|Jeffrey Fehr, 18|
From the story:
In the early hours of New Year's Day, Jeffrey hanged himself in the front entrance to his family's home in a tony Granite Bay neighborhood. He was 18 years old.
Since that day, his parents have searched their hearts and minds for answers. Though Jeffrey, who was gay, had recently ended a relationship and had been treated for depression, they believe something more insidious put him on the path toward suicide. They are convinced that a lifetime of taunts and bullying contributed to his decision to take his own life.
"We will second-guess ourselves forever," his father said. "But we do know that for years and years, people knocked him down for being different. It damaged him. It wore on him. He could never fully believe how wonderful he was, and how many people loved him."
As early as the third grade, Jeffrey was the target of taunts, family members said. He had few friends and felt comfortable only when he was at home or on vacation with people he trusted.
"He would come home from school and cry," said Tyler, 21. "He would say he felt alone, that he wasn't accepted for the things he liked."
It was in the sixth grade that people first started calling him "fag," the Fehrs said.
"It broke my heart that he was abused that way," his mother said. They talked about how they could fix things.
Jeffrey's parents sent him to counseling, tried to build his confidence and encouraged him to pursue his interests, including art, theater and dance. Later, they got him treatment for depression.
His parents hoped high school would be a more welcoming place for Jeffrey. But his first two years were "pure hell," they said.
"He would literally hang his head when I dropped him off," his father recalled. "It was just awful for him."