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8/21/2013 6:02:00 AM
Service aimed at avoiding repeat of Kingman teen's tragedy
Courtney Everton, who grew up in Kingman and moved to Cottonwood a year ago, committed suicide earlier this month. There will be a memorial service Aug. 31 at Golden Valley Baptist Church. (Courtesy)
Courtney Everton, who grew up in Kingman and moved to Cottonwood a year ago, committed suicide earlier this month. There will be a memorial service Aug. 31 at Golden Valley Baptist Church. (Courtesy)
Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Deborah Harms isn't looking for answers about why her step-granddaughter Courtney Everton killed herself earlier this month.

As far as she can tell, there are none. While the 16-year-old girl led a troubled life, shuffled from foster care to relatives' homes in Colorado and Arizona while her mother served prison time, Everton seemed happy and full of energy on the outside. Only those who knew her well can guess at the 16-year-old's inner turmoil. Everton, who grew up in Kingman and moved to Cottonwood about a year ago to live with one of her sisters, didn't leave a note Aug. 2 detailing the reasons she decided to hang herself. Harms said Everton did confide her plans to a friend, who tried to talk her out of it but didn't share the information until it was too late.

A police investigation later determined there was no foul play surrounding the girl's death.

A memorial for Everton is scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 31 at Golden Valley Baptist Church, 100 S. Higley Road in Golden Valley. Not only will friends and family remember the girl's short life, they will hear about the warning signs of suicide and learn how to provide help to teens or adults who are in crisis. Harms printed the information on Everton's memorial program.

"Courtney had a memorial and viewing in Cottonwood but a lot of people from this area weren't able to make it," said Harms. "I want to help Courtney's friends have closure and educate them about the warning signs of suicide. When someone talks about committing suicide, it isn't a joke. It's a cry for help and it shouldn't be ignored because it can be fatal."

According to Teen Lifeline, a suicide prevention organization in Phoenix, nearly 26,400 teens in Arizona attempt suicide each year. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in Arizona, which ranks ninth in the nation for teen suicides.

Each year since 1985, Arizona has ranked in the top 10 states for teens who have committed suicide.

Suicide warning signs include statements indicating worthlessness or a desire for death, depression or sadness lasting longer than two weeks, sudden and drastic changes in personality, previous suicide attempts, excessive sleeping or grooming, giving away personal belongings that have special meaning and saying a final goodbye to family and friends.

Chelsea Dewitt, 13, whose mother was Everton's sister, said she and Everton were best friends and would spend time together every Sunday after church. Dewitt said that when Everton moved to Colorado several years ago and then to Cottonwood, their communication grew sporadic. But Everton had recently written to say she loved Dewitt very much.

"I was shocked and I cried so much when I found out about Courtney," said Dewitt. "I wish I could have talked to her. I would have told her that everything would be OK. I wish she would have called someone to get help."

Everton had threatened to commit suicide when she lived in Kingman, said Harms, but her foster parents at that time were able to intervene. Harms said Everton played sports in school and was a member of her church youth group, both in Kingman and in Cottonwood.

"If I can prevent one teen suicide through the information presented at Courtney's memorial, then some good will have come out of a tragic situation," said Harms. "I want to do something positive and show others that there are people out there who care and will help. We'll never forget Courtney, but her family and friends are devastated by her death. No one has to feel so hopeless that they commit suicide."

For more information about suicide or for help in dealing with suicidal thoughts, call Teen Lifeline at (800) 248-8336.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Article comment by: Patsy Mymern

To R. And thanks Deborah get real if you read the artical on Amanda Dutton youd aeen she is only 27 way to young to be courtneys mother and yes I have felt this pain before but let me tell you y
There was never a day in courtneys life she didnt have a mother figure sometimes two courtney was never embarrassed her mother was in prison because she new her mom went for trying to support her kids although wrong courtney knew what her mom did was not her as for courtney taking her life let me tell you courtney was heartbroken a love that she couldnt get over losing on top of that your school bullies who she normaly would have fought back at got her at her worst time so I will be at the memorail for anyone whos not embarrassed to speak out because as for R if she is a parent of a teen would miss any signs of trouble thinking it only happens to other people and R you should be ashamed try to down those who love her and are already feeling pain shame on you

Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013
Article comment by: Deborah Harms

@ R, I am not sure where you got your information, but Courtney's mother is NOT Amanda Dutton. Amanda was with Courtney's brother, and while it is true that Courtney's mother is in prison, she has had many, many mother figures in her life. This has been a severe tragedy for all involved, and before you decide to tell everyone "why" she killed herself, research the FACTS. There are just as many teenagers in two parent families that commit suicide, as in broken families. Courtney had so many people that loved her and cared for her, as well as being there for her. And it was so nice that you chose to hide your name while your were giving out you uncaring, untrue information. It is so sad that in this day and age, people are allowed to spout c*** about someone they obviously didn't know her at all. Courtney was a beautiful, loving, friendly, outgoing girl and she will be missed dearly by all that truely knew and loved her <3

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013
Article comment by: Hope this helps! <3

For those mourning the loss of a loved one through suicide in Kingman, there is a wonderful group called Heartbeat that meets the second Tuesday of every month from Oct-April dedicated specifically to survivors of suicide. It is put on by a couple from Havasu. As someone who lost a best friend to suicide- I urge you to go to these meetings because you will not only find peace but you will make some new wonderful friends who also understand your situation. My heart is with you all. Here is the info:

First Southern Baptist Mountain Church
3120 Hualapai Road
Kingman, AZ
Entrance on south side of building
Contact: Dan or Judy Hoppes
(928) 854.0113 or (928) 208-0129
Meetings/Month: 2nd Tuesday, 7:00 - 8:30PM, October-April

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

This is not applicable in all situations and I don't want to ever seem dismissive to anyone who has lost a child in their lifetime.
First of all, my deepest heartfelt sympathy to Courtney's family and to all of you who have experienced such loss.

In light of the Martin/Zimmerman case and now the one in Oklahoma involving Chris Lane, The conversation is Finally turning to family struggles and the breakdown of the family unit.
I worked as a CASA for approximately two years. During that time my case I handled was so similar to Courtney's. I thank God still that mine turned out well even though there is so very much emotion expended in achieving the good outcome and by all involved.
After this case was rested I chose not to continue my CASA work having had young grandchildren and caring for them while Mom worked but, I will forever remember the two I helped find a wonderful home for and I pray to this day they have grown into young beautiful women from within and have good lives. So much to say, too limited in word count.
I pray God Bless you all!

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: R .

@ Patsy Mymern

I know you've experienced this loss first hand and I know every situation is different. However, the big problem here is that her mother is Amanda Dutton who, as the article states, served time in prison for a portion of her life. Her mother is currently on the run as mentioned in the "Street Sweeper" sting operation. Her mothers absence has been an extreme source of grief and embarrassment for Courtney. The point is, without a parent (and particularly a mother, for girls) to provide guidance, caring, comfort and support, these kids are lost. Parents need to grow up and become responsible so they can give their children the lives that they deserve...children didn't ask you to bring them into this world!

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Leah & Rob Dix

Anyone wanting to help please join is in the fight to help Kingman teens, and those across the globe. We lost our son a short 6 months ago to suicide and have started a group called anti bully action. Please find us on facebook and anyone that wants to help please please reach out to us so we can team up and do something good. thank you STAND UP SPEAK OUT!!!

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: patsy mymern

I wrote this big comment on courtney but instead want to say this theirs alot of us in kingman alone that has lost young ones to teen suicide we need to start with we need to teach our kids a buddy system and tell our kids even before you think about suicide have a friend you can talk to when things are going bad and in our schools at the begging of the year bring loved ones in that have lost someone tell the kids what its like and everyone should study up on bipolar and let our kids know its not a bad thing cause believe it or not bipolar is the number one cause of suicide even in our young just no one wants to believe this and this needs awareness big time.

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