Prince William County Police determined the deaths of three Virginia teenagers this weekend were committed by suicide.
Department spokesman Nathan Probus said the ruling Wednesday into the death of Christopher Owens, 15, was by a gunshot wound. Police found Owens on Monday after his family from Bristow reported him missing Saturday.
Also on Saturday, police said 17-year-old David Joseph Cobb committed suicide in his home. On the same day, police found two 17-year-old teenagers, Indya Davis and Lyle Ferringer, dead inside a van at a park in Dale City.
Probus said the county’s Medical Examiner’s Office continues to investigate the death of Ferringer.
The county school system’s website – www.pwcs.org – has a link “What Every Parent Should Know about Preventing Youth Suicide” explaining what to do when a crisis occurs.
Some of the suggestions that come from the Virginia Department of Health include:
• Be honest with your children about what has occurred and provide facts about what has happened. Use age-appropriate terms for better understanding;
• Encourage your child to talk to you about his or her feelings and concerns. Share your feelings with your child; and
• Spend extra time with your child.
Prince William County Schools Superintendent Steve Walts sent a recorded message Monday to all middle and high school parents.
“I am calling to ask for your help, as we cope with the tragic and unexpected deaths of four Prince William County High school students, at three schools, over the past few days,” he said. “Please talk to your children about what has happened. Share your love and support and a big hug as well.”
Meanwhile, the school system’s Critical Incident Team visited three of the schools the students attended this week. Those individuals included nurses, psychologists, school counselors and social workers.
Indya, a senior, and David, a junior, both attended Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, according to a letter posted on the school’s website by Principal Neil A. Beech. Lyle, a senior, attended Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge, according to a letter from its principal, Cherif Sadki.
The letters dated Monday from both principals offered recommendations to help students deal with their grief. No funeral arrangements have been announced but will be posted on the school’s websites when they become available, according to the letters.
Philip Kavits, a spokesman for the school system, said Christopher was a Freshman at Brenstville District High School in Nokesville.
“This was an effort to reach our through our school community to help them with the immediate situation to help them get into the routine of teaching and learning,” he said. “The safety and our well-being of our students and teachers are the highest priority for us.”