In a rare step, authorities today rebutted widespread rumors that bullying had precipitated the death of a Gloucester middle school student, who was fatally struck by a commuter rail train on Monday.
"At this stage of the intensive, ongoing investigation, the evidence does not reflect that bullying or any other unlawful behavior by anyone else was the cause of this young boy's death," said Steve O'Connell, a spokesman for the Essex County district attorney's office, which is investigating the boy's death.
Michael Grzybinski, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at the Ralph B. O'Maley Middle School, was killed by a northbound commuter train in the area of Babson Reservoir around 6:30 p.m. His mother had reported him missing about two hours earlier.
Investigators have not formally ruled the death a suicide, but say they do not suspect foul play.
A number of Gloucester residents today said that they heard other teenagers had harassed Grzybinski in recent weeks, and some railed against his alleged tormentors on a Facebook page established in Grzybinski's memory.
In response to numerous media inquiries about the reports, authorities announced that the investigation had so far not identified bullying as a culprit.
Public attention has focused on bullying since a South Hadley teenager, Phoebe Prince, took her own life in January after she was hounded by several students, who now face criminal charges.
The city's public schools are closed this week, but grief counselors this morning visited the middle school to assist students.
Police said they would be strictly enforcing trespassing laws around the tracks.
On the beat
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