Coroner wants investigation into 8-year-old’s suicide

The Hamilton County coroner wants a full police investigation into whether an 8-year-old boy’s suicide resulted from possible bullying at school and should be ruled a homicide.

Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco said her office will dig deeper into the case based on a surveillance video taken inside Carson School and a police detective’s analysis.

“There’s enough information here that we would like to reopen the case to look at whether we need to amend the death certificate,” Sammarco said Thursday on 700 WLW radio. “It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide and so I asked Cincinnati police to treat this as a homicide until proven otherwise and investigate it fully.”

Gabriel Taye hanged himself at home on Jan. 26, two days after a disturbing incident inside a restroom at the West Price Hill school.

Police didn’t file charges, and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and the Taye family are disputing what the video shows.

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For now, the coroner said the manner of Taye’s death is suicide, but her team will try to figure out if there were any contributing factors.

“What we are going to try to do is determine what kind of physical findings may be attributed to injuries he sustained, ” she said.

“We want to do right by this child … This has been one of the most emotionally draining cases that we’ve had in our office,” she said.

A Cincinnati police statement Thursday acknowledged the department investigated Taye’s death on Jan. 26, but officials there said it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.

Taye’s initial autopsy was thrown out, according to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office. The initial cause of death was ruled a suicide. The doctor completing the new autopsy is out until next week, and there’s no timeline for the completion of a new investigation.

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