The death of Morristown High School student Lennon Baldwin continues to draw attention from regional media, as the Morris County Prosecutor's Office reportedly looks into the possibility bullying contributed to the teen's end.
Several media outlets have called the Morris Township teen's death an apparent suicide. Patch has declined to describe the death as such, as no officials have publicly stated that conclusion.
However, the incident is being investigated by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Major Crime Unit, Juvenile Unit, Computer Crimes Unit, Morris County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Section and the Morris Township and Morristown Police departments.
"He wasn't the kid standing in the corner, disheveled," Joe Mottola, Lennon's bowling coach, told NBC. "He was with the mix, he was with everybody."
Mottola further said it was "unfair that nowadays kids have learned to mask their emotional feelings."
Friends have been expressing grief, condolences and support on a Facebook page dedicated to Lennon's memory. There, many have also addressed the reports of bullying, calling for action.
"So many children are taking their own lives due to this matter!" Christy Paige Bass wrote on the Facebook page. "This has gotten way out of control and is so sad. My heart goes out to you! Something needs to be done about bullying ASAP!!"
Some posters expressed frustration that not enough is done to stop bullying when it occurs. And others said teens need to be more aware of the impact they have on others.
"My deepest sympathy to you all. Bullying is a horrible thing and no kid should ever have to endure such pain. I wish kids would realize that others have feelings and feel the pain every time they are bullied. My heart goes out to the Baldwin [family]," Tracey Izzi wrote.
Some left messages for other teens who might be troubled by the treatment they get from their peers.
"I pray that Lennon found peace, but I wish he had known that it does get better; bullying is rarely forever," Maya Spier North wrote.
Several friends have posted tributes via YouTube. In one video, sped up through a time-lapse technique, a friend sketches a portrait of Lennon. In others, friends dedicate skateboard tricks to Lennon. Yet another shows images of Lennon throughout his life, often enjoying the company of friends.
And on each of those videos, the posters and commenters address the subject of bullying as well.
"This video shows friends do care. If you have something to talk about, turn to them, and talk about it. Your true friends won't judge," YouTube user "rollintre30" wrote under the speed-drawing video.
An obituary published in the Star-Ledger describes Lennon as a championship bowler, an accomplished musician (playing guitar and drums), a longtime camper and a "pro at Xbox." It says he loved animals and enjoyed the company of others.
"Lennon had a great wit and sense of humor; his laughter and smile will be greatly missed by all," the obituary states. "Some of his one-liners and retorts are famous with family and friends. What Lennon really wanted was to be loved, respected, and accepted by his peers. Now Lennon is finally at peace. Please hold him close to you in your mind, in your hearts, and in your spirits."
Morristown school officials have declined to discuss the death, referring all questions to law enforcement. The school has made crisis counselors available through the guidance office (reachable at 973-292-2000 ext. 2130 during normal school hours). Outside of school hours, it advises calling the Youth Helpline at 888-222-2228 or the Atlantic Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline at 973-540-0100 for support.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office asks anyone with information to call the office at 973-285-2900, the Morris Township Police Department at 973-539-0777, the Morristown Police Department at 973-538-2200 or the Morris County Sheriff's Office Crime Stopper Program at 973-COPCALL.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 2, at the , 50 South Park Place. Friends gathered earlier for a candlelight vigil on Friday, MorristownGreen.com reported. A service was also held Friday at the Assumption Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lennon Baldwin Memorial Fund, c/o Johnson & Johnson Esq., 30 Columbia Turnpike, Suite 200, Florham Park, N.J. 07930.