'Everyone is looking for answers'

Zoe Greszler • Updated Apr 10, 2017 at 5:36 PM

WILLARD — This community is mourning the loss of one of its young, happy residents.

Caleb William Hershiser, 14, died Sunday evening.

Questions surround the death of this eighth grader, who was the son of Robert W. and Anna M. (Cummings) Hershiser of Willard.

At 9:06 p.m. Sunday, Caleb might have taken actions that led to his death, police said. He passed away shortly after being taken to Willard Mercy Hospital.

Police launched an investigation after receiving a tip that bullying might have been played a role in the teen’s death.

“It’s under investigation,” Willard Police Chief Mark Holden said.

“My officers are still interviewing people,” Holden added. “We’ve conducted extensive interviews with anyone who has had contact with him. There is no indication that bullying was involved. That seems to be the catch phrase being brandied around right now.

“We’ve talked to everyone that’s had contact with him and there was one person in particular mentioned and it doesn’t look like bullying was involved.”

The absence of cruelty doesn’t take away the difficulty of this investigation, the chief said.

“I’ve done a lot of cases in my time here, but honestly, this is probably one of the toughest things I’ve had to deal with,” Holden said. “The family is devastated. His friends are devastated.”

Holden said he could not release any more information on the incident yet, including call sheets from the 9-1-1 call, due to the lack of information and the ongoing investigation.

“We’re still looking for answers, honestly,” Holden said. “Everyone is looking for answers. The investigation is ongoing and we’re still waiting on the medical report.”

Huron County Coroner Jeffery Harwood could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“The school cooperated with police in an investigation,” Superintendent Jeff Ritz said. “We allowed them to talk to the students and staff.” 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Ritz said. “We’re trying to help with anything they need. This is a tragic loss to the community and it will take a long time to recover. Right now, it’s all about thoughts and prayers and all about helping the family as best we can.”

Caleb, who was born July 1, 2002 in Norwalk, enjoyed camping, swimming, fishing and being outside, but most of all enjoyed spending time with his friends and family, including his two brothers, Ryan Hershiser and Dominic Cummings, and a sister, Kendal Hershiser.

Caleb was always smiling, and would do whatever he could to help others, his obituary stated.

Other survivors include grandparents, Bill and Judy Hershiser of Willard, and William and Sally Cummings of Norwalk.

Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Willard Christian Alliance Church, where the funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery in Willard.

A full obituary appears on A-5.

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