Bullying not mentioned in Gabriel Taye's initial suicide investigation documents

8-year-old hanged himself in January

CINCINNATI -- There's no mention of bullying in the initial investigation documents on 8-year-old Gabriel Taye's suicide.

Cincinnati Police Department released case files in Taye's death investigation Monday morning. Taye hanged himself from his bed using a necktie in late January. Earlier this month, the Hamilton County Coroner said she will further investigate Taye's death after allegations that bullying contributed to his suicide.

The CPD files don't mention bullying -- however, that's consistent with the information Taye's mother, Cordelia Reynolds, shared through an attorney.

The files say Taye was admitted to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Jan. 24, two days before he died. His reason for visit is listed as "fainting, nausea and vomiting."

A video surfaced in May showing an incident in the bathroom at Taye's school, Carson Elementary. The choppy security footage provided by Cincinnati Public Schools shows Taye collapse to the ground after reaching a hand out to another boy. He lies motionless on the floor for several minutes, other students appearing to step over or perhaps kick his body, before adults arrive to check on him.

Taye's legs are visible in the bathroom doorway. Taye remains on the ground as other boys come and go from the bathroom, in some cases stepping over him. At one point, an adult is visible in the hallway, apparently unaware Taye is unconscious just a few feet away.

Eighteen children walked by Taye's motionless body. He remained there for more than four minutes before a 19th child appeared with an adult behind him.

According to Reynolds' attorney Jennifer Branch, that video depicts an attack on Taye: After he extended his hand to the second boy, she said, that boy beat him so severely he lost consciousness.

When Reynolds arrived to pick her son up from school that day, she was told only that he had fainted; if she had known he was beaten, she said, she would have taken him out of school and to the hospital immediately.

Instead, she took him to the hospital later when he began vomiting, Branch said. Reynolds thought her son had the flu.

Cincinnati Public Schools said in a news release that a school nurse told Reynolds to take her son to the hospital; Branch said that wasn't so, and that CPS wanted to place blame on Taye's mother.

"It is unfortunate that CPS chose to blame (Taye's) mother for not taking him to the hospital after he was injured at school. No one from CPS told (Taye's) mother that she needed to take him to the hospital. The nurse’s notes verify this. In fact, if his mother had been told that (Taye) was assaulted and was unconscious for over seven minutes on the bathroom floor, she would have taken him to the hospital and not let him return to Carson. It is helpful that CPS did not deny that Carson officials withheld this vital information from (Taye's) mother."

Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ronan disputed Reynolds' claim that her son was bullied and/or beaten.

“That is a falsehood," she said. "When you look at the video, we see no link between bullying and the suicide. If you look at the video — and we have frame by frame — it appears the young man fainted."

The force of renewed public attention to Taye's death led Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco to call for a new investigation into Taye's death and possible bullying. Taye's initial autopsy has been thrown out; another will be conducted to determine whether he had injuries consistent with physical bullying.

There's no timeline on the new autopsy.

WCPO obtained 115 files from Cincinnati police Monday. However, our editors felt there was no news value in the graphic images, audio or video files, all which reflect previously reported information from police. We felt that showing the photos or publishing the calls would only cause more harm to Taye's family.

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