A Connecticut mother is speaking out about her son's death in order to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
Edith Bell spoke with WTIC, a Fox affiliate in Hartford, about the tragedy that befell her son, Demarius, last week.
The 20-year-old, who had come out as gay to his family several years earlier, died January 8 after he hanged himself from a tree in his mother's backyard. Shortly beforehand, Demarius had been speaking with his mother and told her, "Mom, I'll be right back," Edith Bell recounted.
The act floored her. "My son was outgoing and happy," she said with disbelief. "You would never know he was hurting inside."
Bell said the tragedy occurred late at night, while she had been asleep for about an hour. Concerned that Demarius had not returned home, she noticed his sneakers on the rug and his cell phone on a counter, before opening the door to the backyard and finding the heartbreaking scene.
"I can't even look outside that backyard to see that tree," Bell said through tears.
Adding to the tragedy, she and three others attempted to call 911 for around 20 minutes, but they could not reach the number due to a statewide outage.
Bell is telling her story so that families with LGBTQ children can avoid a similar fate. "Talk to your kids and get them the help they need," she said.
The Bell family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Demarius's funeral. "Demarius struggled with opening up with his sexual preference that caused him to distance himself from his friends and family," Edith Bell wrote on the fundraising page. "Tuesday January 8th Demarius let the discomfort of the world's judgment cause him to end his pain by ending his life. I come to you all hurting and in disbelief asking for your help."
Additionally, Demarious's cousin Harry Bell has launched Color a Positive Thought, a coloring-book series to help marginalized youth learn how to deal with obstacles and trauma.
"Hopefully this page and the incident of my cousin will bring more light to the situation and more sensitivity to a child, who is facing similar issues," Harry Bell told WTIC.