Parents, please talk to your children…

There is probably no greater pain than that experienced by a parent who loses a child. Mrs. Michel Townsend of Vicksburg faced just such a loss last year when her 14-year-old son, Tyler, died, apparently a victim of “huffing.” Mrs. Townsend posted a memorial to Tyler on the website “” wherein she described her devastating ordeal. It may be accessed at

Mrs. Townsend’s grief was worsened when she read the Vicksburg Post’s report on the tragedy. She forwarded us the following email, which she has given permission for us to share with you:

The Vicksburg Post only prints what they want or whatever it takes to make the story interesting and eye-catching. I lost my youngest son last year and they printed a story telling what they “thought” had happened. They suggested and printed that my son was home alone and was found in my yard by someone passing by.  The truth was that I was home with my child and he went out to take our 2 dogs to their pen .  My brother in law called to speak to him and I went outside to take him the phone – he had only been outside for maybe 8 minutes – I found him lying face down and began doing CPR or what I knew about CPR on him while also dialing 911. My brother in law was there at the scene within 5 minutes or less because he was near our house when he called. He took over CPR and it took over 45 minutes to an hour for the rescue/ ambulance to arrive.  We lived about 10 minutes from the airport – why did it take them so long????? That’s another issue !!  They also refused to give me a copy of the 911 recording.
  Anyway , if you want to know the full story you can go to my sons memorial site –
The post printed another story about his death and I also called them and gave them some of the facts – of course they still printed pretty much what they wanted to. I was and still am devastated over his death , but the paper had no sympathy and  we all know they are in business to sell papers . They  picked and choose “parts” of the story I told them .

It is very unfortunate that the Post’s reports intensified the grief of Mrs. Townsend and her family. Common sense and respect for the family’s feelings should have dictated the utmost diligence by the newspaper.

One has only to read Mrs. Townsend’s description of Tyler’s death and its aftermath to appreciate its terrible consequences. In her words, “A parent should never outlive their child.” She shares a message for teens who are considering huffing: “Think about your family and friends – it would hurt them so bad to lose you.” And another for the parents: “Parents, please talk to your children. I am one of those parents who thought this could never happen to my child. There can’t be any greater pain than losing a child.”

Our condolences go out to Mrs. Townsend and her family.

Published in: on July 7, 2008 at 11:40 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mrs. Townsend, thank you for sharing your story. It is tragic what happened to your son, what it has caused your family, and how the situation has played out. Please continue to share Tyler’s story and how he died to other teens in hopes of saving lives. His story is worth more than inaccuracies in a local paper.

  2. Be proud of your son no matter how his life ended. God has a reason for all. Find the reason, move on, and honor his memory.


  3. Mrs. Townsend; I shared Tyler’s story with the teen boys we are employing this summer. Some of them said they were close friends of Tyler. Some said they knew of huffing. Others said they did not. It was a good opportunity for the adults (older & younger) to discuss with the teens the negative side of drugs and abuse and how distructive it can be on the body, soul, family, etc… Thank you for sharing your story and may Tyler’s legacy live on in educating others. You have a special angel in heaven.

  4. Michel, keep telling your story!! Make people listen!

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