Parents Of Suicide
Writings Library


Glenda Rhodes
February 17, 2000

My name is Glenda and my nineteen year old son shot himself in the head on April 4, 1998. He was declared dead on the next day. Kevin had stolen a car the year before to go visit his uncle and was on probation. He had to pay a fine and also had to do community service. He had gotten a good job doing survey work on a new bridge that was being built and had his fines nearly paid off. Numerous times he went to the police department to do something for community service and they would tell him there was nothing for him to do. The police department followed him every time he came to town; they threatened him with going back to jail. This is a small town police force manned by men who could not make it anywhere else and enjoy the power play over people, especially youth.

The last day of Kevin's life he again went to the police department and was told there was nothing to do. He got in his dad's bronco, went home and got the gun out of the cabinet and returned to the police department. He sped up by the police station and sped out of town. The police followed him and he crashed into a tree. He was thrown out of the vehicle and was non-responsive. He was intubated and taken to the hospital, which called life flight to bring him to Tulsa.

On the flight to Tulsa the nurse called back and told them that he had been shot in the head. There was no mention of a gun at any time after the accident. The bronco had been towed off and the police went to the salvage yard and broke in and lo and behold, found the gun lying in the front seat. The guy who towed the bronco said there was no gun when he got in the bronco and readied it for towing.

I was in Oklahoma City at the zoo with my granddaughter and had just started home when I got the call from my daughter Angela. I thought she was going to tell me I was keeping her daughter out too late, instead she told me that Kevin was in the hospital critical after a car accident. It was not till I arrived that I was told he had a gunshot to the head. Kevin never regained consciousness. He died, I am sure, at that instant the bullet hit his head. We donated his organs because he had always told the girls he wanted to be a donor if he died. I kissed him good-bye and that was it. I do not know what happened that day-I will always have a suspicion since the stories do not jibe.

The rumor in town is that the police brag about making an example of him so other kids would behave. There was no alcohol or drugs in his system. The only note he left was to tell everyone he loved them. He had told his dad he would never go back to jail and I guess his dad never thought about suicide-I didn't and probably would not have even if I had been told what he had said. We just got the items that belonged to Kevin about a month ago from the police. Kevin's dad has been barred from the police station because he kept going up there to ask what had happened. He just wanted a straight answer because there are so many conflicting stories. At best the police department stole from a dying kid, at worst they are the ones that shot him and are now covering it up.

Kevin was not a perfect kid but he was my son, he had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone. He never had much because he gave it all away. He was a sweet kid, never any violence toward anyone, kind and gentle, beautiful face, and a smile that would light up a room. He was my baby, and even in school he would not hurt other kids but would be picked on and his sisters would be the ones to make the other kids pay for hurting Kevin. They protected him with the ferocity of a mama bear. Never asked for much of anything, just the bail money to get him out of jail, and sometimes I regret that because maybe he would have been safer in there. I will never know. I just know the lives of his father and I, his sisters and his half-brother, and his niece were changed for the worse the day he died.