By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – With the Safford community still reeling from the suicide deaths of two Safford High School juniors in December, any case relating to suicide is getting a much-needed thorough investigation.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) is reportedly investigating a Safford case in which a 13-year-old boy allegedly attempted suicide twice within days of each attempt.
A Safford officer was dispatched to the boy’s residence Feb. 2 at about 7:09 p.m. for a welfare check after receiving an anonymous tip that the boy had cut himself with the intention of ending his life.
The officer met with the juvenile and his mother. The boy then showed the officer his left arm, which had a superficial cut that did not require medical attention. He said he had cut himself because he wanted to commit suicide after his girlfriend had broken up with him.
The officer also noticed several other scars and marks the juvenile said he previously made by cutting himself. He said he cut himself with a kitchen knife, and officers were allowed to remove the knife from the residence.
The boy said his mother had previously pulled him out of school and that he was not receiving any scholastic learning from any institution or home school, which is illegal in Arizona. A Safford Unified School District Crisis Response Team member arrived at the residence to assist with the case and informed officers that additional law enforcement action wasn’t necessary. While leaving the residence, the 13-year-old’s mother asked officers to remove all of the knives from the residence.
The officers then forwarded their report to the DCS after speaking with a representative on its hotline.
Just two days later, Feb. 4, officers were called back to the residence after the youth allegedly drank bleach in another suicide attempt. The juvenile threw up the bleach and his face and arms turned red but did not have to be hospitalized, according to the police report.
The DCS investigation is ongoing.
The DCS offers a statewide toll-free hotline for those who suspect child abuse or wish to report an issue with a child at 1-888-767-2445.
Cenpatico Integrated Care is the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for southern Arizona. Those in need can reach a representative at 1-866-495-6735 to speak with callers about their fears and concerns and to provide assistance with whatever crisis situation, according to a press released from Cenpatico. The service is available to anybody in the community at no cost, regardless of insurance or other factors.