Isabella Tichenor

Photo: An African-American girl with light-brown skin, brown hair tied into two small buns. She is smiling, showing a small gap between her front teeth. She is wearing a leopard-print sweater.Name: Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor.
Died: November 7, 2021.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Suicide (After long term bullying).
Location: North Salt Lake, Utah, USA.

Izzy, a fifth-grader, was constantly bullied at school for being autistic and being black. She reported the bullies multiple times; the school did nothing, and a teacher even joined in. Her mother talked to the principal; again, nothing was done.

Isabella died by suicide at the age of 10.

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Isaac López

Photo of a young man in a white hoodie; he has light skin, dark-brown hair, and is posed in an artistic way, eyes down and mouth open in mid-sentence.Name: Isaac López.
Died: July 14, 2021.
Age at death: 18.
Cause of death: Homicide (Stabbed).
Location: Madrid, Spain.

Isaac was a reggaeton and rap singer, just starting his career. He was talented, his family remembers; at home, he had his own recording setup, with a computer and microphone. He had been composing music for a long time. As a rapper, his nickname was “Lil Kinki”, and he had songs on Spotify.

Isaac had recently lost his father. With his orphan’s pension and disability payments, he took care of his mother, whose chronic illness affected her mobility.

Isaac was diagnosed with Asperger’s and schizophrenia, and music was one of the ways he coped. For several months, he was harassed because of his autism, something he wouldn’t tell his family about because he didn’t want to worry them, though his friends knew.

On the last day of his life, he called a friend and said he was being chased by four people. His friend told him to run and meet him at the metro station, but Isaac never arrived. He was ambushed by a group of assailants on the street and stabbed in the back; paramedics tried to revive him, but he was dead at the scene. Police believe the attackers were members of a street gang who held territory near Isaac’s house.

Isaac leaves behind his mother, who now has no source of income.

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Semina Halliwell

Photo: A teenage girl with long brown hair, brown eyes, and olive-tone skin, wearing a white tank top.Name: Semina Halliwell.
Died: June 12, 2021.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Suicide (Medication overdose).
Location: Southport, England, UK.

Semina was raped, allegedly by an older boy at her school. Traumatized, she told her mother what had happened. Semina, her mother, and her aunt went to the police together; she named her attacker and reported the rape.

But the police did not attempt to help her. Instead, the lead detective only talked about how much paperwork she’d have to do, and how the case would take a long time, and how it would be her word against his.

After reporting the rape, Semina was harassed at school and online. She was assaulted at school, and her family was threatened with violence.

Three months after she first reported the rape, Semina told her parents that she was fed up, went to her room, took an overdose of medication, and died.

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Sterling McCain

Photo of a man with brown hair, fair skin, and a full beard. He is wearing glasses and a plaid flannel shirt.Name: Sterling McCain.
Died: April 3, 2021.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Gunshot.
Location: San Angelo, California, USA.

From Sterling’s obituary:
“Sterling had many interests, but some of his favorite hobbies were fishing and playing the guitar. He was a much more accomplished guitarist than fisherman, but that never discouraged him from trying. He loved Harry Potter and had quite the collection of all things Hogwarts. He also enjoyed grilling outdoors; he always cooked the best steaks.

“Sterling had a very caring and sensitive heart. He rescued virtually every dog he found, always making room for one more. He also loved to surprise Myan with simple little gifts that he always tried to keep a secret, but his sly little grin always gave him away. He loved his family and enjoyed the simple things in life.”

Sterling and his wife were having marital problems, so they decided to go on a drive to discuss things and rekindle their relationship. But things went wrong. At a restaurant, Sterling got drunk and argued with a waitress; on the way home, Sterling became non-verbal and had to communicate through text messages, which got increasingly jumbled as he started reversing his pronouns, calling himself a demon, talking about burning in hell, and talking about killing himself and killing his wife.

On the drive home, Sterling’s wife called a family friend, asking for help. The friend gathered a rifle and a large knife, called the police to report a possible assault, and awaited the couple’s car. Sterling’s wife reports that he pulled her hair and grabbed her by the neck.

When they pulled into the driveway, Sterling exited the car, and his wife locked herself into the car. Sterling went to the house and started banging on the siding; then he went to the door. The friend met him at the door, holding a rifle, which Sterling tried to swat away. The friend shot him multiple times, killing him. Sterling was unarmed at the time.

Sterling, like many autistic adults, found it very difficult to get any support. He had been repeatedly bullied at work. When he had a breakdown and police were called, they did not respond to the call until after he had been shot.

The man who shot Sterling, initially charged with murder, accepted a deal to plead to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and released on time served, having spent just over a year in jail.

Editor’s note: Autistic people are, of course, neither angels nor demons; we are no more prone to violence than the average person. Sterling’s behavior should not be condoned–but neither did it deserve death, especially since the man who shot him could see Sterling’s wife was safe in the car, knew the police were on their way, and knew Sterling was unarmed. Sterling, having consumed alcohol and in the middle of an autistic meltdown, would very likely have responded well to being left alone and allowed to calm down on his own.

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Chris Miller

Photo of Chris Miller, a blond, curly-haired young man holding up a superhero comic book; he is wearing a black shirt and turquoise bow tie.Name: Chris Miller.
Died: February 12, 2021.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Head injury from being thrown off the back of a pickup truck.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Chris was bullied at school due to his autism to the point that, at 12 years old, he attempted suicide. He survived the attempt and went on to become an autism and anti-bullying advocate. He was known for his comic book character, “Captain Spectrum”.

At 15, Chris made this Facebook post, explaining what it was like to have autism, sharing his love of his puppy, cooking, Legos, and drawing, and saying, “I am glad so many people like my character Captain Spectrum, I hope he gets to make a movie one day. Mom says to keep my dreams open to all possibilities, anything can happen.”

Chris fell from the back of a pickup truck while helping empty trash into a dumpster, and was brought to the hospital with a shattered skull that ultimately proved fatal. His family donated his organs, so that their son could save lives even in death.

At first, Chris’s death was thought to be an accident; but his mother was worried that Chris’s fall from the truck had not been accidental. Prosecutors now suspect that the driver of the truck, engaging in yet more bullying, had hit the accelerator while Chris was in the back of the truck, causing Chris’s fatal fall. The driver has been charged with homicide.

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Captain Spectrum | Facebook