A 17-year-old Laughlin High School student was found dead near Harrah’s Laughlin hotel-casino Tuesday evening after walking out of an exam that morning.
Anthony Stearns, of Laughlin, reportedly showed up to school early Tuesday and attended his first-period class, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. He later died by suicide with a gunshot wound to the head, the Clark County coroner’s office said Thursday.
Stearns was last seen about 8:30 a.m., after one of Stearns’ teachers had passed out a class exam, police said. The teen answered one question, turned in his test, walked out of the room and left school grounds.
It’s not clear what action the school took at that time. The teen never came home.
“The school and the school district is working with Metro on their investigation into this matter,” Clark County School District spokesman David Roddy said Thursday.
About 4 p.m., a school employee filed a missing person report with Metro at the school and in the presence of the teen’s parents, police said. Officers notified all surrounding agencies about Stearns’ disappearance, adding that the teen was considered “endangered.”
About 7:30 p.m., a hotel guest at Harrah’s Laughlin, 2900 S. Casino Drive, alerted security after spotting a person lying on the ground in a nearby parking lot, possibly armed and in need of medical attention. The person, who died, was later identified as Stearns.
Stearns was a senior at the high school, the school district confirmed Thursday. He was voted homecoming prince last year and ran on the school’s track and field team. He was also involved with his church, a relative said.
“It is with deep sympathy that I inform you of the passing of one of our students,” read a letter sent to Laughlin High School parents Wednesday. “It is never easy to lose a valuable life, especially at such a young age. This student will always be remembered as a part of our school family, and our staff and students will miss him.”
Grief counselors were on campus Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are monitoring our students to ensure they have the support and resources they need to get through this difficult time,” the letter read.
Contact Rachel Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.
Warning signs of suicide
Signs of suicide can include changes in conversation, behavior and mood, according to the American Association of Suicidology. If a person talks about being a burden to others and feeling trapped; if a person starts acting recklessly or withdrawing from friends, family and activities; if a person starts experiencing rage, anxiety, or a loss of interest — among other factors — reach out to the person or seek help.
For more information, visit www.suicidology.org/resources/warning-signs. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
2900 S. Casino Drive, Laughlin, NV