Isaiah Gonzalez, a teenage boy from San Antonio, Texas, died by suicide as part of the Blue Whale Challenge sweeping the Internet, his father believes.
Now the Texas father, Jorge Gonzalez, has gone public with the tragedy to warn other parents about the deadly game, which has committing suicide as its final step. Various news sites have reported the boy’s name as Isaiah Gonzales, but his family uses Gonzalez on their Facebook accounts.
The online game is a series of dares that’s believed to have started as a YouTube video challenge. Isaiah’s sister, Scarlett Cantu, wrote on Facebook, “All for you Baby Brother, I hope you’re life can help save the lives of others..I Love You Baby!”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Isaiah Live Streamed His Suicide With a Cell Phone Propped Up on a Shoe
The horrific tragedy unfolded on Saturday, July 8, when Isaiah’s parents found the boy hanging in a closet. The youth had live streamed the suicide.
“Next to the teen they found a cellphone propped on top of a shoe, broadcasting the act using social media,” reported KSAT-TV.
His sister, Scarlett and other family members are imploring parents to make sure their children do not play the game. “Talk to your Children!! Your friends anyone. Please, just make sure they’re okay. Please. I beg all of you,” Scarlett wrote.
Scarlett is urging people to sign a petition that asks Facebook’s CEO to stop the Blue Whale Challenge app.
2. The Game Dares Participants to Complete a Series of Challenges & Isaiah Completed Other Tasks Too
There were warning signs that Isaiah was playing a game with a final step of suicide – if you knew what to look for.
According to KSAT, the online game includes “activities like listening to strange music and drinking bleach” and “the Gonzalez family now knows Isaiah sent pictures of him completing tasks to his friends, saying what the final outcome would be.”
News.com.au describes the game this way, “The disturbing game presents itself online as a series of 50 tasks, which become increasingly macabre over 50 days. The tasks, which include self-mutilation and waking up at odd hours to watch horror movies, ends in suicide.”
WNCN describes it this way: “Through a 50-day challenge, players are supposedly given 50 daily tasks by an anonymous administrator and must submit photo evidence each day to prove each task is complete.”
3. Isaiah Had Just Joined the ROTC Program & Didn’t Seem at Risk for Suicide
Isaiah didn’t display outward signs of being a suicide risk, according to The New York Daily News.
In fact, his life was filled with signs of success. “The rising sophomore had just joined the ROTC program at his high school, and his father described him as a jokester,” The Daily News reported.
His mother, Angela, wrote on Facebook: “Wero I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.”
4. Isaiah Was Described as a Teen Who Always Made People Smile
Gonzalez’ heartbroken family told News4San Antonio that Isaiah had a positive personality.
“Every day he was always making everybody smile,” said Angela Gonzalez, Isaiah’s mother to the Texas television station, which added that “family members describe Isaiah Gonzalez as a happy and kindhearted 15-year old.”
The Blue Whale Challenge was the opposite: “It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” said Jorge to News4SanAntonio.
“You have to carve a number into your arm you have to cut yourself,” added Alexis, Isaiah’s older sister, to the television station.
A GoFundMe site has been established to help the Gonzalez family pay for funeral expenses.
5. The Blue Whale Challenge Is Being Blamed For at Least One Other Death
Isaiah is not the only youth whose family believes died by suicide because of the Blue Whale Challenge.
In Atlanta Georgia, a 16-year-old girl’s suicide is also being blamed on the game, WNCN reported. The girl’s parents asked the television station to keep her name private but similarly spoke out to warn other parents of the dangerous game.
The girl’s mother said she was artistic and “a funny girl. Like to make silly faces, or, how we say, the puppy face when she want something,”