This 6-year old’s death may have been a suicide.
Kendrea Johnson, age 6, was found with a jump rope around her neck and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. It’s reported that young Kendrea Johnson and her younger brother were taken away from their mother and placed in foster care in December 2013 or January 2014. Records indicate she began acting out, and her mental health became a concern. The Star Tribune reports that Kendra “..told her court-appointed child advocate that she wanted to be back with her family.” A young child being taken away from her family and forced to live with strangers can be a traumatic experience. While many of us are aware that children can suffer from mental illness, how many of us think about the mental health of our young children?
There are reports that two notes were found near her. One note read: “I’m sorry.” A second note read: “I’m sad for what I do.” Is it possible Kendrea felt it was her fault that she and her brother were taken from her mother? As I read this story, Maya Angelou came to mind. As a child Maya was mute for many years, only speaking if her brother Bailey could get her to do so. Young Maya believed that because she told on the man that had sexually abused her, and he was later killed, she was responsible for his death. Many people believe that children are too young to be affected by what is going on around them, however, childhood trauma is a real thing.
A great source for more information on child trauma is www.nctns.org. According to their website, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. Some events listed that may cause childhood trauma include an accident, violence in the family, the sudden loss of a loved one, bullying, homelessness, and serious illness. The time it takes to recover from childhood trauma will vary for every child, but recognizing the behavioral changes in children is the first step.
An autopsy has been ordered, and authorities believe if it was not suicide , Kendrea’s death was a tragic accident. The child’s family doesn’t believe she committed suicide.