After A 12-Year-Old Tragically Took His Own Life, His Parents Found A Note That Left Them Broken

A home should be a place where everyone, especially a child, feels safe and comfortable. But for 12-year-old Andrew Leach, his home was the place where he took his own life. His shocked family discovered the body in their garage.

The heart-rending scene was compounded by a note that explained Leach’s motive, according to his distraught parents. The reason for the middle-schooler’s suicide left them even more devastated – they didn’t realize just what their son had been going through.

In the wake of her son’s death, Leach’s mom, Cheryl Hudson, shared some of her best memories of him on Facebook. According to her, the 12-year-old “was so sweet, sarcastic [and] hilarious.” She also wrote about his love of catering, even if he hadn’t always been the most successful of chefs.

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“I came home from work one day – this happened several times – and sitting on my nightstand would be something he made,” the bereft mother recalled in a post. “Once, it was sliced potatoes that were dang near raw.”

Yet this was a reflection of Leach’s loving, compassionate nature, she wrote. “He always thought about things he could do for me, help me with, he loved doing special things for me,” the distressed mom wrote.

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She said her son had loved playing the saxophone, too, and she shared a video of him playing the George Michael song “Careless Whisper.” He had learned the tune on his own “just by watching YouTube,” Hudson wrote. And she also noted that musicality had flourished ahead of a big change in his life.

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Matt Leach, Andy’s father, told TV news channel WREG in March 2018, “He was struggling a lot internally with sexual orientation.” The 12-year-old had believed he might be bisexual and shared this with his classmates. He had even written that he was bisexual in the biographical section of his Facebook page.

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It was this revelation about his sexuality, Leach’s parents believe, that made him the target for bullies at Southaven Middle School, Mississippi. “I think that really amped up the bullying,” Matt related to WREG. His mother added, “There was a group of kids that would go around calling him fat, ugly and worthless.”

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Upon hearing about these struggles, Hudson had talked to school staff about Leach’s situation and how the situation could be rectified. “I didn’t know how to handle it,” she said. She added that Andrew’s dad had also consulted with a teacher about the bullying.

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Notwithstanding their awareness of these incidents, Leach’s parents weren’t fully cognizant of the extent of their son’s secret suffering. “I guess I was just oblivious to it,” Andrew’s mother told WREG. “He just always seemed happy.”

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Leach’s family wouldn’t understand the true depth of his inner turmoil until March 6, 2018 – the day that Andrew took his own life at their Mississippi home. The 12-year-old left a note that detailed the reason for his decision to end it all.

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In the missive, Leach detailed just how much he had been bullied, according to his father. “Kids were telling him, ‘We’re gonna put hands on you. You’re not going to make it out of this bathroom.’ Things of that nature,” Matt told WREG.

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The note gave a reason for Leach’s suicide, but offered little solace to the broken-hearted family he left behind. “I, as a mother, am absolutely crushed,” Hudson wrote in a Facebook post. “I say I’ve cried all I can cry, but then moments later, I break down again.”

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Hudson also used Facebook to display photos of her son’s funeral, including an image of Leach’s body in an open casket. The act transformed an incredibly personal moment into a cautionary online tale about the dangers of bullying – and Andrew’s parents wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Speaking to WREG, Leach’s dad advised other families, “If you think there’s any chance of your child suffering from depression, their grades are drastically changing, their eating habits or sleeping habits changed, then get in their business. Talk to them.”

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Another important point Leach’s parents brought to light was the fact that their son probably wasn’t aware of all of the help available to him in his time of need. He could have called the national suicide hotline, for example, had he known it existed.

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Image: Tech. Sgt. Micky M. Bazaldua via Osan Air Base

Leach’s parents also investigated his school’s anti-bullying policy. It transpired that the district, DeSoto County Schools, had a zero-tolerance for bullying – but Andrew’s mom and dad were unsure to what extent this was being applied.

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Officials from DeSoto County Schools responded to Leach’s death in prompt fashion. “All claims are investigated thoroughly, and school counselors are trained to help students and intervene when they are aware of a situation,” they told WREG. “Our hearts go out to this young student’s friends and family.”

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Most importantly, Leach’s grieving family hoped that bullies from their son’s school had learned a lesson. Andrew’s dad Matt told the New York Post newspaper in March 2018, “I want them to know what they’ve done and how it affects other people.”

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Leach’s mom took this one step further with an original hashtag, #AndysVoice, which she hoped to use to combat bullying. Along with the hashtag, Hudson wrote in a Facebook post, “Don’t let my son’s death be in vain. Let’s change things for the future.”

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