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A birthday party in Va. for a teen whose torment has ended

Christian Taylor's friends and family say he was bullied to death, harassed daily until he would rather die than take another day of school. He hanged himself on Memorial Day in his Virginia home. Five months later, friends and family held a birthday party for him. He would have been 17.

Someone wrote on his birthday card: "No more hurt or pain."

For those left behind, a world of could-haves and should-haves.

"That was one of the signs I really missed. He said he didn't want to go to school, and I kept telling him he needed to go to school," said his mother, Lisa Williams, who has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Grafton High School officials. The suit alleges that they failed to protect Christian from his tormentors.

Christian and his siblings started school in Virginia this year, after the Army transferred his father from Killeen, Tex., then deployed him to Korea.

In Texas, he had his crowd - a skateboarding team that loved his half-pipe vertical tricks and his black clothing, metal music and longish hair.

But it was tough for him in Yorktown, where one boy in particular allegedly was cruel on a daily basis. His mother said she went to the school and the sheriff's office to get help, to ask them to punish the bully and get him to stop, but she said the harassment didn't let up.

County school spokeswoman Betsy Overkamp-Smith did not return phone calls but has said in the past that she can't comment on pending litigation.

York County sheriff's spokesman Maj. Ronald Montgomery said his department is no longer investigating the case. "There is no bullying statute in the state of Virginia, so we are not investigating a crime," he said.

For the friends and siblings who still go to Grafton High, it's a daily torture.

"I've gotta see 'em every day," said Christian's brother, Greg Juntti, who is a senior and still encounters the group that allegedly targeted his brother. "I just want to graduate. Get outta here."

Christian's friends and family were all around him during the last weekend of his life. It was Memorial Day weekend, and they were barbecuing, dancing and skateboarding all three days.

"We totally didn't see it coming. He was, like, happy all weekend," his 15-year-old brother, Tristan Taylor, said in between skateboarding tricks.


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