8-Year-Old Biracial Boy Nearly Hanged by Teenagers in Horrifying Attack

little boy hanged by teenagers
Cassandra Merlin/Facebook

There is almost nothing more terrifying to a parent than the thought of our children being harmed or targeted for simply being who they are. That is exactly what one devastated family is dealing with after an 8-year-old boy was hanged from a tree by a group of teenagers in an attack that seems to be explicitly related to racism.


Disturbing images have surfaced of a young boy with his neck covered in rope burns. According to a Facebook post by the child's mom -- which has since been made private -- the 8-year-old was the victim of an attempted hanging perpetrated by teenagers in his neighborhood.

little boy hanged by teenagers
Cassandra Merlin/Facebook

"So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14-year-old kid decided to hang him from a tree," she wrote. "I don't care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little sh** teenage kids. [He] is doing okay, just keep him in your prayers."

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The child's grandmother, Lorrie Slattery, told Valley News the incident was almost certainly racially motivated. While all playing together in a yard, the teens allegedly began taunting the boy with racial slurs which then escalated to their throwing sticks and rocks at his legs. Shortly after, reports say, one or multiple teens stood on a picnic table, grabbed a rope used for a nearby tire swing, and attempted to hang the 8-year-old.

"The [teenagers] said, 'look at this,' supposedly putting the rope around their necks," Slattery told Valley News. "One boy said to [her grandson], 'Let's do this,' and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him."

No adults were present at the time of the incident, but the boy's 11-year-old sister was there and left the scene to find their mom shortly after it happened. Slattery also says none of the teenagers attempted to help her grandson down, and the boy swung back and forth from the tree three times before he was able to get himself free. The boy did not sustain any internal injuries but was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with several cuts on his neck. He has since been released.

As of now, the Claremont police chief has confirmed that they are investigating the incident but has refused to provide further details since all involved parties are juveniles. Chief Mark Chase told The Root, "Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life." This has, understandably, caused outrage among activists who feel that the perpetrators are being protected by police instead of punished for being so careless with the life of another person.

The boy's mother even took to Facebook to write an emotional post about the prevalence of racism in her child's life and the adverse effects the incident has had on him, reaching out to thank those who have been supportive and amplify the family's quest for justice for their son.

little boy hanged by teenagers
Cassandra Merlin/Facebook

While the 8-year-old is faring well physically, his family reports that he refuses to speak of the incident. "I do believe he does not want to believe that he was being hurt purposefully," Slattery said. "That is the kind of kid he is."

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Even as the details of this case remain murky, it is obvious that the torture this young boy sustained was so much more than a case of simple bullying or a "mistake" made by a few teenagers. This child could have lost his life, and not holding those responsible for traumatizing him accountable for their horrific actions would be a crime in and of itself.

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