Missing student’s parents claim bullying played a role in his disappearance
A Seton Hall student missing since his disappearance on Dec. 13, 2015, reportedly wrote a six page suicide letter where he stated that he “feels inadequate with amazing people.”
Ninia Fernandez, the mother of John Fernandez, a 22-year-old senior accounting major at the University, recently told the FilAm, a Filipino-American website, that her son had experienced bullying in high school.
Fernandez’s mother told the FilAm that when her son was attending Middletown High School North in Middletown, N.J., he would come home from school with his shirt torn and spat on.
Nancy Schaefer, founder of Missing in America, who is helping the family look for Fernandez, stated in a Patch.com article that he also had issues with bullying in middle school and even at Seton Hall, where he was set to graduate from the Stillman School of Business in May 2016.
Ninia Fernandez told Patch. com that her son was having “an identity crisis” and that he felt isolated and alone.
On the day that Fernandez went missing, his cell phone was found neatly placed in a plastic Ziploc bag on the side of Route 36 in Hazlet.
Previously reported in The Setonian, police searched for Fernandez around Natco Lake and the surrounding woods after finding his cell phone. They utilized police ATVs, a K9 unit, a search helicopter, and a dive team to try to find him.
Fernandez’s mother told the FilAm that her son “left everything behind” and would “end his life in a high place somewhere in the woods”. Other than his cellphone and a note, the police did not find other personal effects during their search.
Schaefer leads the volunteer search group Central N.J. Search and Recovery Rapid Response Team and has been assisting the Fernandez family because she has a “personal experience with suicide” she told Patch.com.
Schaefer’s group has conducted more than 30 searches for Fernandez and is offering a $500 reward to anyone with information that leads authorities to him.
Ashley Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.