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Eight-year-old Dies in ‘Accidental Suicide’

April 22, 1985

AURORA, Colo. (AP) _ An 8-year-old boy who was told he would be punished for misbehaving in school died in what authorities called an ″accidental suicide.″

Charlie Burdick, the son of William and Jody Burdick, was found hanging from a rope in his garage Friday and died early Saturday after being hospitalized, authorities said.

″He was upset. He was mad at me,″ said his mother. ″But I know he didn’t mean it to end this way. He didn’t know what he was doing.″

Police called it an ″accidental suicide.″

Mrs. Burdick, 38, had gone to Paris Elementary School on Friday afternoon for a conference with her son’s teacher. The teacher said Charlie had ruined school supplies belonging to other students and asked Mrs. Burdick to talk to Charlie, the mother said.

″He was a little mischievous sometimes,″ Mrs. Burdick said. ″You know how boys are. He’d fool around in school instead of doing his work.

″I told him I was withholding his allowance to make him pay for the replacement of the things he’d ruined. I knew he was mad at me. It wasn’t anything unusual though. You know, just the way kids get mad at their parents...,″ she said.

After their talk, Mrs. Burdick said she worked on dinner and didn’t think much about Charlie’s problems until she realized he’d disappeared.

About 20 minutes later, his father found Charlie in the garage.

A neighbor who works as a teacher’s aide in Charlie’s third-grade class described Charlie as a ″happy little guy″ and said neighborhood children were hit hard by the death.

″Billy (Charlie’s 11-year-old brother) was outside ... and all the kids ran out there to him,″ said Cathy Hackett, 30. ″It was so sad. They were huggning him and saying, ‘We’re sorry, Billy, we’re sorry.’

″They all prayed for Charlie and his family in Sunday school today. It’s been real tough on these little guys,″ she said.