Amber Cornwell was a North Carolina teenager who posted what became her last message on Facebook, posing a desperate question, wondering if anyone would cry if she died that night. Hours later she committed suicide and in the aftermath there is shock and grief in the local community and, as the news spreads internationally, the tragedy becomes yet another cautionary tale.
The tragic suicide of the 16-year-old Amber Cornwell of Henderson County, NC on December 20th, just days before Christmas, has indeed received global attention. The final message she posted on Facebook, “If I die tonight, would anyone cry?” is simply heartbreaking as it was just hours later that she was found dead in her bedroom closet where she had hanged herself.
According to local North Carolina station, WLOS, Cornwell’s parents, Kim and Alan Cornwell, confirmed that she had been the victim of bullying. Her mother is quoted as saying, “This feels like a horrible nightmare that I won’t wake up from.”
In another interview, with local newspaper, BlueRidgeNow.com, Kim Cornwell, opened up about the circumstances of her daughter’s death, noting that earlier that same night she had gone out on a date with a boy. Cornwell spoke of the final moments she saw her daughter after that date, recounting her daughter’s happy state of mind, saying, “It was so sweet … like puppy love. I was so happy for her. So I told her I loved her, and I went to bed.”
And it was the last time she saw her daughter alive. Cornwell said the family discovered her body the next morning where she had hung herself in the closet.
She reflected upon Amber Cornwell’s struggles as a student attending East Henderson High School saying, “She’s been bullied for so long, by the girls especially. They picked on her all the time and called her names, even though the school is supposed to have zero tolerance for bullies.”
She continued, saying, “It’s just a slap on the wrist. The kids need to learn the consequences. My daughter’s gone. I would love to get up in front of the entire student body and tell Amber’s story for everyone to hear.”
In the meantime, the family has set up a memorial page on Facebook, and in the aftermath, the newspaper reports that school officials have visited with the family. The principal of East Henderson High School, Scott Rhodes, told the newspaper in part, “The entire East High family is saddened by this tragic loss of life. Amber was a talented young lady who was involved in many aspects of our school.”
This sad and needless death again brings attention to a scourge of our times. A teenager is dead at her own hands, and once again, we collectively witness the devastating impact of bullying. And yet such bullying continues. Teenagers commit suicide in death they are showered with the concern, compassion and empathy they did not feel while living. And tragically, all the while, there are countless others suffering silently, growing up, emotionally devastated and vulnerable and equally at risk.
More pictures of Amber Cornwell and a video report are below.
Photos: Amber Cornwell
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