Terrell students raise questions about classmate's death

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by MARCUS MOORE and JONATHAN BETZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 3:35 PM

TERRELL – The family of a Terrell teenager who died last week still believes she was bullied at school despite a preliminary autopsy report that found no signs of fighting on her body.

Monday morning, people continued to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial in front of Herman Furlough Middle School in 13-year-old Zusette Moreno's memory. Moreno was an eighth grader there. She died three days after being taken to a hospital for unknown medical problem. 

At about 2:30 p.m., a group of protesters outside the school swelled to about 200. Police arrived at 3 p.m. to help control the crowd, which primarily consisted of teens. Protesters marched to the front doors and chanted "We want justice." They prayed together. They lined a sidewalk and chanted in unison.

Some carried poster boards reading "we want justice." Others read "Justice for Zusette" and "no to bullying."  

"People were talking about it all on Friday," said seventh grader Danielle Beatty. "I'm mad and scared," she said of the rumors that began swirling over the weekend.

District officials maintain they are merely that –– rumors. They cite the fact that there is no physical evidence to substantiate the claims that have parents across the district upset.

"Our police department is looking into any and all allegations and rumors of such, but we have no evidence to support that, whatsoever," said district spokesperson Raylen Smith.

Smith said that the district would continue to investigate any allegations or rumors, but that, so far, no bullying has been found. District officials will not confirm or deny the existence of any incidences that occured in the past. 

Zusette's mother, Blanca Primero, told News 8 she filed a police complaint on Saturday. She cited a past incident involving her daughter and several classmates that occured in November. Terrell ISD Police Chief Gary Mork has not responded to requests for a comment on that report.

Monday, concerned parents are expected to gather at the school to meet with administrators about the recent events at 2 p.m.

"It's a great loss, It's one of our kids that goes to the school," said parent Nancy Beatty. "To think that this is how they have to start off their year like this, it's sad."

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com and jbetz@wfaa.com

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