Mother of 12-year-old boy who took his own life says he was victim of bullying

Miguel Rodriguez was found dead on Wednesday

SPRING HILL - The mother of the 12-year-old boy who took his own life this week says he was the victim of bullying.

Miguel Rodriguez was found dead at his Spring Hill home on Wednesday. No one knows for sure why he committed suicide, but his mother knows he's been through a lot.

"I can tell you, my son has been bullied ever since middle school," said Miguel's mother Jeanette McCants, during an emotional interview with ABC Action News.

McCants said her son always struggled to accept his height. At four foot eight, he was much shorter than others his age.

"He wanted to be like everybody else and wondered why he wasn't," she said.

She said her son dwelled on it, always checking to see if he grew even an inch.

To Miguel, it seemed growing was the only way to get the bullies off his back.

"The kids would just pick on him because he's short," she said. "They would smack him around on the bus."

According to his family, it was not unusual for him to come home from West Hernando Middle School in tears.

Investigators says no note was left and there's no clear explanation, but McCants tells us she did find a tape recorder in his room shortly after investigators cleared the scene.

The recording may provide some clues.

"He says if you're hearing this, it's because I might be dead," she recalled.

McCants said Miguel is heard asking for help on the tape and also makes a reference to a video game, but it's unclear what it means.

The recording has since been turned over to investigators who are checking out all possibilities, they say, including bullying.

In the last 24 hours, Miguel's family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from his friends and the community devastated over a child gone way too soon.

"My son lived to make other people happy," she said. "He was a good kid."

McCants tells us she did go to the school with her concerns about bullying, and they said they would look into it.

A school spokesman tells ABC Action News there were never any issues that they know of involving Miguel and other students, and they say no one ever went to the office.

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