SUICIDE (HOAX?): Terrel Williams, 17, Hangs Himself In Bedroom Closet After High School Beating (Updated)
No, no. Not another one. Please: Beverly Hills native Terrel Williams,, 17, hung himself in his bedroom closet Oct. 13 after enduring torment at his high school. His mother Cheryl found him in his bedroom, dead. (Update: There’s some evidence this might be a hoax. See below.)
The suicide came hours after an attack by five high school classmates, who threw Williams into a brick wall at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Washington, reports LGBTQ Nation. (Note: See below updates. The school is near where he died, we’re told, and Lakewood is where his family had a vacation home.)
His boyfriend Daric Rawr, 16, says he was unaware of the attack and was en route to Terel’s house for a family dinner when Terel’s mother Cheryl called him. Terel had to be driven home from school after the assault. Daric describes his fallen partner: as a “compassionate, fun loving, outgoing person who enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved life, but felt the need to take it, because [the bullying] didn’t stop … respectful, whole hearted people like Terrel, and the growing number of others, shouldn’t have to feel suicide is the answer, because bullies won’t stop.”
Terel’s suicide note reads:
I’m sorry to my immediate loved ones, but I feel suicide is the only way out. I felt coming out, and being happy with Daric, was the best thing I could’ve ever done. But I didn’t think it would lead to my death at an early age. Today, was the record worst day of my life, some kids at school stole some of my stuff that I got from people I really cared about, and that really pushed me over the top, next to being shoved into a wall, and my ribs being broken.
Cheryl posted to Terrel’s Twitter account:
My son meant the world, and high school bullies pushed him over the edge. I hope and pray, that no other child ever has to go through what he did. Bullying isn’t worth it. Why can’t people just be nice?
Bizarrely, Terrel suffered a gunshot wound Sept. 31 during an apparent robbery while visiting New York City. Terrel would have turned 18 on Saturday. He is at least the second gay teenager to take his life this month, and the eighth in two months. I think I speak for every reader when I say our hearts are with his family and friends.
UPDATE: Efforts to locate a Terrel Williams at Clover Park High School turn up no student by that name. Moreover, a reporter working on the story could not locate a coroner’s report in either Pierce County or Los Angeles County. A post on AllVoices.com about Williams’ supposed gunshot wound in NYC has been removed. Local media have yet to report on the story, possibly because they are also having difficult tracking down a Terrel Williams.
A Facebook search for men with the name (including ambiguations and the name “Terrel Allen Williams”) in either Washington State or the Los Angeles area yielded little; one profile does exist of a Terrel in L.A., but there is no profile picture or additional profile information. A page on Change.org about his suicide lists no unreported information. The Twitter account “MemoryOfTerrel,” where his mother Cheryl supposedly left a note about his passing, has been set as private; it has just 32 followers; its bio reads “In loving memory of Terrel Allen Williams. 1992- 2010.” Previous tweets, obtained by seeing other users’ retweets, include, “Sitting with my eldest son, and husband in our backyard, watching the stars, thinking of all the memories we had here. We luv u Terrel” and ” Your memory will never fade, your personality will always shine, your shadow will live forever.”
The Twitter profile of boyfriend Daric Rawr (bio: “Ex Radio Host, Deactivated Disc Jockey, Mile High Radio Head, LGBT/YoungAdult/Romance Author. Available In Stores Now”) uses the same background image as “MemoryOfTerrel.” It includes tweets from today messaging other users about being bullied and Daric’s “loss.” Daric’s Facebook profile (which is actually a Page, not a regular user Profile), which hadn’t been updated since Oct. 7, now includes a link to this Queerty post.
We’re working to track down additional information about Williams, and it’s too premature to label this boy’s supposed death a definite hoax, but crucial elements to this story are missing. We’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE 2, 10/22 12:05am: Daric writes us in an email that Terrel’s suicide is “not a hoax.” The reason some of the details (like location) don’t match up is because of initial reporting errors, he says.
To begin with, his death is not a hoax. A reporter i had spoken too, misread what i had said and streamed across the internet that he was hear in washington, but in fact was not. I have repeated this, to a number of people already.
I have not decided to reveal where he really died, because of this problem exactly. I had no intentions of intentionally saying he died in washington, he merely only had a vacation home in washington in which he was at for not even 2 weeks before he passed away.
My words are being misconstruded, and even being put into statements i never said on some websites (Yours being one of the only correct ones).
I do not think, unless asked by the News Tribune tommorow that i will reveal any further details until given permission by his mother.
I have apologized for the public mishap. I’ve also come across what you are talking about, which recalls my attention to typing in “Terrel Williams” on google even “Terrell Williams” or anything close to that nature, you’re going to find DOZENS of a man with the same name as my friend.
I think that is where people are getting mixed up, they see one thing about the actual terrel in one place, and then see about the other one in another place.
And also, some of the negative comments i’m sure your website and others you see are going to receive, as i’ve just seen myself have absolutely nothing to do with terrels death.
On one website, i was just involved with a public sparring match over what is written about myself on the internet. I again, said on the same website, what you’ll find about me is entirely speculation and rumours. Why are their things on the internet about me? I write books for a living, and thats how the internet ordeal with my name even started.
I don’t understand how my own life before terrel even came along got drug into this. The only wrong thing you have in your news release of Terrels death, is the name of his school, and where he died. I dont recall ever saying he went to Clover Park High School, it was Near clover park high school in which the situation took place.
The reasoning behind very little of a digital trail, is his mother is finally as of this morning allowing me to speak out. She had a right to privacy, after what happened to her son, and i couldn’t violate it, by talking to the media until she gave me permission
Tommorow morning [Friday] at 12:30 i have an interview/meeting with the Tacoma News Tribune, in which the lady informed me, than will the story be publicly available for people to view.
UPDATE 3, 10/22: Sadly, more evidence points to this story being fake. The photo of “Terrel Williams” (airquotes on purpose) is actually of Donny Lumpkins, who worked with the organization YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, and is unrelated to this story (we’ve blurred the photo to illustrate the point). Which means this post has now turned into not the story of another gay teen suicide, but how Internet pranksters managed to spread fake information about such a sickening issue.