By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Ray Stern
By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
After she noticed the cutting this spring, Barbara called a suicide treatment center and got David counseling and medication. That helped temporarily, too, she says.
The final incident the one that got David sent to Adobe Mountain took place May 2. David was playing chess online. It was bedtime. Elena sleeps in the living room, and she needed to get up the next day for school. Barbara gave David 10 minutes to wrap up the game. He got angry. She offered to let him stay up; Elena could sleep in his room. He got angrier and threw the phone. "He's just out of control and it scares me," Barbara says.
She called the police, who took David to the county detention facility in Mesa.
"I said, Make sure you put him on suicide watch.'"
Barbara begged the judge to send David to a locked residential treatment facility, but there was no money. The judge rejected the alternative, an outpatient program Barbara had found, and sent David to Adobe Mountain for six months.
David was there for just two weeks. The family says his first letter reported that the place was "pretty tight" (that's a good thing, his sister confirms) although he complained about the 90-second showers.
The first Saturday, which is visiting day, Barbara brought Elena and pizza. The second, Christina and Chinese food. Both days, David appeared to be happy. He said he liked his roommate. He was delighted to be allowed a pencil. He sent Barbara some drawings, asking her to leave them for him on his bedroom dresser.
On the second Saturday five days before he hanged himself David did mention that his medication was being changed, but he didn't mention whether he would be getting a different drug or a different dose. He had been taking aderol, which is commonly used to treat attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.
Barbara says she never spoke to anyone at Adobe Mountain, never had the opportunity to tell them that David was suicidal. But, she says, "if anybody opened up my son's file, it clearly states that in there."
The only clue the family has about what happened next is in a letter David's father received in the mail the day after David died. Christina says the letter related "that he wishes that his Dad was there to play ball with him" and to fish. She says David wanted to show his father his new skateboard tricks.
According to Christina, David also wrote to his father that his roommate was starting to make him mad because he told David he shouldn't have a relationship with his father, since he hadn't been there for him in the past.
"That's not a reason to go kill yourself," Barbara says, adding that David also wrote that he disagreed with the roommate and that father and son would have many years together.
ADJC officials haven't said much about the events surrounding David Horvath's death.
David still hadn't been placed in permanent housing at Adobe Mountain. He was living in an assessment unit. According to ADJC spokesman Steve Meissner, on Thursday, July 11, at 1:25 p.m., David and another youth got into an argument. (Meissner didn't say whether it was the roommate David spoke of to his mother, and ADJC officials haven't told her if it was.) The boys were placed in separate rooms for a "conflict resolution."
David was found with a sheet tied around his neck. He did have a pulse. His family took him off life support four days later.
Meissner says David was alone for just eight minutes. Barbara Horvath doesn't believe that. She says it would have taken him longer to construct such a strong, effective noose.
Fewer details are available about Christopher Camacho's death. ADJC hasn't even officially labeled it a suicide.
Camacho, 15, was found dead with a sheet tied around his neck at about 8:40 p.m. April 11, in a cottage at Adobe Mountain called Freedom. His family has turned down interview requests.
The boy was sent to Adobe after repeated parole violations. His other offenses: conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia.
What is known is that Christopher Camacho apparently did not have optimum living conditions under ADJC's care. He and other Freedom residents had been locked down in their cells for days at a time just prior to his death, forced to eat, study and exercise in the tiny cinderblock rooms. Also, a youth rights advocate would later learn, Camacho had repeatedly complained to kids and other staff that a staff member was touching boys inappropriately.
Meissner refuses to discuss anything related to Camacho, pending the results of an investigation. Three months later, Meissner says the investigation is complete but the materials must be redacted by ADJC attorneys before they can be released. He doesn't know when that may be. Meissner has also refused to discuss Michael Cowie, the staff member who allegedly touched boys.
Terri Capozzi remembers Michael Cowie well. For three and a half years, Capozzi served as ADJC's youth rights administrator, or ombudsman. Last month, she quit in disgust. Capozzi recalls the Cowie situation because her staff had pointed out to her that several boys were complaining about Cowie, but that no one at Adobe Mountain had written an Incident Report about it, or initiated an investigation into his behavior. Capozzi instructed her staff to put it all in writing.
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