KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The family of a 13-year-old who took his life after falling into the hands of bullying held a vigil to remember him.
Kaine Breeden's family says they never saw this coming, and are learning now, too late, what he was going through.
Now they're speaking out, hoping to form a foundation in Kaine's name to put a stop to childhood bullying.
Breeden was a seventh grader at Northwest Elementary School in Knox County.
Every day when he got home, his aunt says they would ask how his day was. Breeden smiled and said great.
But days after he was found dead in his grandfather's house, friends tell his family that he was bullied.
"Devastating. It's just like it isn't real, it's hard to believe," said Lisa Napier, his aunt.
Kaine Breeden was like any 13 year-old: he loved playing video games, dodgeball, and jumping on the trampoline.
His aunt Lisa Napier saw him smiling on Monday night, just like every night. But on Tuesday morning, his grandfather found his body.
"If we knew anything, maybe we could've helped him. Whatever he was going through," said Napier.
His friends say what he was going through, was an all-too-common cruelty of childhood: bullying.
"His clothes, his shoes, the way his teeth were," said Napier. "Nobody's perfect. But to us, he was."
"It's absolutely tragic. We're talking about a 13 year-old, a child, so to all of us it's just horrible," said Kim Cantrell, a family friend.
His death impacted the whole community. A nearby gas station set up a donation box to help pay for his funeral.
Napier wants to make sure parents talk with their children about bullying. Even though it won't save Kaine, she hopes their story can help other families.
"If you're being bullied, please talk to somebody. I mean, don't let this happen to somebody else," said Napier.
We asked Knox County Schools about Breeden, but they couldn't comment because of privacy issues.
Kaine's family says his cell phone could answer some questions, but police took it as part of the investigation.
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