9-Year-Old Girl Hangs Herself After The Very Unwelcome Arrival Of A Younger Sibling

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9-year-old hangs selfBlended families can admittedly be rough but struggling with how to love stepchildren doesn’t even compare to a child ultimately taking her life. Such is the tragedy of 9-year-old Justice Williams who hung herself after the birth of her baby half-brother.

New York Daily News reports that 31-year-old Tamiqua Torres, who kept a personal mommy blog, had given birth to a baby boy eight months ago. She married Justice’s stepfather in 2011. When the little girl learned that she was going to be a big sister, she reportedly told relatives that she “wanted to die.”

Justice was taken to a therapist for her troubles, and her family believed that the issue had been resolved. On her mother’s personal parenting blog, which has now been taken down, Tamiqua even wrote that Big Sister was adjusting. The little girl’s grandfather also noted that there didn’t seem to be any “conflict” between the kids.

But Justice nevertheless committed suicide:

Torres, 31, found her daughter’s lifeless body hanging from the shower’s metal frame in the family’s Wallace Ave. home about 9:30 p.m. Sunday….

“It’s an unforeseen tragedy,” [grandfather Wardel Fenderson], Tamiqua Torres’ father, said Monday. “I’m feeling like a block of ice. I’m numb.”

New York Daily News describes the little girl’s death as perhaps incentivized “by jealous resentment of her newborn brother.” But clearly there was a lot more pain going on with young Justice than just your standard case of older sibling jealousy.

(photo: Andrew L. / Shutterstock)


  1. msenesac

    April 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Surely something else has to have been happening in this family other than sibling rivalry. This is just an utterly heartbreaking story. I can’t even imagine having to deal with that.

    • Blueathena623

      April 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      That’s what I figure too. I just . . . How does a 9 year old know how to hang herself?

  2. Andrea

    April 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    There is WAY WAY WAY more to this story. Not that I really wanna know, because I am certain that it is much more horrifying than sibling jealousy. The girl was 9. NINE. Just think about that for a second. How does a NINE year old even get to the point where she knows what suicide is, much less how to carry it out?

    • Tea

      April 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Media exposure and severe depression, or any other assortment of mental illnesses can do it. I knew what suicide was when I was young, I think I made my first attempt at 10 and had self-injured since I was in kindergarten. It’s horrible, but not unheard of and not always an indicator of a bad family life.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      April 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I made my first attempt at 9 due to isolation from peers. Kids pick up on more than you think. Certainly it should be explored, but ultimately there’s a good chance that the suicide was from factors that no one could have realized, even loving parents.

    • Andrea

      April 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Please forgive me. I just couldn’t comprehend the fact that someone so young would do this. I believe what you are saying, but surely there has to be more to this than simply being upset over the birth of a sibling?

    • CrazyFor Kate

      April 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      My guess is it was a whole bunch of factors, some having to do with her, some with her environment, and probably the birth of the sibling tipped the scales – it is a major upheaval, but as you say most kids don’t go that far.

    • Emmali Lucia

      April 10, 2013 at 1:34 am

      I had a friend way back when who’s little brother attempted to hang himself when he was younger than nine (I can’t remember the actual age anymore, this was years ago)

      Sometimes these things just happen due to mental illness, he came from a wonderful loving family, he certainly wasn’t an outcast at school. It’s awful and it should never happen to anyone. But it really does happen.

  3. Trillian Alice

    April 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Something was happening with that child. I wonder who she told she wanted to kill herself, There is something more to this story.

  4. Tea

    April 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I feel horrible for the family. I know suicide at 9 isn’t normal, but not completely unheard of, especially with severe mental illness or social influences being an issue (Severe bullying, depression, gender dysphoria, child bi-polar disorder, all of these things have lead to young suicide). It sounds like they did their best, and I’m setting aside judgement unless something troubling rears its head.

  5. Anon

    April 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    You’d be surprised at how much kids know, and how much some kids can truly understand. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with tv, movies, or internet access.
    For example, I wrote a suicide note when I was 8 years old, in 1996. Pre-internet, very little tv and movie exposure, no personal exposure (as in, no relatives or family friends who killed themselves), but that’s not where I learned what suicide was.

    Obviously, I didn’t carry it out, but I knew exactly what I was doing, how to do it, and what the (very permanent) consequences would be. I don’t know this girl’s whole family story; frankly, I doubt anyone will ever know the whole story. As for me, I just had deeply f***ed up parents and a grandmother who took care of us when my parents worked (I never once had a babysitter-it was always the grandmother or, in rare cases, an aunt-and I didn’t understand why until much later), plus a monster of a younger brother.

    • Anon

      April 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Forgot to mention this: No, I did not (and do not) have a mental illness. Sometimes, especially when you’re young, a bad situation can seem so huge and overwhelming that you can’t see any other way out.

  6. meteor_echo

    April 10, 2013 at 4:53 am

    So, I suppose this article hit very close to home in my case.
    I’ve been raised in an abusive home, where every day I would hear nothing but screaming and fighting. I had to live in the same room as my grandmother, so the only private space that I was afforded was my bed – and I hid from all the terrible sounds underneath it. When my parents asked me whether I wanted a sibling, I screamed NO at them and then crawled under the bed and hid there for hours. Why? Because I could clearly what this little personal hell would be with a screeching baby, and that I would have to be the one to care for it in the end. I was around 7 or 8 at the time, and yet I had enough brain to see where a sibling would lead to.
    Then, at 13, I had a plan to kill myself by overdosing on pills. I did not go through with it for a sole reason – because I was afraid to screw up the dosage and to be recuscitated because of that. My house was a place where I hated to return, my father would threaten to harm me, and my mother just called me an idiot and an imbecile.

    It seems to me like this story has much more than meets the eye. I have a stark feeling that the girl was quite neglected: a note from the mother’s blog says: “We were as happy as happy could be until one day my then 8 year old woke up and decided that she wasn’t exactly thrilled about being a Big Sister”. It does NOT happen just “one day”, the kind of resolve that leads to killing oneself accumulates over time, like grime in the water pipe – until one day, the pipe explodes. I do not think that this kid was happy at all; besides, it’s easy to deceive a psychologist – you just put on your best mask and lie to them. Been there, done that.

  7. LiteBrite

    April 10, 2013 at 10:33 am

    A friend of my husband has a daughter who is now 11 or 12. At nine, she wrote a suicide note and talked frequently of killing herself. In addition to public admissions of suicide, she exhibited signs of emotional discord: frequent tantrums, screaming fits out of proportion to the situation, among other things. She’s still in therapy and on medication. Things have gotten better, but the parents absolutely have not let their guard down because they know their daughter will always have, for lack of a better word, “issues.”

    I agree with the others who said there is way more to the story; however, like Tea, I am reserving judgement. I can’t imagine what it must like to have a young child even talk about suicide much less actually do it. My heart goes out to this family.

  8. Anonymous

    April 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    This is terribly, terribly sad.

    I can understand it from a personal viewpoint, however. I’m an only child brought up by a single mother who did her best, I’m sure, but would quite often resort to verbal insults, has said she wanted to make sure I wouldn’t become stuck-up (as a result, I have extremely low self-esteem), and has never told me she loves me. I was an extremely love-sick child with a need to please and would see any authority figure as kind of a mother substitute. Around ages 4-7, I had nightmares about my mother finding a man and having another child, dreams that would always end with me being abandoned and the new child now getting what little love I’d gotten before. This was such a frightening prospect to me that I looked for confirmation from other relatives that my mother wouldn’t have another child. (She never did.) Partially due to this and partially to subsequent bullying, I started to fantasize about dying when I was 9-10 and self-harming and having suicidal thoughts at 12.

  9. Saddened

    April 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    When I was about 13, my older sister’s boyfriend commited suicide at 17. However, he had been attempting it for many, many years, we found out from my sister, after the fact. The worst, his parents called my house one night while my parents were out (luckily our 20 year old brother was there to intercept the call), and reamed out my sister, blaming her for it because she had broken up with him days before. She had been with him for several years, having tried to break up with him before but he would threaten to do it each time and she wouldn’t go through with it. Point is, there are small kids who have mental issues, just as teens and adults do. It sounds like these parents did try to get help, where as in my personal situation I don’t believe his parents ever did anything, judging by the fact that they blamed my sister, even though he had been attempting it years before ever knowing her. Whether there’s more to the story, I don’t know, but my heart goes out to the entire family, particularly the mom and I pray that this baby never ever is introduced to the idea that his sister’s death was in any way because of his birth.

    • Psych Student

      April 12, 2013 at 1:40 am

      I know it’s not current, but I really hope your sister got help to deal with her feelings regarding the suicide. It is not uncommon for people with mental disorders to threaten suicide to keep a significant other around. Your sister did the right thing by not allowing him to hold her hostage. Your poor sister. I feel sorry for the family of the boy as well, but that doesn’t justify taking it out on someone else.

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