2 Sanpete County teens found dead from apparent suicide

Posted at 8:51 PM, Feb 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-18 16:50:18-05

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah -- Two Sanpete County teens were found dead over the weekend after they apparently took their own lives, officials said Monday.

Investigators say a 13-year-old boy from Gunnison Middle School and a student from Gunnison High committed suicide. The deaths appear to be unrelated.

The mother of the middle school student came home from the store Sunday to find her son, Anthony Shane Hazel, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

"Losing a child is the worst thing -- the worst pain you could ever imagine," said Anthony's mother Jackie Peacock.

Anthony’s mother believes her son was a victim of persistent bullying at school.

"We would try to tell him, 'Anthony, you're worth more than that. Don't listen to those kids.' But I guess their voices were louder than ours," Peacock said.

The reasons for both cases are still under investigation. Now the South Sanpete School District is working to help students and teachers cope with the deaths.

“We live in a small valley and when these things happen they affect everybody,” said Kent Larsen, superintendent of the school district.

Larsen said there’s a group of four to five counselors at each school to meet with students for grief counseling.

“There are faculty members that connected with them and are grieving quite heavily at this point,” the superintendent said of the students.

This isn't the first time Sanpete County has seen a rash of suicides among teens. In 2011 there were six suicides in one month.

District officials say they do their best to stop bullying. And that they had teachers working with one of the two students who died over the weekend.

MORE: Click here to get help if someone you know is contemplating suicide