A 12-year-old boy named Joel Morales hanged himself in his East Harlem apartment after being driven to suicide by bullies who relentlessly teased him for being short and brainy, his heartbroken family said Wednesday.
Relatives of Joel said the exclamation point came after a boy teased him about his dead father.
Joel’s mother found his body hanging from a shower rod in the bathroom of their apartment at the Jefferson Houses on Second Ave. about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the New York Daily News; Joel told a friend “I’m tired of all this bullying,” just hours before taking his life, according to his aunt.
Joel’s aunt, Angelica Babilonia, 23, said a classmate of Joel’s told relatives how depressed the boy had become due to the bullies’ actions, and had also revealed details of the encounter regarding Joel’s dead father.
The family’s demise began only a few hours earlier when Joel’s mom, Lizbeth Babilonia, sent out a search party for her son. After her son didn’t turn up, the frantic mother went up to their 13th-floor apartment. Within mere seconds, the mother let out a gut-wrenching scream. She found the boy hanging from a shower rod in their bathroom.
Joel's sister, Richellis Salazar, 23, said, “I know in my heart it was bullying that made him do it."
This was no random, nor spur of the moment incident. Joel’s untimely death was inevitable, given his tirelessly unforgiving environment.
The boy transferred schools to get away from the bullying.
However; they were able to hunt him down and continued to chase and subsequently jump him. During one incident four boys showed up at Joel’s doorstep and threw sticks and a pipe at the boy, once he answered the door.
These disturbing incidents prompted an intervention from their school principal. This involved Joel, the accused bullies, and the parents of the children. This preemptive meeting clearly did not affect these bullies’ actions, and even likely worsened them.
Furthermore, Joel’s mother pleaded to the New York Housing Authority to switch housing projects, but she was denied.
Our hopes and prayers go out the relatives of Joel Morales. We hope that justice comes to help all of you during your time of need.