Family Left Grief-Stricken After 16-Year-Old Dies Suddenly Morning After Celebrating Mom's Birthday


A high school freshman died unexpectedly last week at his home in Alexandria, Virginia.

Yonatan Vazquez Méndez, 16, was found dead in his bedroom May 2, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

The young man’s father told WRC’s Spanish-language sister station, WZDC, that he found his son in his bedroom before school.

“I saw him lying on the floor. I ran and hugged him,” Daniel Vasquez told the news outlet.

The boy’s family had just celebrated his mother’s birthday the night before.

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“I don’t understand what happened to my son because he had a life with many plans for him. I don’t even know what to say because he was a very obedient child,” María Anabel Méndez said of her son’s sudden death.

The Alexandria Times reported there was an EMS call that day for a 16-year-old male in cardiac arrest and bleeding from his nose, but it could not confirm the report concerned the same local teen.

“Alexandria Police Department spokesman Marcel Bassett confirmed that a 16-year-old male city resident died on Tuesday, with the official time of death reported as 7:45 a.m.,” the report said. “The medical examiner has not yet determined the official cause of death and Bassett could not confirm whether this male was Mendez.”

Alexandria police told WRC they were waiting for a medical examiner’s report that should tell them whether the death was drug-related.

The young man’s family did not think he had been experimenting with drugs.

The boy’s mother told the station she had met with a school counselor who told her they had not observed any drug-related issues with Yonatan.

“He told me, ‘Really, I congratulate you for being vigilant because not all mothers are like you,'” she said.

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In a GoFundMe appeal for funeral expenses, the family said, “Yonathan was a son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and most importantly a child of God.

“He dedicated his time and life to Jesus Christ alongside his family and played the guitar in his congregation.

“During his free time he loved spending time with his family watching movies, [playing] video games, while eating pizza and drinking his Starbucks.

“We ask during this difficult time that you pray for our family.”

Peter Balas, principal of Alexandria City High School, sent an email to parents informing them of the teen’s death.

“Yonatan has been part of the Alexandria City Public Schools … family since he was in middle school, and his passing is a sad and tragic loss for his family, friends and our school community,” he wrote.

“He was always respectful and was well liked by his peers. On behalf of the entire Titan community, we send our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.”

Balas offered information to families on grief support.

“Please reach out for help and do not suffer in silence as you mourn or experience grief,” he said.

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.