Boy told school he was being bullied days before he was killed, say family

Aunt and uncle of Diego Stolz, 13, launch $100m lawsuit over ‘preventable’ death

Peter Stubley
Wednesday 30 October 2019 13:12 GMT
The aunt and uncle of Diego Stolz appear at a press conference with family members and attorney David Ring
The aunt and uncle of Diego Stolz appear at a press conference with family members and attorney David Ring (AP)

A 13-year-old schoolboy who died after being punched by two fellow students had complained to staff days earlier that he was being bullied, his family has claimed.

Diego Stolz was knocked to the ground during the attack – which was filmed on a mobile phone - at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley, California.

Two boys, both also 13, were charged with manslaughter following his death in hospital nine days later.

Diego’s aunt and uncle, Juana and Felipe Salcedo, have now filed a claim for damages of $100m against the Moreno Valley Unified School District.

The claim states that Diego and an adult cousin met with the assistant principal at Landmark Middle School on 13 September after he was targeted by bullies.

He said he had been punched in the chest the previous day and threatened with more violence.

Diego was told that the bullies would be suspended for three days from Monday, but when he returned to school after the weekend they launched the fatal assault, according to the claim.

The footage, which was posted on Facebook, shows Diego standing talking to a boy who suddenly turns and punches him in the face. He is then hit in the face by another youth and falls to the ground against a pillar before being hit again by the first boy.

Diego never regained consciousness and died on 25 September.

His family are “devastated”, the Salcedos’ attorney David Ring told a press conference. “They lost their 13-year-old son for no reason. It was totally preventable, and they’re really having a difficult time coming to grasp that.

“Essentially, the assistant principal, she blew it off... she made a promise she didn’t keep, and it cost this kid his life.”

Earlier this month two girls were arrested at another school in the same district after allegedly assaulting another student during lunch.

A spokeswoman for Moreno Valley Unified said the district doesn’t believe it is liable for Stolz’s death but declined to comment on the case.

“To be clear, there is no place for bullying in our schools and acts of violence will not be tolerated,” Anahi Velasco added.

The two boys facing manslaughter charges are due to appear in juvenile court on Friday. They deny the allegations.

Additional reporting on Associated Press

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in