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Eighth-Grade Sweethearts Commit Suicide, Leave Notes

November 8, 1995

MIAMI (AP) _ Two eighth-grade sweethearts, forbidden by the girl’s mother to see each other, apparently drowned themselves in a canal, leaving suicide notes that told of their undying love, their desperation and their hope of being together in another world.

The bodies of Maryling Flores, 13, and Christian Davila, 14, were found Tuesday in the murky, weed-choked waterway just a few blocks from the school they attended. Neither could swim.

``I can’t go on living. I’ve lost Maryling,″ Christian said in a note his parents found Sunday. ``I’m escaping from the realm of reality into the darkness of the unknown. Because reality is, I can’t be with Maryling.″

Maryling left more than six suicide notes, police said.

``You’ll never be able to understand the love between me and Christian,″ she said in one addressed to ``Mom and Dad.″ ``You don’t let me see him in this world, so we’re going to another place. Please don’t cry for me, this is what I want. I want to feel happy, because I’m going to a place where I can be with Christian.″

Maryling’s mother had forbidden her to see Christian anymore, police said. They wouldn’t say why. Maryling had told friends she might be pregnant, and her mother feared the same thing, police said. But an autopsy showed she wasn’t pregnant.

``It’s a Romeo and Juliet story,″ said Officer Ramon Quintero, who knows both families.

Police listed the drownings as a homicide-suicide, which is routine when investigators don’t know exactly what happened. It’s ``a fair assumption″ the two jumped 15 feet into the Tamiami Canal together, Quintero said.

Their bodies were found a few hundred yards apart, but the canal has a swift current when the flood-control gates are open.

Police wouldn’t identify the parents, and the principal at the young lovers’ school wouldn’t talk to reporters.

In his note, Christian quoted from an 1892 Italian opera, ``The Players,″ by Ruggiero Leoncavallo. It’s the story of a man who kills his wife and her lover. Christian wrote: ``Applaud, friends, the comedy is over.′ I love you all.″

Christian mistakenly attributed the quotation to Beethoven.

School authorities sent crisis-intervention counselors to Ruben Dario Middle School to help students. A psychiatrist warned parents about the possibility of copycat suicides.

``Children see the outpouring of grief and love for someone who has taken their own life,″ explained Dr. Michael Herkov, a psychiatrist at the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

He said the number of teen suicides in the United States has jumped about 400 percent between 1915 and 1980.

There were 2,151 suicides by youths ages 10 to 19 in 1992, the last year for which statistics are available, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 304 of those were younger than 15.

On Nov. 1, a 21-year-old woman and her 17-year-old boyfriend clasped hands and stepped off a ledge of a seven-story parking garage in Oklahoma City. There were no suicide notes or any other indication of why Nikki Bly and Eric Stoneburner took their own lives.

Outside the Ruben Dario Middle School, some students cried before classes started Wednesday.

``They were always happy,″ said one pupil, Heidy Barrios. ``They were always hugging.″

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