.

King-Walker said the family removed Gianlukas from the program on May 1, and she was taken aback when the family said he died by suicide.

"That was just a shock to me because he was just always happy, always had a smile on his face.  A great child."

The district released a statement:

"We remain deeply saddened over the loss of our Hillcrest student.  At this moment our focus is on sharing our condolences with the family and friends of the student, and on helping our school community, in all ways possible, to cope with their grief."

"We await (police) findings and will respect the family's privacy during this delicate time."

CBS2 has asked Peekskill Police and the School Superintendent for comment now that the manner of death has been determined. 

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