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01-05-07, 08:06 PM #1
Texas Child Hangs Self After Seeing Saddam Video
Boy Hung Self From Bunk Bed
POSTED: 8:16 am CST January 5, 2007
WEBSTER, Texas -- Police and family members said a 10-year-old boy who died by hanging himself from a bunk bed was apparently mimicking the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Sergio Pelico was found dead Sunday in his apartment bedroom, said Webster police Lt. Tom Claunch. Pelico's mother told police he had previously watched a Spanish television station's news report on Saddam's death.
"It appears to be accidental," Claunch said. "Our gut reaction is that he was experimenting."
An autopsy of the fifth-grader's body was pending.
Julio Gustavo, Sergio's uncle, said the boy was a happy and curious child.
He said Sergio had watched TV news with another uncle on Saturday and asked the uncle about Saddam's death.
"His uncle told him it was because Saddam was real bad," Gustavo said. "He (Sergio) said, 'OK.' And that was it."
Sergio's mother, Sara Pelico DeLeon, was at work Sunday while Sergio and other children were under the care of an uncle, Gustavo said. One of the children found Sergio's body in his bedroom.
Police said the boy had tied a slipknot around his neck while on a bunk bed. Police investigators learned that Sergio had been upset about not getting a Christmas gift from his father, but they don't believe the boy intentionally killed himself.
Clinical psychologist Edward Bischof, of California, said children Sergio's age mimic risky behaviors they see on TV -- such as wrestling or extreme sports -- without realizing the dangers. He said TV appeared to be the stimulant in Sergio's case.
"I would think maybe this kid is trying something that he thinks fun to act out without having the emotional and psychological maturity to think the thing through before he acts on it," Bischof said.
"I don't think he thought it was real," Gustavo said of Saddam's hanging. "They showed them putting the noose around his neck and everything. Why show that on TV?"
Sergio's father urged other parents to warn their children not to do what they see on TV. The parents said they believe the media outlets that chose to repeatedly air the video of Saddam's execution were irresponsible.
Family members held a memorial for the boy Wednesday in the apartment complex activity center.
The family is trying to put together enough money to send Sergio's body to Guatemala for burial.
A fund has been set up at Bank of America. Donations can made at any branch in the name of Sergio Pelico.
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01-06-07, 02:00 AM #2"If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
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01-06-07, 02:32 AM #3
Such a shame. Kids shouldn't be viewing things like that though in my opinion, it's a lot for a 10 year old to handle. He may have turned on the tv and watched it himself though, who knows. My thoughts and with the family...Calm Like A Bomb...
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
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