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UPDATE: Vigil at 7 Tonight for One of Johnston Teens Who Took Their Lives; Funeral Arrangements Set

A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for one of the two Johnston students who committed suicide over the weekend. Officials said there is no apparent link in the deaths. Information about visitation and funeral services for the teens was announced.

The Johnston community is grappling with the suicides of two students over the weekend.

Two 15-year-old boys, one a Johnston High School student and one a Johnston Middle School student, died in unrelated cases, authorities said. Cameron Carico, a ninth-grader, died Saturday morning, while Spenser Nelson, a 10th-grader, died on Sunday night.

How can the Johnston community cope with these deaths? Share your thoughts below in comments.

There were plenty of tears at Johnston Middle School on Monday after a weekend of tragedy. 

"The teachers talked to us in the morning," said Savannah Boyle, an eighth-grader at Johnston Middle School. "The teachers were crying, too."

Students at the middle school, where 15-year-old Cameron was a freshman, wore red to remember their friend.

"There was red everywhere you looked," Savannah said. "It was for Cameron and Spenser."

Johanna Miller, an eighth-grader, said she didn't know either boy but that all students were touched by the tragedy.

"There was a lot of red," she said. "The teachers were careful when they talked to us. There were still a lot of kids at school."

Savannah and Syndey Boyle, both eighth-graders, said they knew Cameron.

"He always seemed happy," Savannah said. "He was nice to everyone."

Sydney said he would have been a great principal, something he had shared at one point.

"He was always nice," she said. "You couldn't tell there was something wrong."

More than 300 students, community members and strangers have offered support and memories of Cameron on a facebook page.

The page said students would wear red to school on Monday in honor of Cameron's love for Iowa State University.

A similar page in memory of Spenser has nearly 100 members as of Monday afternoon.

Services Set for Teens Who Died

The families of both boys have announced visitation and funeral arrangements.

A visitation for Cameron Carico will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Oakwood United Methodist Church, 440 N.E. 56th St. in Pleasant Hill.

Funeral services for Cameron will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Oakwood Methodist Church.

The visitation for Spenser Nelson will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Johnston Evangelical Free Church, 9901 N.W. 62nd Ave.

Funeral services for Spenser will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at Johnston Evangelical Free Church.

In a news release from the school district, students planning to attend the services were asked to notify the school office to arrange for their absence.

"This is a very difficult time for all of us, but especially the Carico and Nelson families," Superintendent Clay Guthmiller said in the release. "I want to thank you for your support and encouragement as we move forward together as a school community."

Johnston Police said that autopsy results by the Polk County Medical Examiner showed that both deaths were suicides.

Police Release Information on Deaths

Police went to the 5700 block of Northwest 92nd Street at about 8:05 a.m. Saturday on a medical call, according to a news release. Authorities at the scene identified a victim, Cameron Mark Carico, 15, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The second incident occurred at approximately 6:44 p.m. Sunday when Johnston police were sent to the 8100 block of Hardwicke Drive on a medical call involving a 15-year-old resident there identified as Spenser Nels Nelson, police said. Nelson was taken to Blank Children’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Cameron was a freshman at Johnston Middle School and Spenser was a sophomore at Johnston High School, the police news release said.

Cameron was the son of Brian and Dawn Carico and brother of Kate, a seventh-grader at Summit Middle School, according to a statement from Guthmiller emailed to parents. Brian Carico is the principal at Johnston Middle School and Dawn Carico is a reading teacher at Horizon Elementary.

Spenser was the son of Tammy and Curt Nelson. Tammy is the secretary for Gary Ross, athletic director of Johnston Schools.

Ross declined to comment Monday.

Teachers read a statement Monday morning informing students of Cameron and Spenser’s deaths, Guthmiller said.

"We're still actively involved in investigating the deaths," said Lt. Lynn Aswegan with the Johnston Police Department. "At this point, we've done extensive interviews; nothing to link the two to show a connection. Other than them being Johnston students, we have no connection in cause of death, association, friendship, circle of friends, nothing links the two."

School officials said counselors were available to students.

Tonight's Johnston's Got Talent event has been postponed due to the events. A later date for the event will be announced.

Vigil Set for Tonight

A candlelight vigil for Cameron is planned for 7 tonight at Oakwood Methodist Church, 400 N.E. 56th St. in Pleasant Hill, according to a Facebook page set up in his memory.

According to a Facebook page set up in memory of Spenser, a candle-lighting ceremony in his name will be held next week, at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Hanes Park in Altoona.

Click here to find a list of warning signs for troubled teens and how to get help for Johnston students.

Continue to check Johnston Patch for any updates and to share memories of the teens.

LEYLA February 02, 2012 at 06:53 PM
why did those boys die for thats really said and they can rest in peace

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