Police say Tyerell Przybycien, 18, helped a 16-year-old friend get a rope to use to hang herself, then filmed the death on her phone, Salt Lake City-area news outlets report.
Przybycien is now charged with first-degree murder and desecration of a human body in the death of Jchandra Brown. According to a report by TV station KSL and the Deseret News, police say he texted another friend after the death: “I helped her do it.”
The Spanish Fork girl was found dead May 6.
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The charges come amid a national conversation on teen suicide driven most recently by a controversial Netflix show. Last October, a Boise teen also shared his story of nearly jumping from a Downtown parking garage.
Anyone having suicidal thoughts or who may need resources for help is encouraged to call or text the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-4357. Other advice and help is online at idahosuicideprevention.org.
According to Brown’s obituary in the Times-News, the girl was born in Twin Falls, spending most of her life in the area before moving to Spanish Fork in September 2016.
“She was known for her vibrant blue hair that matched her vivacious and quirky personality,” the obituary stated. “Our Jelly was one of a kind, she was always the life of the party with a beaming smile on her face.”
Brown and Przybycien were both students at Spanish Fork High School, though the Deseret News/KSL report notes Przybycien had not attended classes since March.
Przybycien was arrested after authorities said a receipt near where Brown was found showed the recent purchase of rope and other items. The name on the receipt was Przybycien’s. A handwritten suicide note referred to a video on the girl’s phone to “answer questions about what happened,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
That video, allegedly recorded by Przybycien, chronicles Brown’s death over 10 to 11 minutes, reports KSL/Deseret News, citing court documents. Przybycien is reportedly seen checking the girl’s pulse and talking to her every once in a while to see if she is dead.
Detectives also cited texts Przybycien reportedly sent before the suicide.
In an April 19 string of messages, he allegedly asked a friend what to do if someone you know wants to commit suicide. “Talk them out of ut,” [sic] the person replied. Przybycien replied that he wanted to “help kill them,” saying it would “be awesome” and “Its going down,” according to the various news reports.
A fundraiser has been started for Brown’s family. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fund had raised more than $1,400.
The epidemic of suicide in Idaho is an ongoing issue. In 2014, Idaho had the ninth-highest suicide rate — 46 percent higher than the national average, according to Suicide Prevention Hotline statistics. In 2015, roughly one Idahoan killed himself or herself every day.
Between 2011 and 2015, 102 people in Idaho ages 18 and younger died by suicide. Twenty-four of them were age 14 and younger.
Teen suicide was brought to the forefront this year by the popular but heavily criticized Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.” Based off a 2007 book, the show follows 13 recordings left by a teenage girl who dies by suicide detailing the reasons — and people — causing her to take her life.
The show’s finale graphically shows her suicide. Critics said it glamorizes the act for teen viewers.
Its popularity has prompted school districts across the nation, including in the Treasure Valley, to send guidance home for parents about the show and how to approach the topic if their child watches it.
“Prepare yourself for an open and honest conversation, and be ready to hear whatever your child shares with you,” Shannon Decker, executive director of the Speedy Foundation, told the Statesman earlier this spring.