Investigators: Seizures, Not Bullying, Killed Delco Boy
Turns out that Bailey O’Neill, the Delco boy who died in March, might have passed from natural causes instead of injuries from a schoolyard fight. His family had attributed O’Neill’s death to bullying, but the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office now says it finds no evidence that any sort of “trauma” produced the boy’s illness.
The death was the result of epileptic seizures, District Attorney Jack Whelan said. He said his office did plan to file juvenile-level simple-assault charges.
Robert O’Neill said he heard that about a week before the fight his son had bullying problems with the boy who allegedly punched him. He said other parents had said their children had had bullying problems at the school.
After he launched an online petition drive, the Phillies agreed to dedicate their May 29 game against the Boston Red Sox to his son’s memory to promote an anti-bullying message.
“There is absolutely no physical finding of trauma and no evidence trauma played a role in the death of Bailey O’Neill,” Whelan told reporters. “Whether you conclude this was bullying or not bullying, I’m not here to address.”
Family members have said that O’Neill was a healthy young boy prior to the incident. According to police sources, he reportedly suffered migraine headaches for several years. Whelan said the filing of the juvenile petition closes the case, barring any additional evidence.
Whelan pointed out that there is no definition of bullying” under Pennsylvania’s criminal statutes. Bailey’s father had no comment, asking reporters: “Please, let me grieve a little bit.”