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Local mom, family looking ahead after child's suicide

By JOE CENTERS • Jul 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM

WILLARD — Anna Hershiser isn’t looking for answers. She’s just looking ahead.

“I don’t need any (answers),” Hershiser said. “After the investigation I know what has happened. From his friends at school I heard what he went through daily. I can’t change what happened or bring him back, so we are just trying to do things in a positive way.”

Hershiser’s son, Caleb, committed suicide April 2. His friends and family had a float “Caleb’s Cause” in Saturday’s Willard Festival in the Park parade.

Saturday would have been Caleb’s 15th birthday.

“It’s a rough day,” she said. “Very hard day. Every day is different. Some days are better then others but it is still very fresh and very, very difficult.”

Prosecutors determined that nobody will be charged in connection with the death of the Willard Middle School student.

The 14-year-old boy died shortly after being taken to Mercy Health-Willard Hospital. The Willard Police Department launched an investigation that lasted two months.

Police had received a tip that bullying might have played a role in the youth’s death. An investigation report released recently by the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office indicates there was “nothing found during the investigation that would indicate the cause of Caleb’s death was related to any sort of criminal act or provocation such as bullying that would have contributed to Caleb’s death.”

The report, which states no charges will be filed, covers an investigation that includes summaries of interviews with Hershiser’s parents, friends, other Willard students, current and former teachers, administrators and local residents who knew the boy.

Family, friends and even people Anna Hershiser didn’t even know were at Saturday’s parade is support of Caleb’s Cause.

“I can’t even put it into words how grateful for I am for the support,” she said. “Everybody has stepped up and has supported us so much with our organizaton that is very, very new, obviously. They have taken the reins and ran with them. ... Beyond my wildest dreams.”

Supporting Caleb’s Cause Saturday were the Warriors for the Children out of Cleveland and Bullfrogs against Bullying out of Toledo. “They’ve opened my eyes to a lot of things as well I didn’t realize before this. ... They are helping me get on me feet with my organization.”

What next?

“My goal is to try to reach as many children and families as possible to prevent this from happening again,” Hershiser said. “It is senseless and heart-wrenching. We need to find the signs. Be aware of the signs of our children if they don’t open up to us. Let every child know they are loved and cared for tremendously. Harming themselves is not the way to go.” 

Hershiser said she is planning an event in October, anti-bullying month, and she wants to do something annually around Caleb’s birthday.

“I need to get a story out there to help get the word out there,” she said. 

“If we can save one child and one family from going through this pain then I can accept it. Nothing would be worth it. I can never let those words come out of my mouth. But I would be able to rest easier knowing he didn’t go in vain but he helped prevent another child from doing this. Make them think twice, I guess, about harming themselves.”

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