Two California families have blamed their teen daughters’ suicides on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
Bella Herndon (pictured left) and Priscilla Chiu (pictured right), both 15, reportedly died by suicide in April. The teens didn’t know each other, but they had one thing in common: they watched the controversial Netflix show days before taking their own lives.
The show, which focuses on a high school girl who kills herself, has been accused of romanticizing suicide and mental illness.
Bella’s mother, Donna Herndon, said her daughter battled depression and was bullied in the past but seemed happy and content in her final days.
“All I could see is that she was on her knees bent over, like she was digging in the closet. I thought she was joking around ‘cause there’s really nothing to find in her closet,” Donna told KTVU. “So I laughed and said, ‘Hey Bella, what are you doing?’ And then I got closer and she had hung herself. She was so blue.”
John Herndon cut his daughter’s lifeless body down. Bella spent a week and a half on life support before doctors gave her parents a heartbreaking prognosis.
Priscilla’s uncle, Peter Chui, said he knew that his niece was depressed but missed other warning signs. Peter told the station that Priscilla’s grades started to slip and she said she hated school.
“And I feel like the absolute worst adult because I kept forcing her to go to school,” Peter said.
Bella and Priscilla died four days apart.
Peter and John believe the show sends the message that suicide is the only answer. And that harmful message resonated with Bella and Priscilla.
“I can hear her giggling; laughing with her friends and it’s quiet—which is the hardest—because I miss her laugh,” Peter said of Priscilla’s empty room.
John claimed he’s only gone into his daughter’s room twice since her death because it makes him remember “how much I miss her.”
“[I think about] How close she still feels, like she’s still here [in her room] and that will never leave me,” John said.
“I’ll never be able to hold her hand. But I can still feel the person who she was.”
[Featured Image: KTVU/Sky Lawn Memorial Park]