GLENDALE -- The Glendale-River Hills community has been stunned by the suicide of a middle school student, who took his own life this past weekend. Family members, classmates and school staff members gathered Thursday, November 16th to remember Quentin Espinoza. Hundreds showed up for a memorial service, open to the public.
Quentin's parents said they're amazed by the love and support, but they said they want people to know their son's death could've been prevented had someone spoken up about the extreme bullying they say their son endured.
Snapshots from the 14-year-old boy's childhood depict a happy boy, surrounded by love.
"He would fish every day. Just full of life -- and that's just why this is so devastating for us," Ethan Vasher, Quentin's father said.
Beneath the surface, Quentin was hurting. On November 12th, he committed suicide. His father says his son left a note, writing that he wanted to die to make the bullying stop.
"It just hurts to even say the words -- that just a young soul that hasn't even lived has that much pain," Vasher said.
Vasher said four months ago, he moved his family to Glendale from Ohio, where Quentin had been bullied for years. He was a student at Glen Hills Middle School, looking forward to a fresh start.
Vasher said he's learning the verbal attacks only got worse. He said one message on Quentin's Instagram account from a classmate is particularly disturbing.
"'You should go kill yourself. I hate you so much.' He told people at the school about it, and no one stepped up," Vasher said.
The school superintendent said staff members weren't aware of any harmful behavior going on, but said the district has launched an investigation. Police are also looking through Quentin's phone for evidence.
Ahead of Thursday's memorial service, Vasher said despite his anger and heartbreak, he wants something good to come from this loss, and he's already planning to pursue anti-bullying legislation.
"I just don't want any other parents to live through what we're going through right now," Vasher said.
A memorial fund has been established in honor of Quentin Espinoza at GoFundMe.com. CLICK HERE if you'd like to make a donation.