Ruth Manu’s grandchildren were on their way out the front door to catch the school bus when they were stopped by a police detective. Steps away from their Missouri home, a terrible tragedy had occurred.
It was something no child should ever have to see, but the grisly scene wasn’t enough to prevent an entire school bus of middle schoolers from bearing witness to it.
As Fox4kc reports, neighbors of the Raytown community awoke the morning of May 24 to find a man’s lifeless body hanging from a tree.
Police were called to the apartment complex where they promptly covered the body with a sheet.
But there was more on the minds of parents and neighbors than what had led to the tragic circumstances.
Within minutes, bus 52 from Raytown Middle School would be coming down the road to pick up children on their way to school.
Aaron Walker pleaded with police to hurry. He told Fox4kc:
“The first thing I did is that I got out of the car and asked the police, I told them that there was a bus coming in about 20 to 30 minutes, is there anything you can do to wrap this up?”
But police said there was nothing they could do; it was an active crime scene in a residential neighborhood. When the coroner arrived to assess the situation, he was then forced to remove the covering.
“You could see a lifeless body hanging,” Walker told Fox4kc.
Fear turned to panic for parents when ten minutes later the school bus arrived. It stopped just feet from the crime scene to let children board.
“Some parents were pretty upset around here about it, they felt like it could’ve been handled a little bit better,” Walker told Fox4kc.
Another witness added:
“All those kids on that bus lost their innocence.”
Area resident Mickey Kowalski, who saw the body early that morning and believed it to be a doll, said at 40 year -old he’s traumatized by what he saw — but he can’t begin to fathom what any of the children are experiencing.
According to KCTV, Raytown School District confirmed that several students on the bus saw the body.
The district reportedly sent home a letter to parents to inform them about the incident and offer counseling.
An expert told Fox4kc that it’s important for parents to not leave the responsibility of discussing death with children up to their school though, and to talk to them about how they’re feeling.
Police have confirmed the man died by suicide. His identity has not been released.