SAN ANTONIO — The parents of a 15-year-old boy believe he livestreamed his own death because he was participating in the Blue Whale Challenge.
Isaiah Gonzalez of San Antonio died by suicide on Saturday, FOX29 reported. Gonzalez’s mother shared a smiling photo of him on Facebook the next day.
Family members found Gonzalez hanging in a bedroom closet with a cellphone propped nearby, according to KSAT. They believe he had livestreamed his suicide as part of the challenge.
Family members told KSAT that Gonzales had sent pictures of himself completing challenges to friends before his death, but the friends had thought he was joking.
“They blew it off like it was a joke and if one of them would have said something, one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” KSAT quoted Gonzalez’s sister as saying.
“We had no signs at all,” Gonzalez’s father told reporters.
Gonzalez was getting ready to begin his sophomore year at Southside High School and had just joined ROTC, according to FOX29.
“We didn’t think that our son would ever do something like this,” Gonzalez’s father was quoted as saying.
The Blue Whale Challenge is a social media group that encourages teens to harm themselves each day for 50 days and then commit suicide.
The San Antonio Police Department has not verified the challenge was a factor in the teen’s death, FOX29 reported, but the teen’s parents are urging others to be vigilant and routinely check their kids’ social media pages.
“I want them to go through their phones, look at their social media,” Gonzales’s father told KSAT. “If they’re on that challenge already, they can catch that from happening.”
The funeral for Gonzalez is scheduled for Thursday.
His mother posted a video tribute to him on Facebook, showing him during happier times.
Helpful resources for parents and students:
- Colorado Crisis and Support Line (844-493-8255, or text “Talk” to 38255)
- National Suicide Hotline (800-273-8255
- Safe2Tell (877-542-7233)
- Trevor Project hotline for suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth (866-488-7386)
There are also talking points for parents available from the National Association of School Psychologists.