A 10-year-old's suicide? Where's the body?
A woman says her son killed himself in grief when a friend was killed. Authorities say they have no evidence of the suicide, or the childPhoto: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A dramatic new twist in the disturbing story a mother told 9 On Your Side--how her 10-year old son took his own life after witnessing a terrible accident.
Now new questions are coming out about that entire story.
Officials in multiple departments are now telling 9 On Your Side they never heard a thing about this 10 year old suicide victim.
The suicide story came out after the story about a sheriff's deputy hitting and killing a young boy on the street.
Days later--a mother tells us a terrible story about her child---saying he had been the boy's best friend and was so distraught about the accident with the deputy that he took his own life.
The woman told us her name is Genesee Pineda, and her 10 year old son Roman killed himself after that deputy's cruiser hit and killed his best friend.
But authorities we'd expect to know about any unnatural death---especially a child's suicide now tell us they know nothing about Roman.
In an interview with 9 On Your Side Genesee Pineda told us her son Roman saw the deputy's vehicle hit his best friend Xavier Sanchez, and it haunted him.
Pineda says, "He was asking about heaven, that he had repeated that he didn't want his friend to go to heaven by himself."
She says family members later found Roman terribly hurt, from self inflicted wounds.
"They took him to UMC, where he died there," she says.
But when we checked with that hospital, we learn they have no record of the boy coming there.
TMC says it has no record of the child arriving there either.
Then there's the picture Pineda gave us to show viewers. She says it's Roman. But when we ran it through Google Image Search, we find it looks just like a picture on the HBO Website. That site says it's a boy named Josh--not Roman--who appeared on an HBO documentary about homeless kids in California.
And then there's another question.
Pineda told us Roman tried to kill himself while he was on the Pascua
Yaqui reservation. Michael Valenzuela, the tribal police chief there confirmed late Wednesday that he has absolutely no record of a 10 year old child committing suicide.
He says, "We contacted other agencies as well and there's no report, this lady that is claiming this we have no contact with her right now. There is no indication this is a true story."
"Any death like the one Genesee Pineda described would be investigated by the Medical Examiner's Office but the Forensic Science Center says no child matching that description has passed through its autopsy rooms.
Vincent Sanchez, the father of the boy hit and killed by the sheriff deputy, says the story of the boy's suicide touched him so much, he had considered sharing some of the generous donations given to his family to bury his boy.
He even thought about burying the two boys together.
The people at the Branding Iron Bar put on a benefit for the Sanchez family, and were thinking about one for Genesee Pineda.
Bartender Ginger Castellano says, "When someone tells you their son committed suicide, you believe them, like we believed her."
We tried to reach Genesee Pineda for her side of all this.
She had been talking to us freely before these questions started flying; now she is not returning our calls.
Once we made the connection between the picture Pineda gave us, and the one that is on HBO's website, we turned both over to the Tucson Police.
Late Wednesday we got word that a fraud detective has been assigned to look into Pineda's story.
We'll stay on this story and keep trying to get a hold of Genesee Pineda to find out why authorities have not heard about this child's death.