Parents of Matt Touma speak out following his tragic, unexpected death

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The students at Centennial High School are mourning the loss of four of their classmates.

Last week, three of the students were killed in a car crash by an alleged DUI driver in Huntington Beach, California, and another student who died by suicide.

Dylan Mack, A.J. Rossi, and Brooke Hawley were killed in the Huntington Beach wreck.  Matt Touma, 16 took his own life at his home  Both tragedies happened early Thursday morning.

On Tuesday night, the school will hold a vigil on the football field for the lives lost.

Centennial’s Student Council organized the vigil for the school and the public.

When the kids returned from Spring break Tuesday, counselors were were on hand to speak with students.

Karen Wall with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says suicide statistics are high in Nevada. 

“Unfortunately,  sometimes we don’t know what’s going on if we don’t see the warning signs or people don’t recognize that those are warning signs then we may not target it,” Wall said.

According to Wall, signs of suicide can start with changes in behavior, moods, and conversation.

Matt’s family is still having a hard time understanding the loss.

“I can’t believe, can’t believe this happened; that our Mathew would do this,” said Bob Touma, Matt’s father.

People who knew him say Matt was known to be a very loving, smart and charismatic young man.

“He was a great kid; everyone says it,” Bob Touma said.  “I mean I love my son dearly; he was my best friend.”

“As a mom, you know all, I keep on saying was ‘how come there wasn’t some kind of instinct that hit me that I needed to go to him,” said Kathy Touma, Matt’s mother. 

Matt’s parents also said he was funny and got along with everyone.  They said they did everything together as a family, from dinners to church and vacation.

They felt they were the perfect family. 

“I literally looked forward to every day seeing him come down the stairs, seeing him at the kitchen table having breakfast that his mother made when I came in after working out,” Bob Touma said.  “He was my life.”

“I’m numb; I’m sad you know,” Kathy Touma asked?  “He’s my baby.”

According to Matt’s parents, speaking about suicide was not a taboo in their family.

“We’ve had open discussions with both of our children,” Kathy Touma said. “It’s a really hard thing to do but when you have kids you just have to.”

“Parents need to listen to their children, bob Touma said. “They need to talk to their children, not just a ‘hi how are you doing,’ they need to be with their children and live with them.”

Karen wall with the American Foundation for suicide prevention says suicide statistics are high in Nevada.  Eight teens have taken their lives in Clark County so far this year. 

“It’s really important for people to know that they can go ahead and ask somebody are you thinking about dying by suicide,” Wall said.

Students, teachers and other staff are still stunned about the lives lost too soon.

“It’s been really tough,” said Trent Day, principal at Centennial High School.  “To see these families lose a child; as a principal and as a parent, there’s nothing worse that could possibly happen.  The circle of life isn’t supposed to work that way.” 

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