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6-Year-Old Minnesota Girl Found Dead of Apparent Suicide1/16/2015
Minnesota police are investigating the death of 6-year-old Kendrea Johnson, who was found hanging from her bedroom ceiling by a jump rope ti...
Minnesota police are investigating the death of 6-year-old Kendrea Johnson, who was found hanging from her bedroom ceiling by a jump rope tied into a noose around her neck.
A note on the floor written in purple marker said, “I’m sorry.” Another note read, “I’m sad for what I do.”
Although Kendrea’s psychiatric records show a history of suicidal and homicidal thoughts, police are suspicious of the young girl’s death.
"We just did our due diligence to tear this case apart and look at every angle," Brooklyn Park Police Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said in a report by the NY Daily News. "It's hard to believe that it was even possible. We may never know if it was suicide or an accident."
Those that knew the girl said she was really excited about an upcoming church dance that was scheduled for the next day.
Kendrea was described as a “happy-go-lucky” and “normal” child by her grandmother, Mary Lee Broadus. Kendrea's spunky and bubbly personality earned her the nickname "Ziggy."
But her behavior changed once she was placed in foster care in December 2013 after her mother was accused of abusing drugs. Broadus cared for her before she bounced around in different homes.
She began having suicidal thoughts and underwent behavioral therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and anger, The Tribune reported. Reports say she threatened to kill her foster mother with a screwdriver and drew pictures of a child hanging from a rope at school.
Although suicides among young children are pretty rare, they can happen when a child is mentally ill, has little supervision, or suffers a triggering event, said George Realmuto, a University of Minnesota psychiatry professor.
According to The Tribune, the crime lab deputy found the knot used to tie the noose to be extremely sophisticated and a deputy at the scene said he didn’t believe a 6-year-old could tie that kind of knot.
Kendrea’s grandmother is also skeptical of the death.
“Somebody did it,” Broadus said.
"They took her and put her in a worse situation," Willie Venzant, Kendrea’s uncle said. "The state didn't do their job."
The couple’s foster license has been suspended until investigations are complete.
Although the details surrounding this case are suspicious, it goes to say we shouldn’t neglect our children’s mental health either. Depression and suicidal thoughts may be rare occurrences for children, but shouldn’t stop us from having open conversations about it.
May Kendrea’s little soul rest in peace.
Ogechi Emechebe is journalism major that enjoys reading, writing and cooking. Her topics of interest include gender equality, social justice and healthy lifestyles. She describes herself as a gym rat with a slight obsession of eating healthy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org