Suicidal Teen Saved by Port Authority Facebook Messages, Officials Say
MANHATTAN — After a teen posted suicidal statements with photos of the George Washington Bridge on his Facebook profile, Port Authority police reached out to him through social media and convinced him to seek help Tuesday, authorities said.
"I am thinking about jumping," the 18-year-old teen, whose identity was not released, posted to his Facebook profile that also featured photos of the bridge, a PAPD spokesman said.
About 1 p.m. Tuesday an alarmed friend contacted authorities, who then reached out to the troubled teen through Facebook offering help, the PAPD said.
Lt. Thomas Michaels, assigned to the bridge, included his cellphone number and urged the teen to call him, the Port Authority said.
Meanwhile, colleague Sgt. Nadine Rhem continued to send offers of assistance, and officers canvassing the bridge were given photos of the teen, the PAPD said.
Police tried pinging his cellphone, but got nowhere because the teen used a prepaid device, a PAPD spokesman said.
But then about 3 p.m., the teen called Michaels while riding a bus in Patterson,N.J., the spokesman said. The two agreed to meet in person, and the teen volunteered to be taken to the hospital for help, he added.
In recent years, the Port Authority has considered innovative ways to deter suicides on the George Washington Bridge, which has long been a magnet for people like Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the bridge in 2010 after being cyberbullied.