Teen remembered at candlelight vigil - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teen remembered at candlelight vigil

Mindy Barakauskas, Hammonds' Aunt and Godmother Mindy Barakauskas, Hammonds' Aunt and Godmother
Tanya Paramore,  family friend Tanya Paramore, family friend
Det. Kenneth Washington, SPD Det. Kenneth Washington, SPD

Friends and family are hosting the "Justice for Dustin vigil" at Jeffords Park in Sylvester. People are showing up with T-shirts and signs in memory of the 8th grader they believe was bullied. Dustin Hammond's aunt says the 13 year-old was a happy child.

 "Dustin was amazing," said Mindy Barakauskas, Hammonds' Aunt and Godmother. "He wanted to make video games. He wanted to be a creator, and he would have been good at it." But the fun loving Boy Scout, who made YouTube videos about Transformer toys, shot him in the head a week ago. He was taken off life support Monday.

While no one will ever know for sure why Dustin took his own life, friends speculate it was because of bullying.

"All we're simply asking the school board to do is to do a good investigation. A real investigation and ask the children the right questions about what's going on," said Tanya Paramore, a family friend.

The Sylvester Police Department has been called in to help the Worth County School System conduct an investigation into the accusations. "At this point, we don't have anything to document that fact that bullying has been taking place. But the school saw fit to go ahead and do an investigation," said Inv. Kenneth Washington with the Sylvester Police Department.

School officials refused to speak on camera, but say they've been conducting interviews with students for the last two days. "They're doing what they are required to do by the state law as to the student code of conduct to make sure no bullying is taking place on campus," said Washington.

As the search for answers continues, family members make collages of happy memories to share at tonight's ceremony. "Because we're so afraid that he's gonna be here today, and his memory's gonna linger, but then he's just gonna disappear," said Barakauskas.

Even though Dustin is gone, his organs were donated so that others can live. Worth County Middle School, where Dustin was a student, is providing grief counselors for his friends and classmates.

Wednesday afternoon at four, a Celebration of Life service for Dustin will be held at Northside Baptist Church in Sylvester.


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