3 Teen Suicides Rock Area High Schools

Douglas County Says No Connection Between Deaths

Authorities are investigating three suicides in the past 24 hours in Douglas County that have left many asking if the deaths were connected.

Law enforcement investigators with Parker police, Castle Rock police and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department will compare notes on the deaths.

So far authorities said they are not related.

"It is something they'll look into but, right now, they have not indicated any connection," said Deputy Cocha Heyden, spokeswoman for the Douglas County sheriff's department.

From early Sunday night to late Monday evening, three teenagers -- two boys and one girl -- ranging in age from 14 to 17 years old committed suicide.

They attended Chaparral, Castle View and Lutheran high schools.

"When something like this happens, it's just really difficult," said Whei Wong, spokeswoman for Douglas County Schools.

Crisis counselors were on campus at Chaparral and Castle View high schools Tuesday.

But with 54,000 students district-wide, Douglas County did not notify parents of the incidents.

"It's very clear, in national research, that publicity and making, doing wide notifications about this kind of thing is not recommended. Suicide can have a contagion effect," Wong said.

Last school year, DougCo schools had no student suicides and only one two years ago.

At least one parent said he heard the news from his daughter but wanted to learn about it from the district.

"The police have a tough job in conducting an investigation, getting ahead of the curve. But, to me, nothing outweighs the parent's right to know. And if something further was to happen, because they didn't know, I think that's pretty serious," said Tim Rohac.

He said he would hug his child and let her know that while things may appear difficult now, they will improve.

A spokesman with the Colorado Department of Public Health said there were 93 suicides statewide in 2007 between the ages of 10-24, making suicide the number 2 cause of death for that young group.

For ages 10 to 18, there were 34 suicides in Colorado in 2007, said the spokesman.

That would mean Douglas County's recent incidents represent nearly 10 percent of the statewide total for that year, but happened in a much more compacted time frame.

Several suicide prevention group spokespeople tell 7News the topic still has a stigma attached to it, causing some to fear talking about it or seeking help.

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