Teen commits suicide after deputy allegedly bullies him on Facebook

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MOSCOW, Idaho (KTLA)  — Family members of a 19-year-old boy who committed suicide were asking for an apology Thursday from a sheriff’s deputy they said bullied the teenager via Facebook in the days before his death.

Andrew Cain was being sought by the Latah County Sheriff’s Office for driving without privileges and failure to appear.


Andrew Cain, 19

A deputy assigned to the case posted a photo of Cain on Facebook next a message saying, “We have decided that Andrew Cain is no longer the Wanted Person of the Week… he is the Wanted Person of the Month of June. Congratulations!,” according to local CBS affiliate KREM-TV.

The deputy also sent private messages to Cain on Facebook, his sister Alise Smith said.

Smith received a text from her brother early last week that said he felt like putting a bullet in his brain, KLEW-TV reported.

The message included a screen shot of the Facebook messages from the deputy, Smith said.

Smith was not blaming the sheriff’s department for her brother’s death, but believes the Facebook activity was a form of bullying.

“Eventually, it all just got too much to handle because other people were texting him and messaging him on Facebook and he just couldn’t handle all of the people telling him how awful of a person he was,” Smith said.

Sheriff Wayne Rausch was standing by the department’s policy regarding the use of Facebook.

But he told the employee who added the ‘‘congratulations’’ to the post that it was not appropriate, KREM-TV reported.


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    • RKS

      How do you know he wasn't doing his job? Like the story says, the "Congratulations" was inappropriate. It doesn't change the fact that this person broke the law and then failed to appear in court. If he killed himself for that, he had bigger problems than what is in this story.

      • Someone Somewhere

        "The message included a screen shot of the Facebook messages from the deputy." When a deputy is making Facebook messages, that is a deputy not doing his job. What else do you hide behind for this to feel right?

  • Carroll

    I don't think I could be as forgiving as his sister..If that happenned to one of my kids? I'd be contacting the best atty I could find.

    • Tracy

      That's why this country is so screwed up, because people who want to sue for everything. This young man had a warrant out for his arrest. While the deputy was chastised for the word "Congratulations", the sheriff stood by the use of Facebook. It sounds like this young man had more problems than this.

      • Guest

        So Tracy, do you really think that driving without privileges and failure to appear are such serious crimes that boy should be given a title like "Wanted Person of the Month" in a public forum? THAT is why this country is so screwed up.

        • KHughes

          If he had shown up in court, he wouldn't be wanted. The young man clearly had mental issues to kill himself over some municipal warrants. Most people would just be embarrassed by their own actions of standing up a judge, not commit suicide.

          • Glenn

            Not everyone has to sue for money you know. I'd sue the hell out of them in hopes to get the policy changed. This policy caused people to msg him while he was mentally and emotionally unstable, the results cannot be denied. It's wrong to give people a target on social media if it results in someone being abused, especially when we as a society claim that the punishment from the law will be just. The fine/jail sentence would have been enough.

    • triciaplumley1

      And you'd lose. The kid was irresponsible, he had warrants, but like most irresponsible parents, their children follow suit and all the sudden it's everyone else's fault/problem….typical.

  • guest

    this kid apparently was on the path to being a career criminal and now we're bashing law enforcement? why weren't his friends and family helping get him to turn himself in?

    • Jerry

      Because Law Enforcement nowadays, is not what it USED to be. They have a sense of "Messiah-ship" where it is them against everyone. They do NOT protect and serve per say anymore….it is the mentality taught in training now, to become Judge, Jury, and Executioner as an officer, by any means necessary….and if people don't like it…" Oh well…we have Political Correctness on our side" where anyone who "dissents, or call police on their tactics, is akin to an infidel. Bulls*#t!!! Hold them to a higher standard, and make them accountable….which they NEVER, EVER are…..they can kill, Maime, and harrass innocent citizens, and people will back them, and tell you " your eyes are lying to you". "F" em all. Don't lose a winks sleep for any cop who gets what they deserve.

    • jason

      Driving when he wasnt supposed to, or not showing up to court makes him a career criminal? You are a fucking moron. He was just a young kid.

  • joe

    This is one teenager I truly feel sorry, at 19 not yet learned the dirty tricks political mind tricks, he probably felt everyone was laughing at his failures as a flawed species of humans.

  • Joe Camel

    you know there have been several cases recently where parents and other teens have posted denigrating commitments online causing the recipient enough despair to take their life.

    Those folks where brought before justice and tried by their peers, I certainly hope there is integrity in the Justice system and that the people of Moscow ensure justice is applied equitably to all.

  • Anonymous

    Cops have become a bit too power hungry, understand kids have ALOT less respect nowadays BUT they’re kids and adults should know better, frankly I’m tired of the stories bout family pets being shot cuz certain breed etc….. They blanket judge ppl/animals- profiling. They should see that u can’t do that nowadays ….

  • tina

    I think that deputy should go to jail and loose his badge so what he missed his court date hell the wbitch atterney in Sandpoint did not notified some people about the change in there court dates most of Idaho is a from up towns Deputies Aaron Walker is one of them he has sex with girls than let’s them off

  • Sarah

    The kid probably had some emotional issues, but if he was being sought for his charges why not just arrest him? I mean that is what the police are paid tax dollars to do, right? Last time I checked online bullying wasn't in the job description.

  • mina

    wait, hold on a minute. he was "wanted person of the week/month"… for driving without privileges and failure to show? it must be nice for moscow, idaho to have such a ridiculously minor offense(s) be such high priority. guess that must be why the officers had so much free time to waste on facebook.

  • JohnEdwards

    Too bad he didn't have balls and man up for his crimes, petty or not. Or in fact, if they were so petty why did he take his life over it? Man up

  • Tim

    They should be sueing that department. The sheriff or anyone else on the department had no business using Facebook to send messages, especially spiteful ones meant to harass.

  • sirkissa

    Excuse me, but many in LE are not power hungry or "Judge, Jury, and Executioner as an officer, by any means necessary", they are caring people who put their lives on the line everyday trying to protect us from ourselves. Without LE and detectives, who would solve crimes, hunt down pedophiles, catch the rapists and serial murderers? Yes, there are are bad cops, but not ALL of them are assholes. Gad.

    • leostaffer

      That is completely irrelevant. It is their JOB to do what you describe. It is not their job to harass a teenager on a misdemeanor failure to appear to the point of bullying, intimidation and harassment. Your point is not relevant to the discussion. Saying we in law enforcement do our jobs every day is redundant. We are paid to do our jobs. We are not paid to harass and intimidate and publicly bully teenagers. I've been in law enforcement for two decades and this story disgusts me.

  • Patricia

    Granted, Andrew made a few bad choices; however, that does not make him a “career criminal”. How is it appropriate for a law enforcement employee to use a social media website for reporting to the world that Andrew didn’t show up for his court hearing? That information is already accessible to the public through court records. The way the deputy chose to make the announcement was obviously intended to embarrass Andrew. Okay, even if he had other issues that added to the suicide, law enforcement should not be using the social media to cause embarrassment. Doing so is harassment. The deputy could have spoken to the lad about the short and long term consequences of his behavior. They need to learn how to build relationships with the public versus causing dissention.

  • DSDean

    This is one of the most disgusting things I've read in ages. Civillians are charged with harassment for this sort of thing. This is the higher standard we hold our LEO's to? Bullying a 19 year old over missing a hearing for a minor driving offense? Disgusting. What a way to shame your uniform. What a way to convince the public you are petty, power hungry, mean spirited bullies with no real work to do protecting the community, instead choosing to be a keyboard warrior, aka coward. – Signed, someone who has worked in corrections for 19 years.

    • Midgette

      I'm not judging you for working there, I am thanking you for YOUR thoughts regarding this. I am shaking my head!!

  • eposter

    There are so many rogue cops out there. These are our protectors? Authorities? CNN has posted so many horror stories of these thugs with badges from departments nation wide. I have no trust for the badge. We shouldn't have to fear those to whom we seek for help. I walk within the lines of the law because of the morals I possess, however, all these stories I've been reading lately scare the crap out of me. I never leave the house without inspecting my car making sure everything is in order (tail/headlights and turn signals) as we should do anyway,but I am much more mindful of such things because I don't want any excuse to be pulled over because I have lost that sense of safety and faith in law enforcement. They are getting way out of control. Signs of the times.

    • OlyPNW2

      All I know is I also grew up in a small town in the PNW, and our cops would have never done something so absurd and ridiculously petty…I mean seriously, are you now required to chameleonize yourself to your pray and act as a child yourself? Not only is it lazy and unnecessary, but cruel and absolutely ridiculous. Some "leader" & "role model" to the community. The whole concept of "wanted of the…" Is harassment when used to humiliate someone as apposed to getting off your ridiculously lazy a$$ and walking up to their door down the street and his own parent would have tossed him in the back seat of the cruiser. Instead, let's go ahead and make sure that every single human being he will ever come in contact with again now has seen him as "thug o the month". For a 19 yo on a joy ride(not Mexico here folks), and a FTA no less. Sweet baby lord what is this world coming to…

    • anonymous

      Really? Why is it the parents? I hope you never have a child with a mental illness and then be blamed. The fact is is that so many people have little regard for human life. Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves for some of these disgusting comments toward a
      human that was in such despair that he felt his only way out was to
      take his own life. I hope none of you ever have to feel that even though it might bring you some humanity. I hope he finally found some peace.

  • Tammy

    Am I seriously reading this correctly? The kid was charged with driving without a license and they had to trash him on FB? I am sorry, but anything that is on the internet will haunt you forever, including this incredibly insane – but supported? – practice. No one deserves to be made to feel like a criminal and trashed publicly for something so incredibly insignificant. Shame on you Idaho and all those that back up this absurd practice.

  • nik

    "“We have decided that Andrew Cain is no longer the Wanted Person of the Week… he is the Wanted Person of the Month of June. Congratulations!"

    bullying? nope.
    just no.
    he was WANTED.
    these are the same types of parents that would think an interrogation was bullying.

    is it sad that he felt he had to kill himself over it? absolutely.

    he should have just turned himself in… and those people around him that loved him should have encouraged him to do the right thing.

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