Human remains found Saturday behind Arbor Place mall by Douglasville police are suspected to be that of Yaron Kathuri, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Kathuri’s family said the 17-year-old went missing last month after experiencing a mental health crisis. Investigators began their search after finding his car abandoned at the mall.
Three weeks ago was the end of National Suicide Prevention Month. It was also when Kathuri vanished, Sept 28., per the report. His family told reporters he had been experiencing anxiety and depression over the summer which affected his studies. He searched online for help and decided he wanted medical treatment, they said. However, his family told Channel 2 Action News the mental health facility turned him away because it was at capacity.
“I would say if he was admitted — because he was really adamant about getting medication — that maybe could have calmed down his fears about what he was going through,” said his mother, Vera Kathuri. Yaron’s father, Andrew Kathuri, was in disbelief hearing his son was found dead.
More on the case from 11Alive News:
Yaron’s family, fellow church members and friends had pooled their resources and hired a private investigator to help look for him. The investigator began by searching the last place Yaron’s phone was pinged, on a cell tower near the mall parking lot, where Yaron’s car had been found—parked in the back, next to Dillard’s and Macy’s. Douglasville police had already searched that area, Andrew said, but the investigator wanted to take one more look.
The investigator walked into the thick woods behind the mall, woods so thick he could barely work his way in, and he had trouble keeping his balance on the steep terrain high above the reservoir. Then, Andrew said, the investigator found a “concrete structure” about 50-feet tall, near the reservoir; the investigator climbed on top of it and looked inside, and found Yaron’s body at the bottom.
Yaron’s cause of death is currently under investigation, the report says. The night before he vanished, his parents told 11Alive they tried to reassure him as much as they could.
“I told him, ‘God has a plan for your life and he always has a good plan for you.’ I woke him up at seven the next morning and I prayed with him and held his hands, and prayed with him. And then he got ready to go to school,” said Vera Kathuri.
It takes tremendous courage to seek help for mental illness. I look up to Yaron because I was afraid to ask for help when I had my mental crisis at 15. It’s easy to feel like a burden. My parents gave me the same talks, prayed the same prayers and the mental facilities turned me away too. When I finally received treatment for my mental illness, it was like the sun finally came out after I spent months in the dark. Though, the journey was far from easy.
If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255