Family of 13-Year-Old Allegedly Bullied into Suicide: 'We Don’t Want Other Families to Go Through This'
"Right now the family is grieving the loss of their only son, a beautiful, kind, compassionate young man," a family member tells PEOPLE
Daniel Fitzpatrick would have turned 14 in less than two weeks.
Instead of celebrating his upcoming birthday, his parents greeted a steady stream of mourners who filed into a Staten Island, New York, funeral home Monday to pay their respects to the 13-year-old who took his own life after allegedly being bullied relentlessly at school.
With tears in her eyes, Annette Mahoney-Cross, Daniel’s mother’s cousin, spoke about the unimaginable pain his family is now facing.
“Right now the family is grieving the loss of their only son, a beautiful, kind, compassionate young man,” she says. “We need to grieve. We don’t want any other families to have to go through this.”
Daniel’s parents, Daniel and Maureen Fitzpatrick, and his three older sisters, are grateful for the outpouring of support from family, friends and strangers alike in the aftermath of Daniel’s untimely death, she says.
“I know that Maureen and Daniel and their girls are appreciative of all the support,” says Mahoney-Cross.
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In a heartbreaking suicide note Daniel left on Thursday, before his sister found him hanging by a belt in the attic of the family’s Staten Island home, he talked about how he felt his old friends at school no longer talked to him and disliked him.
In his family, Daniel was deeply cherished. Mahoney-Cross’ says her young daughter, Anya, “has just been in love with Danny. Every time we come to Staten Island it’s always, ‘My Danny, my Danny. Are we going to see my Danny? Is my Danny going to play with me?’
“We just saw him three weeks ago at a graduation party. Danny had a special bond with children.”
Mahoney-Cross had no comment on how Daniel, who would have been a freshman at Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School in the fall, was treated at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The school has not returned PEOPLE’s calls for comment.
Daniel’s family is holding four viewings at the Harmon Funeral Home in Staten Island on Monday and Tuesday, an employee at the funeral home told PEOPLE.
The funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Sacred Heart R.C. Church in Staten Island. It will be open to the public.
In Daniel’s suicide note chronicling the alleged abuse he endured from fellow classmates, he wrote, “I gave up. The teachers either they didn’t do ANYTHING!”
Daniel’s father posted a video to his Facebook page on Saturday to thank people for their support. In the video, he condemns both the boys who allegedly “tormented” his son and the Catholic school that allegedly told the younger Daniel, “You’ll be fine … These things will pass” when the teen said he went to school officials for help.
“Thank you to all the people out there for your support and condolences, your thoughts and your shares,” the elder Daniel says in the Facebook video. “My son’s story is now out there for the world to see and for the world to know the pain that he went through. I miss my son very much.”