Salvador Rios dies as the result of cyberbullying, family claims, as bullies targeted him for being gay
- Salvador Rios, 14, took his own life on August 15 after being cyberbullied
- Family members say on the day he died, a post was shared targeting the boy with a homophobic attack and sharing personal details about his life
- The San Diego Police Department has launched an investigation
- If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call 988
The family of a gay San Diego teenager who committed suicide in mid-August say that cyberbullying led to the boy’s death days before the school year started.
Salvador Rios, 14, took his own life on August 15 after a social media post allegedly launched a homophobic attack and shared private information about him.
‘One post not only destroyed my brother’s life, but my life, my family’s life,’ said Salvador’s sister, Aleah Rios, choking back tears as she talked with local media.
‘I feel like a part of my heart is missing,’ she said.
The San Diego Police Department has since launched an investigation into the bullying and the boy’s death.
Salvador Rios, 14, took his own life on August 15 after a post circulated on social media allegedly used homophobic language and shared personal and private details about him
‘One post not only destroyed my brother’s life, but my life, my family’s life,’ said Salvador’s sister, Aleah Rios, choking back tears as she talked with local media
According to Salvador’s devastated sister who spoke with ABC 10, an anonymous post was shared on social media on August 15.
The post came just days before the teenager was slated to start eighth grade at Standley Middle School in San Diego.
‘Every day, telling his friends, “How are you not excited? I’m so excited for school to start,”‘ said Rios of her brother’s readiness to go back into the classroom.
That all changed after the life-changing Instagram post was shared by someone who has yet to be identified.
‘Someone posted a picture of him, making very homophobic remarks about him, disclosing personal information that he had disclosed only to a few individuals,’ said Rios, explaining the contents of the now-deleted post.
The person who shared the picture and made the homophobic remarks also allegedly tagged Salvador’s friends and family so they would see it.
Within hours, the teen boy’s body was discovered at a family member’s home.
Rios says it wasn’t the first time Salvador experienced a homophonic attack.
‘I would like to see accountability, because my brother deserves justice,’ Rios told ABC 10
‘Please consider what you’re posting. You don’t know the impact it could have,’ Rios said
While in the sixth grade – just after he had come out – Salvador was jumped by several students while heading home from Marston Middle School.
Just 12 years old at the time, Salvador was held down and punched by older students who yelled homophobic remarks at him.
His family later found out that he had been experiencing bullying since the beginning of the school year. His family then moved him out of Marston and over to Standley.
According to Rios, Salvador was thriving after the move. He joined the debate team and focused his sights on Harvard Law School.
‘He lived every day to the fullest. He was supported by his group of friends and family,’ said Rios.
‘The world has lost such a strong, confident, loving boy who could have done amazing things and changed many things,’ she said.
Salvador transferred to Standley Middle School in 2021 after he was attacked by older students at a previous school for being gay
A GoFundMe for the teen’s funeral has raised just over $7,300
Rios, Salvador’s family members and his friends are now fighting for change and looking to show the devastating consequences of their actions.
‘Please consider what you’re posting. You don’t know the impact it could have,’ Rios said.
They are also looking to bring the person or group responsible to justice.
‘I would like to see accountability, because my brother deserves justice,’ said Rios.
It’s unclear at this time if any individuals have been identified or punished in the matter.
A GoFundMe has since been launched to help Salvador’s family cover the cost of a funeral and a memorial for him.
The fundraiser has raised just over $7,300 of its $10,000 goal.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call 988 to reach the 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline.
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