The Hamilton County coroner has reopened her investigation into the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye to examine security-camera video from Carson Elementary School that police say shows the boy getting bullied two days before he died by suicide.
Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco announced her decision Thursday on a radio program and later told The Enquirer, “We will review all the new info including the video when it’s provided.” She said she doubts that she would change the manner of Gabriel’s death but might add other contributing factors to the case file.
Gabriel died by suicide Jan. 26 at home. Two days before in a Carson Elementary restroom, another student grabbed Gabriel and pulled him to the ground, which apparently knocked Gabriel out. Other students poked and touched Gabriel for as long as nearly five minutes until a school officials appeared to care for the boy, according to a Cincinnati Police Department detective's written account of what he saw on school surveillance video.
Gabriel’s mother said through her lawyer, Jennifer Branch of Cincinnati, that no one at Carson told her about the assault when she collected Gabriel that day. In the evening, his mother took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center because he was vomiting. After a night in the emergency room, the mother brought him home and kept him out of school that day, Jan. 25. The next day, Gabriel went back to school.
Later that night, at home, he hanged himself.
The Cincinnati homicide detective looked at the video nearly a week after Gabriel’s death and wrote a Feb. 3 report recounting the assault. Cincinnati Public Schools initially refused to release the video but on Thursday agreed to make it public after the video is edited to blur the identities of the children. Cincinnati Police spokesman Lt. Steve Saunders declined further comment on the police investigation now that Sammarco has reopened her case.
Sammarco’s office performed an autopsy on Gabriel Jan. 27, determined the manner of death to be suicide. One line on the report asks for “other significant conditions contributing to death.” The current report has that line blank. New information from a reopened coroner’s investigation could go into that section.