Lethal Impulse

Sean Guthrie, 15, of Omaha died March 20, 1999.
He endured years of bouncing back and forth between his divorced parents, said his father, Michael. Problems grew when Michael married a woman who enforced strict rules. She fought often with Sean, and Michael said he handled their feuding inconsistently. The family was to go to the Durham Western Heritage Museum on Saturday, but another fight between stepmom and Sean left the boy grounded at home. Sean wasn't supposed to pick up the phone. But Michael said he would call once and then once again right away. Sean was to pick up so his dad could check in. Michael kept calling. Sean never picked up. He hanged himself. He was found along with a Spider-Man toy, which he often flung about the room with the help of a rubber band. Michael wonders whether Sean was just imitating something he had done with that toy.

Daniel "Frankie" Taylor, 19, of Omaha died Jan. 17, 1999.
He was in an upstairs bedroom. He had apparently threatened suicide, but friends didn't believe him. His mother, Frances Taylor, still wonders whether he really meant to shoot himself. She wonders whether he was horsing around or was somehow forced to pull the trigger. She suspected Frankie had joined a gang. He always wore red. Life had been tough since his father died in 1992 of complications from multiple sclerosis. Frankie's death was close to the Jan. 20 anniversary of his father's death. Taylor tried to be tough on her son, and that strained their relationship. There had been signs that Frankie was straightening up. The Monday after his death, his mother got word that a grocery store had decided to hire him.

Shannon Hauck, 17, of rural Kimball died April 8, 2002.
He longed to be popular, but he felt like a misfit. His mother believes that her son did something violent to fit in with a bad crowd and that he couldn't live with it. She also suspected he had been sexually assaulted earlier in his life. Shannon used illegal drugs and had prescription drugs for depression. The Monday he died, his mother argued with him over a $300 cable bill for the Playboy channel. When the argument ended, Shannon said he was OK and going for a walk in the park. Instead, he hanged himself in the family barn.