A Putnam County family will lay to rest a 10-year-old boy that apparently took his own life this past Saturday. Ian Austin died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Austin was a fourth grader at Cane Creek Elementary School in Cookeville. Family members say Austin had been bullied in school and had ADHD, but they never suspected he had thoughts of harming himself.

Funeral services for Ian will be today (Thursday, December 12, 2019) at 6 p.m. at Life Church at 2223 North Washington Avenue in Cookeville. Family will start receiving friends at 3 p.m. until time of the service. Graveside services will be tomorrow (Friday, December 13, 2019) at 10 a.m. at Judd Cemetery in Baxter.

Today it does not matter how young or old a person is, suicide is a very real issue. Chances are you know someone that has committed suicide, attempted suicide or is battling depression or problems. There is no typical demographic of people who are at risk for suicide. No ethnicity or background is immune. Many troubled individuals display behaviors deliberately or inadvertently signal their suicidal intent. Recognizing the warning signs and learning what to do next may help save a life.

Warning signs include:

  • Talking about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities
  • Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss
  • Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility
  • Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance
  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • General hopelessness
  • Recent experience humiliation or failure


  • A community mental health agency
  • A private therapist
  • A school counselor or psychologist
  • A family physician
  • A suicide prevention/crisis intervention center
  • A religious/spiritual leader
  • A family member
  • A teacher or coach

There is help available for those thinking about suicide. If you or someone you know is thinking about doing self-harm, please call the following for help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

TBI School Violence Hotline: 1-800-824-3463

Text TN to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line and a trained counselor

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35 Responses

  1. Mary Rensel Parke

    I am so devastating and words can’t even describe how you feel, cause Suicide and Bullying and Mental illness has to be discussed in School as many kids are doing this awful killing to themselves. We lost a child and every day I think of him and talk to him. and would of been 10 years this year My heart ❤️ and prayers are with you and your family.

    1. Rosie

      what word could possibly have been said to a 10 year old boy that made him think that his life was so unbearable and he didn’t want to live anymore?? This poor little Angel had nobody to talk to? Why are kids so cruel? Do they learn from their parents where’s it coming from and what can we do to change it? Because no way as a society should we ever accept the suicide of a 10 year old child!

      1. Shay

        My son in 1st grade, 6 years old was bullied. Classmates told him he was stupid and pushed him down at the playground and tried to make him eat dirt. Some kids flat out are jerks.

      2. Suzy

        They learn it from other kids at school, at the park and play grounds, bigger kids older Brothers, Sisters, Video games Movies, its a Sub culture, sadly it’s everywhere….
        My Grandson has been Bullied from, 1st thru 2nd grade different Schools….
        Play ground Monitors & teachers don’t watch close enough… unless the kids stay right next to them… :/

    2. Lisa

      Rosie, It’s not doing any good to talk to the children in the schools! This is NOT the first child that has been bullied to the point of suicide, there have been many before him… it has been brought up in the schools but the the chefs can’t do everything to raise her students some of this needs to be strongly forced from home. If I had deliberately mistreated another child when I was in school and my mother found out I promise you I didn’t do it a second time. Now days children are raising themselves and there is no consequences for there actions

    3. Jason

      I’m so sorry for your loss the poor baby had so much ahead of him, I myself had a nephew who committed suicide with a gun at 11 years old he was also adhd and was being bullied at school, there is not a day goes by that I don’t think of what I could have done to help him and save his life may god bless this family and watch over them this will be the hardest thing they have ever dealt with.

    4. ncomello@aol.com

      why didnt the teachers do something about the bullying. They can’t say that the teacher didnt know about it , as they did , they just chose not to bother. they would say all kids are bullied or it is part of growing up or boys will be boys that is what most teachers have said in the past. This is not just some fly on the wall this is someone’s baby boy who was only 10 years old! I think there needs to be a law created to where the parents of the bullies are put in jail for 10 years and that is not enough as this `10 year old boy will never have another day to be happy and carefree on earth. The bullies parents should get $50.000 fine and 10 years in jail then it will be taken more seriously! Every so often we hear of this story with other kids and no one does anything about this . The school gives the usual statement and gets off scot free without any legal action taken against them. The school, teacher, parents of the bullies should all go to jail, then everyone will take it seriously!

    5. Jacquie

      We lost a child born too soon, gone too soon. Its heartbreaking to lose a child. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around losing my baby to suicide. My entire heart goes to the family and good vibes sent all around them.




  3. Carroll Jenkins

    Those children who Bullied this young man should be made to wear a sign on themselves for the entire school year that says I’m a bully and my actions killed someone

  4. Sarah

    My heart breaks for this family and hope the bullies learn a tough lesson and never do it again. This article has a great message but I am bothered with the part “there is no typical demographic for those at risk for suicide”. Actually, there are very specific demographics linked to this… for instance, indigenous youth are 6x more likely to commit suicide than their non-indigenous counterparts. So for every 1 youth suicide, there are 6 indigenous suicides. The stats are even worse if you are a girl. There is a very real crisis in Canada. That being said, my thoughts and prayers to this family and i Hope everybody can take something out of this article. This cutie did not deserve this.

    1. That was my thought. I feel horrible for the parents, but guns should be kept in a spot kids won’t have access. This is the message that needs to be brought to attention. Bullying is a problem that kids nowadays can’t excape. When I was young picking on each other was normal. We could go home, vent, regroup and go back with a cool happy attitude the next day. Kids today with social media and texting never get a chance to escape it. Im pro gun. I would never leave it out for my child to have access to it. It’s responsibility.

  5. This is crazy and heartbreaking and action should be taken, doesn’t matter whether they are kids or not, someone just lost they life and I wonder how the patents of the bullies are feeling about they children driving another child into committing suicide, our condolences to the the family and friends

  6. Debra l Ramsey

    We can play the he said she said game all we want but the truth is until someone is held accountable then nothing is going to change. I know now a days the kids here us say when we was young or we would never do that. Well we would never do it because our parents would whip our butts and we learned if we did it again we knew what was coming. Now I know a lot of you will say, oh my you don’t need to use physical treatment you can talk with them and take care of it. Okay say a week later same thing happened and again and again. Talking doesn’t show anything will happen if they should do it again. But when spanking them and I said spanking not beating they know that their parents meant business. Now a days people are afraid to discipline their kids. Not every one is a child beater and the kids would learn respect and discipline at home.

    1. Rose

      Some one that spanks a child does this while under control of there feelings but beating a child or an adult is a fit of rage. Someone that has hate in there heart. And a lot of anger. Perhaps because of no guidance in there youth. Or no affection in the home. No one truly knows why some one would want to hurt another person just to hurt them. But spanking is done so one knows the differance from right and wrong. I was beaten as a child an I never beat any of my children. But I did spank them. And they have grown in to very good caring adults with very loving families of there own. so I done them right. An they have agreed that they deserved every spanking they received.

      1. I agree completely. if I made fun of someone I would get my ass beat and my mom never spared the rod that was for sure. We were poor and I didnt have much and I was bullied even in the 11th grade so badly I dropped out. I was made fun of because I was considered fat , I only weighted 120 pounds at 5 feet tall, I didnt have good clothes, my parents were poor, I was in the slow learned classes, (I got better grades in that class) but I was bullied and threaened all the time. I did go back to school to finish at age 20 and I was still mocked due to not having better clothes and shoes and the teach even made the point of saying how old I was, so then the kids made it even harder for me.! see even the teacher made it hard on me. But did get my degree in the end. So see there are bullies at any age . So this has to stop and all involved Teachers, students and parents of bullies need to be made to pay (parents in jail and large sum of money fine ) teachers and principal should lose their jobs! They all knew and no one cared in that school about the boy but his parents. That boy could not take he verbal and emotional pain and felt there was no way out but to take his life. He knew each day would bring more and more pain and he had reached his level of pain and opted out of it, the only way he knew how. I pray for his soul that he is now happy and will never received that pain and burden ever again. In heaven he will be happy but on earth he suffered unbearable pain . May he be at peace and happy now.

  7. Yvonne

    I am so sorry!! My daughter tried. The 1st time at age 10 for the same reasons…my heart and prayers go out to you and your family.

  8. Sharon Chain

    This is so sad breaks my Heart I understand why parent want to home school their children we are living in a evil world and times . We got to take a stand and see what we all can do to stop this Bulling has got to stop!!!

  9. T

    Im so sorry to hear that. Its a shame, schools are not stepping up like they should to prevent bullying. My daughter gets bullied in school and her principal tells her to just deal with it.

    1. Amy l. Robert

      I had a issue with my son’s school when he was in 6th grade that’s Jr high where we live. He had a group of kids bulling him & they broke his collar bone. The school gave him 2 pieces of ice but they didn’t take him to the hospital & they didn’t call me they called my husband which was very odd cause they never ever call him for any reason. I was just leaving my job for my break right when my husband got the call. So I went to the school took him to the hospital the Dr seen him ask my son if he wanted to make a report but no matter what he had to make a report because the type of break it was because it was done intently. When I went back to the school I talk to the principal & the vice principal the next day. See when I pick my son up to take him to the hospital I asked for the principal the off ice told me she was out for the day because her daughter had surgery related to a school issue & the vice principal was out to lunch & the acting principal well there wasn’t one so who was in charge of our student then. Well they had video of the whole things & I couldn’t see it because of the other students ok that really shouldn’t have matter but they told me the school cops will review and let me know who was at fault. Well I give you 3 guesses who they said who’s fault it was. Yes you guessed it they were trying to blame my son for it. They even held the police report from me. They never even told me anything. I tried going to the school district & his school got ahold of them told them that it was my son’s fault & when we got there that was they said. The funny thing is that I already knew who were all involved cause they only lived around the corner from our house they were always bulling any kid. So the school always has these bullies there but they never get into trouble it the ones that are getting bullied that get in trouble & thered alot of kids from that school trying or doing sucide there which is very sad.

    1. It’s awesome you said this and I agree sometimes it’s not the kids it’s the teachers . I have a ADHD child and in the past he has been sent to the office walked the Field for recess and even sent home because the teacher didn’t know how to handle the disability Instead of showing him one way and teaching him they would just yell at him and send him to the office. I actually had to do a college Cetacean on ADHD and I interviewed my son and some of the things he said made me cry. One of them was he wish teachers would understand ADHD instead of using it as such a horrible thing use it as a positive motivation. He broke down during the interview and was crying to me. I took action that night and did some more research on schools with special education classes and luckily I found a school that has a extra class that my son actually goes to another class Every day on top of his other classes this class is amazing it helps him with his work he may not be able to finish in His regular class and teaches him how to deal with his ADHD best part about it the teacher has ADHD also. What’s the rush work it took me pulling him out of the old school and doing some research putting them into a new school that finally understood who he was not everybody’s lucky and not everybody should blame a child for this horrible tragedy. It’s untrained teachers and other adults as well.

      1. Michelle

        Do not even think about blaming the teachers! Everyone wants to blame the teachers! Now a days the teachers have alot of kids and do alot to make up for the fact that the parents don’t have time for their children.. not even to read to them. So if you want to start blaming the teachers. Maybe you should start blaming your self.

  10. Jeff Myers

    Don’t be so quick to defend every teacher and I always blame the parents Michelle! I had adhd in the 70s as a child. Back then they just called it a hyperactivity and treated you as a bad child. My parents tried everything. Most teachers were OK and I did fairly well in their classes. But I had a few that had no business being teachers. Now they had a hard time with me and I didn’t do well in their classes. I know firsthand the children go through a lot of anxiety and depression and peer pressure To be cool. They have a harder life than you think. You have unmitigated gall Michelle to suggest that every parent is to blame and every teacher is blameless. It’s case-by-case. I will close for now so that I may pray for that little boy. God bless him and his family.

  11. Ashley Thomas

    I also had ADHD as a kid. I remember feeling like I wanted to get myself. This is horrible. Ty for all the comments it helped me get through this reading. Shift for your babies loss! Truly a loss

  12. Lori

    I’ve been thru all of this. I had to bully these kids myself an it stopped.
    Also if taking meds for ADD or ADHD
    Can cause a depression like no other in children. Been thru that also.
    Get kids off these meds!

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