UPDATE: Family releases statement following the filing of felony charges in teen son's suicide

2 years 1 month 3 weeks ago Wednesday, February 01 2017 Feb 1, 2017 Wednesday, February 01, 2017 5:58:00 PM CST February 01, 2017 in News
By: Shanna Grove, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

HOWARD COUNTY - Mike and Angela Suttner, parents of Kenny Suttner, release a statement regarding updates in the investigation of their son's suicide. 

"We do not want the negative things that we and our son Kenny experienced to cause the community and public to think that is all we have experienced in Glasgow," the Suttners said in their statement. "There are so many good people in the community and the school which is why we will stay in the community. However, it is long overdue that the issue of bullying be brought to light so we can all work together to make a change."

The Suttner family asked not to be contacted by the media at this time and for anyone with information to contact Special Prosecutor April S. Wilson.

On Feb. 1, the prosecuting attorney of the County of Howard charged Harley Branham with involuntary manslaughter.

A court document said the Branham acted with criminal negligence by harassing and causing the death of Kenneth Suttner. Bond was set at $25,000.

Jurors at a coroner's inquest Tuesday said bullying contributed to Suttner's self-inflicted gunshot wound on Dec. 21, 2016. 

The jury found that Branham, a manager he worked with at Dairy Queen, played a focal role in his death.

The jury said Dairy Queen was negligent in training its employees in harassment prevention and resolution. The jury also said the school followed policies and procedures, but was negligent in preventing bullying, all of which caused Suttner to take his own life.

Special Prosecuting Attorney April Wilson said there were two places Suttner experienced bullying.

"He had some pretty extreme bullying that was occurring at work, which ultimately let to the jury's decision that Harley Branham was the main actor in the involuntary manslaughter charge," Wilson said. "And he was also experiencing bullying it sounded like for a long period of time at school."

Wilson made a statement for the family.

"They said that they were, felt like this was Kenny's voice and they were hoping that this was justice for Kenny and that justice would continue," Wilson said. "And if this could just save one child's life, that Kenny's death was not in vain." 

Howard County Coroner Frank Flaspohler said coroner's inquests aren't very common. He said as a coroner for 24 years, this is only his fifth inquest.

Flaspohler said this one has a very important reason. 

"If we don't look at the ultimate cause, the really underlying cause, we can only treat the symptoms. We can't cure the disease. If we get people to focus on bullying, maybe we can crack that problem." 

Glasgow Superintendent Michael Reynolds told KOMU 8 News he does not believe there is an issue at the school district.

Branham declined to speak with KOMU 8 News during the inquest. 

Julie Sickman, a friend and coworker of Kenny's, said he was always playful, fun and always made the room shine bright. 

She said people should be willing to talk about bullying and address it. 

"Have open conversations. That way we're not holding it in and then all of a sudden we're depressed about it. It's better to communicate than not."

According to a news release, Suttner read frequently, enjoyed hunting, drawing, and had a love for animals.

Anyone with information about Suttner’s death is requested to contact the Howard County Sheriff's Department or the Howard County Coroner.

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, you can call 1-800-273-8255. 
 
For resources and ways to report bullying, you can call the Missouri School Violence Hotline at 866-748-7047.

More News

Grid
List
CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have... More >>
34 minutes ago Tuesday, March 26 2019 Mar 26, 2019 Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:33:00 AM CDT March 26, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia Public Works Department is seeking community input on plans to upgrade and install cameras... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, March 26 2019 Mar 26, 2019 Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:03:00 AM CDT March 26, 2019 in News
Missouri State Representative Rebecca Roeber was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Monday after a Morgan County car crash.... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 10:09:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Monday marked the first day Missourians could apply for Real IDs -- federally compliant IDs. Missouri... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 8:00:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Battle High School students are taking a new math class, and it doesn't involve just sitting in a... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 7:33:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri filed an appeals brief with the NCAA appeals committee. In the brief, Mizzou... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 6:12:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The federal government's ban on bump stocks goes into effect Tuesday, making Monday the last day to legally... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 5:31:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Election candidates met Monday for another round of public talks, this time focusing on policies, accessibility and accommodations... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 4:22:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- State representatives gathered Monday to announce the introduction of the Missouri First Step Act later this week. ... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 3:04:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Four more people have joined the list of people suing MU Health Care doctors and the Curators of... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 2:35:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Sheriff's Office said they seized $20,000 in illegal steroids during a traffic stop Sunday... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 1:25:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire at a business in Jefferson City. Firefighters went to... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:17:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Revenue is now offering licenses and identifications that comply with stricter... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 10:52:00 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
IOWA CITY - In the Regional Finals of the Women's NCAA Tournament, the Mizzou Tigers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:22:10 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in Sports
MOBERLY - A woman was arrested in Moberly Saturday evening for driving while intoxicated with two children in the car,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:02:00 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
Missouri forward Jontay Porter re-tore his ACL Saturday while rehabbing in Colorado, Mizzou Athletics confirmed to KOMU. Porter was... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:21:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in Sports
A triumphant President Donald Trump emerged Sunday to claim "complete and total exoneration" after special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 9:02:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Law enforcement agencies are turning to social media to connect with the people they serve. Police departments, sheriff's... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 6:43:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
11am 43°
12pm 47°
1pm 50°
2pm 53°