Seth Walsh, the Tehachapi 13-year-old who hanged himself from a tree in his back yard after years of being bullied, died Tuesday afternoon after nine days on life support.
Tehachapi police investigators interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he hanged himself and determined despite the tragic outcome of their ridicule, their actions do not constitute a crime.
"Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," Jeff Kermode, Tehachapi Police Chief, said. "They had never expected an outcome such as this."
He said the students told investigators they wish they had put a stop to the bullying and not participated in it.
Friends said Seth was picked on for years because he was gay.
School administrators said they have an anti-bullying program in place, but schoolmates said staff at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi offered Seth no protection or guidance.
A YouTube video by a family member sends a message about Seth: "He was bullied and teased, now in the hospital, this face right here is suffering because of bullying, never say a mean thing again."
Meanwhile the community is pulling together for the Walsh family. A fund has been set up at Bank of the Sierra for donations. In Bakersfield, Audrey's Cafe on Union Avenue at Truxtun Avenue has a box where people can send messages to the family to show their support.
"We decided that we as a community in Bakersfield and as a county needed to do something to show our support," said Kathi Briefer-Gose, a gay rights activist. "People can bring down cards, letters, to tell the Walsh family that they are behind them."
A memorial service for Seth will be held Friday at 3:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Tehachapi.