Students on the way to school glimpse body

A 25-year-old man apparently had hanged himself near North Medford High School

Students on their way to school early Thursday morning saw the body of a 25-year-old man who apparently had hanged himself from a tree across the street from North Medford High School.

Medford police got a call at 6:58 a.m. and immediately removed the body from the tree, which was behind the Girl Scout Service Center on North Keene Way Drive.

Medford Police Sgt. Tom Ianieri said the death appeared to have been a suicide.

The medical examiner arrived at 7:15 a.m., and the body was removed at about 7:20 a.m., he said.

Ianieri said he did not think any students saw the body. But a Kennedy Elementary School monitor overheard several students discussing it in the cafeteria and immediately contacted Principal Tom Ettel.

Ettel said three or four students, third-grade and older, who were walking to school and several students on Bus 34 said they had seen the body.

Students who seemed upset were referred to either Jen Brown, a student success specialist, or Kelli Schlapfer, a behavior support specialist. The school also sent notes home with all the students explaining the situation.

Ettel estimated there were 60 children on the bus, but he did not know how many students actually saw the body.

"We didn't know who saw what or whether they had heard it third- or fourth-hand," he said.

Superintendent Phil Long said several North Medford High School students also reported seeing the scene on their way to school.

"That's a distressing thing to see," he said. "If we see a student who is upset, we want to get them to an adult or counselor they can talk to and involve a parent."

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or Follow her at

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