A New Jersey mother-of-three has described the excruciating pain she has felt since the loss of ‘bullied to death’ teen Adriana Kuch, who saved her daughter from drowning last summer.
Roxanne Gattuso, 57, is the proud mother of triplets – Luciana, Nico and Franco – all 9, and said Adriana, 14, had been like an ‘older sister to them’ while alive.
Adriana’s death rocked the Bayville community, that sits within the Berkeley Township in Ocean County, after the 14-year-old killed herself in her bedroom closet on Feb 3, two days after a video of her being beaten – which left her bloodied, bruised and blacked out – went viral.
In the wake of the devastating loss to the community, footage has resurfaced showing Adriana heroically jumping into a pool to save a child.
Gattuso told DailyMail.com exclusively that the unidentified minor, is her daughter, Luciana, 9, who had ‘swallowed water and nearly drowned’ before the teen ‘without a second thought ripped off her hoodie, jumped into the pool and saved her.’
New Jersey mother-of-three, Roxanne Gattuso, 57, has described the excruciating pain she has felt since the loss of ‘bullied to death’ teen Adriana Kuch, who saved her daughter from drowning last summer
‘It was August, last summer, and Adriana had been over to help me look after the kids,’ Gattuso explained.
Gattuso said all three of her children can swim, but near-tragedy struck last summer, as she went inside to get everyone lemonade.
‘I went inside to get everyone some drinks and while I was there and Adriana was looking after the kids, my daughter, Luciana, had been swimming in the pool,’ she said.
‘Adriana had told me she first thought she was playing, but realized something was wrong, she immediately leapt into action. Without a second thought she ripped off her hoodie, jumped into the pool and saved her.’
The 57-year-old told DailyMail.com that she couldn’t bare the thought of what could have happened to her then 8-year-old daughter, had Adriana not been there.
‘Adriana was like an older sister to them, Luciana said ‘I’m ok mommy, I swallowed water,’ but that could have been another tragic moment,’ she said holding back tears.
Gatusso lives next door to Adriana in Bayville, and explained that she met the 14-year-old when she and her father Michael moved to the neighborhood about six-years-ago.
Gatusso lives next door to Adriana in Bayville, and explained that she met the 14-year-old when she and her father Michael moved to the neighborhood about six-years-ago
In the wake of the devastating loss to the community, footage has resurfaced showing Adriana heroically jumping into a pool to save a child
Gattuso told DailyMail.com exclusively that the unidentified minor, is her daughter, Luciana, 9, who had ‘swallowed water and nearly drowned’ before the teen ‘without a second thought ripped off her hoodie, jumped into the pool and saved her’
The New Jersey mother said that Adriana became like a ‘second daughter’ to her and that she helped teach her kids to ride bikes and was a fixture within her household.
The mother-of-three said Adriana was a key part of her life and explained that she is no stranger to tragedy.
‘I lost my husband suddenly in 2021 and Adriana was a huge help to me while I was grieving his loss,’ she said.
‘I met Adriana when she was about seven or eight when she knocked on my door, my heart broke for her because she had just lost her mother, so when I lost my husband she understood where the kids were coming from and became a huge comfort to me during that time.’
Already grieving the loss of her husband, Gatusso explained that she couldn’t bare to put the children through another death.
‘I can’t bring myself to tell them yet, Adriana was such a huge part of their lives. [After I lost my husband] my kids kept asking ‘who else is going to die mom’ they just adored Adriana so I couldn’t tell them,’ she said.
The full surveillance footage provided to DailyMail.com by Gatusso shows the moment the 14-year-old fearlessly saved her neighbor’s daughter.
In the video footage Luciana is seen jumping into the family pool before disappearing under the water.
Adriana was a fixture at the household and is seen here Christmas last year with the triplets and their bestfriend
The 57-year-old told DailyMail.com that she couldn’t bare the thought of what could have happened to her then 8-year-old daughter, had Adriana not been there
Roxanne Gattuso, 57, is the proud mother of triplets – Luciana, Nico and Franco – all 9, and said Adriana, 14, had been like an ‘older sister to them’ while alive. They’re pictured here with their late father, Frank, who died suddenly Nov 2021
She briefly lifts her head above water as Adriana is seen getting up off the edge of the pool and checking to see how the young girl is doing.
Adriana can be heard asking whether Luciana is ok. Coughing and spluttering, the young girl is seen disappearing into the water again.
The 14-year-old takes off her hoodie, jumps into the pool, and is seen swimming the, then eight-year-old to the safety of the shallow side of the pool.
Luciana can still be heard coughing and spluttering as Adriana carries her out.
‘It’s a huge loss to the community, a huge loss for our family, and I feel like the block is empty now,’ she said.
Adriana was found dead in her home in Bayville on Feb 3, Gatusso, recalled waking up to several police vehicles parked in the cul-de-sac that they both lived.
‘I remember thinking to myself, please let it not be Adriana, please no. Then I called Michael [Adriana’s father] who said she was gone.
‘My heart dropped, I’d already lost my husband and now I’m losing my second daughter.’
The compassionate teen was always helping Gatusso around the house and had taught the triplets to ride bikes after her husband passed away
Adriana is seen playing with the triplets at the beach with a friend and was often seen spending time with them
An ‘insidious and systemic’ issue of bullying has surfaced in the wake of the tragedy – which family say is a direct result of the heartless treatment of their ‘beloved’ Adriana.
A shocking video of Adriana being bullied at Central Regional High School circulated social media just days before she took her own life showing the young New Jersey teen kicked, punched and beaten as she lay in the school hallways in the fetal position.
Four teenage girls who have been accused of the attack against Adriana have been slapped with several charges following the vicious beating.
One girl has been charged with aggravated assault, and could face court as an adult, another with harassment and the two others with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced on Friday said: ‘Each juvenile and their guardian was served with a copy of their complaint and are released pending future court appearances.’
Adriana was found dead in her home in Bayville on Feb 3, Gatusso, recalled waking up to several police vehicles parked in the cul-de-sac that they both lived
Here she is seen with bruises and scratches on her face
She was brutally beaten inside the school (pictured) before she took her own life . The 20-second clip shows several students attacking the teen, hitting her with a water bottle – as she walked with her boyfriend
Adriana’s bruised legs after the attack. Her father said she was mostly ‘humiliated’ by the video, which made her feel like she’d been attacked ‘twice’
The 20-second viral clip shows several students attacking the teen and hitting her with a water bottle as she walked with her boyfriend.
Bystanders are also seen laughing at Adriana after she was punched, kicked and had her hair pulled, while she lay in the fetal position on the floor of the school hallway.
One of the attackers could be heard yelling, ‘That’s what you get you stupid a** b****.’
According to New Jersey law, minors charged with more serious offenses, such as assault, can be tried in adult criminal court.
The decision on whether or not to charge as an adult lies with the prosecutor.
The penalty for a conviction of aggravated assault in New Jersey is anywhere between 18 months and 10 years in prison.
Harassment and conspiracy charges against a minor are less likely to be taken to criminal court.
Adriana’s father Michael told DailyMail.com that the school board were reluctant to expel the bullies because they were fearful of a loss in revenue.
He said: ‘If my daughter is only worth $23,000 a head to them, because they would lose four students, then what is anybody’s kid worth.’
School superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides tried to deflect blame away from his department following the tragedy by blaming her father’s affair for her issues – many are calling for the embattled superintendent to be sacked following the tragic death
This is the email response Parlapanides provided to DailyMail.com when asked what counseling Adriana had been given. He claimed her ‘choices declined’, that her mother committed suicide ‘since her father had an affair’
Central Regional High School in Bayville, New Jersey where Adriana is said to have been bullied and attacked
The office of Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides is pictured, above
Adriana’s family said the teen’s funeral, which was due to take place on Saturday, has now been canceled.
There were no members of Central Regional High School’s faculty present at the visitation on Friday evening, according to Michael.
He told DailyMail.com that his daughter was not suspended in the days leading up to her death but was instead told not to return until her injuries healed – as she may have been subjected to further ridicule.
‘We can’t stop crying this is the last time I’m ever going to see her.
‘It was not supposed to happen we heard it over and over again your child isn’t supposed to go before you.’
School superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides tried to deflect blame away from his department following the tragedy.
‘Her father was having an affair at the end of her 6th grade. Her father married the woman he had an affair with and moved her into the house,’ he exclusively told DailyMail.com in an email.
‘Her grades and choices declined in 7th and 8th grade. We offered her drug rehab and mental services on five occasions but the father refused every time.’
Michael Kuch, (pictured on Friday at his daughter’s visitation) told DailyMail.com Friday that the school’s board were reluctant to expel the bullies because they were fearful of a loss in revenue
Michael Kuch speaking to DailyMail.com outside of his daughter’s visitation
One of the girls involved in the attack posted these heartless messages on Snapchat. Adriana’s father said: ‘It used to be you’d go to school, get bullied and then you left. But now you come home and you keep getting bullied – they still keep picking at you home’
Michael slammed Parlapanides for his comments in the aftermath of his daughter’s death.
‘What’s insensitive is him going on social media and defending his actions and attacking other people,’ he said.
‘The administration needs to be completely shaken up and by shaken up I mean they need to be removed.’
‘I don’t know why he’s been there that long I have no idea why that man still has a job.’
Michael went on to say that he is in discussions with a lawyer regarding the family’s next legal steps.
He also said that attorneys from across the country have been in contact with him.
The suicide has been a linchpin that has called the school board and district Superintendent’s positions into question.
Stories of bullying, racism and sexual assault have emerged following the suicide with hundreds protesting the lack of action from the administration in the region.
Hundreds came together to mourn the loss of Adriana with students and parents congregating outside the school grounds holding signs of protest in what they described to be ‘a shocking lack of sensitivity’ and action from the ‘administration who swore to protect’ them.
Students and parents congregated outside the school grounds holding signs of protest
The students described what they believed to be ‘a shocking lack of sensitivity’ and action from the ‘administration who swore to protect’ them
‘We’re trying to raise awareness because it’s taken her death to bring to light the severity of the bullying going on in central and how their not doing anything at all,’ one protestor said
Luca Canzoneri, 15, spoke to DailyMail.com following another protest organized by students from the Ocean County school.
He said that he was introduced to Adriana through friends and they would sit together at lunch.
The 15-year-old said he’s devastated by the loss and astonished by the lack of action from the school he attends.
‘We’re trying to raise awareness because it’s taken her death to bring to light the severity of the bullying going on in central and how their not doing anything at all,’ he said.
‘The [administration] has been making fun of us for protesting,’ he claimed.
Standing on the school oval, with friends and parents, Luca explained that raising awareness came with risks.
‘The school is suspending people if they protest, there was a protest yesterday with less people than today, but they all got suspended,’ he claimed.
It remains unclear how many children have been suspended following protests which erupted in the wake of Adriana’s suicide.
Some students feel aggrieved by the reaction of school staff following a fellow student’s suicide
The school is said to be suspending people if they protest. It remains unclear how many children have been suspended following protests in the wake of Adriana’s suicide
Danielle Ledesma, 17, said she didn’t know Adriana, however spoke to what some members of the community have called a systemic issue of bullying and lack of action from school staff.
Holding a sign that reads ‘I doubt that’ Danielle told DailyMail.com that it wasn’t the first time the school didn’t take action after a student approached them for help.
‘My sign is the response from the superintendent when my friend said that she got sexually assaulted in Central Regional high school,’ she said.
‘I’ve been severely bullied throughout my entire life,’ she explained talking to the treatment she’s received at the school.
Danielle went on to add that she had ‘been having panic attacks in the school on a daily basis’ because of the way she has been treated.
‘It got to the point where I now have all of these meltdowns, all of these crying fits, panic attacks, whatever it may be more than 5-6 times a day every single time that I have one at the school they do absolutely nothing,’ she said.
‘There was one point where I was telling the teacher to get away from me and they proceeded to pull me down to guidance because I was ‘skipping class’ even though the teacher knew I was out there I told her to kindly leave me alone and she never did she pushed more.
‘We’re all out here losing our voices so Adriana does not lose hers.’
DailyMail.com have been told by several parents, Michael and members of the community that the school will be having a closed meeting on Thursday.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional help and information.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk