Family: Teasing pushed 10-year-old to suicide

November 16, 2011 (RIDGE FARM, Ill.)

It happened in the downstate town of Ridge Farm, about 45 miles southeast of Champaign.

By all accounts, Ashlynn Conner was a kind and compassionate fifth grader.

"She was just a great kid, just a happy-go-lucky, always smiling, always wanting to help somebody -- that was Ashlynn," said Deama Hassanzadeh, Ashlynn's great aunt.

But her family says Ashlynn became the target for bullies at her school and in her neighborhood.

"Ashlynn's ugly! Look, Ashlynn's ugly! Ashlynn's fat! They'd call her a slut," said Stacy Conner, Ashlynn's mother.

Last Thursday evening, when Ashlynn came home from school, she asked her mom if she could be home-schooled.

"It was the first time that she had asked me if she could be home-schooled, and I told her No," said Stacy Conner.

The next day, Ashlynn's sister found her inside a bedroom closet, hanging from her scarf.

Since her death, this small community has come together, holding a candlelight vigil and making posters for her funeral.

"She wanted to be a veterinarian, because she loved animals and she didn't want to see any of them sick or hurting," said Lory Hackney, Ashlynn's grandmother.

Now Ashlynn's family can only hope that as a result of this tragedy other children will not be hurting and that bullying will stop.

"If she saves just one child from being bullied, if one bully gets this message, thinks about it and says 'I'm not gonna make another child feel that way,' she did it," said aunt Kim Wright.

The Vermillion County sheriff is investigating Ashlynn's death. They are considering bullying as a motive but don't have the specific evidence to support it.

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