Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez: Bullied NJ girl, 11, dies by suicide in school bathroom a week after her cop father dies of cancer
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
BURLINGTON, NEW JERSEY: On February 6, an 11-year-old New Jersey girl named Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez died by suicide in her school bathroom, just days after her father's death from pancreatic cancer. Felicia's father, Alexis Melendez, worked as a detective with the New Jersey Transit Police department. Around the same time, her mother Elaina LoAlbo said Felicia had emailed school officials that she and her friends were being bullied.
According to a report, Felicia was found unresponsive inside a bathroom stall by another student at around 1 pm at F W Holbein School in Mount Holly. The student was taken by an ambulance to a local hospital and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she was pronounced dead on February 8, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
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Felicia's emails to the school administration about bullying were not answered
An autopsy performed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Felicia died by suicide. “An investigation into the student’s death by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, which included a review of the school’s surveillance cameras, determined that she was alone in the restroom when this tragic action occurred,” NJ reported.
According to her mother, Elaina LoAlbo, Felicia had written numerous emails to the school administration detailing the bullying events that she and her friends encountered. However, no one was ever questioned. “They have swept under the rug the bullying that she and so many other children in that school have encountered, and now they’re doing the same with this investigation,” said LoAlbo.
Felicia suggested that the school launch a 'trauma club'
A month before her death, Felicia suggested that the school launch a “trauma club” in an email to officials. The club would be a safe space where students could discuss stressors. “I for one have heard from my friends and others about things that have happened to them, and I think this would be a fantastic thing,” Felicia wrote on Facebook.
'Never, ever… be a bully': Voice note from 2021
In a tribute to her daughter on February 24, LoAlbo stated, “Felicia was a bright light who touched so many people - she was an old soul, wise beyond her short 11 years. Unfortunately, Felicia’s happy-go-lucky attitude was not enough to battle the relentless bullying she was fighting within the walls of our school.” Felicia's mother also shared a chilling voice message Felicia left in 2021. In the message, Felicia said, "Say hello to future Mom, future Dad…future everyone. Never, never, never be bad, never give up on your friends, never, ever… be a bully."
'She deserves a full accounting and she deserves the truth'
During a March 15 school board meeting, Seth Turner said his daughter was a close friend of Felicia and that before her death, “my daughter confided in me that other members of her class were bullying Felicia. I failed to convey this information to any teachers or staff in time for anything to be done, and I need to apologize for this.”
“While no response to the death of an 11-year-old girl can ever be truly adequate, our response to this tragedy so far has been pathetic. Felicia deserves better. She deserves a full investigation, she deserves a full accounting and she deserves the truth - and I hope that we can give it to her,” Turner added, according to NJ 101.5. A Change.org petition launched by her mother calls for the release of surveillance videos near the bathroom where Felicia was found.