KINGMAN - Patsy Mymern used the last of her money to bring her family to Kingman two weeks ago for a new start. Now she's trying to find a way to return her son's body to Colorado for their friends and family to say goodbye.
Dakota Mymern, 15, died Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Miner does not ordinarily cover suicides, but Patsy said she wanted other teens to know how impulsive acts can have devastating consequences. She said her son had anger management issues that were compounded by a domestic violence incident involving his parents a decade ago.
Dakota was the youngest of six siblings. He was four when his dad, James Mymern, was arrested for shooting Patsy several times in a Kingman parking lot. James subsequently hung himself in 2002 while incarcerated at the Mohave County Jail.
Patsy said Dakota harbored anger at his father. As he got older his anger grew, and Patsy was forced to home school her son because he didn't get along with other kids.
His sister Jamie, 22, said Dakota preferred electronic gadgets like computers and cell phones. He didn't use them to play games, she said. Instead, he constantly tinkered with parts and pieces to improve and upgrade the machines to have more memory and faster speeds.
"Nothing was a challenge for him," Jamie Mymern said.
Patsy said Dakota had the mind of a stubborn engineer.
"Don't tell him he couldn't do it because he's spend the next six months trying to do it," she said. "And he would."
Patsy said her son's moods were different than that of a typical brooding teen.
"He could be in a really good mood and five minutes later he could be in the worse mood ever," she said. "He hated it. He couldn't handle how mean he was to everyone when he was like that."
Patsy said Dakota appeared fine the day of his death. He played with his niece, almost 2, and set up a new stereo. But Patsy said Dakota woke up in the middle of the night in a bad mood and they argued.
She left for a long drive and said she and Dakota exchanged several text messages before she returned to the home in the 3800 block of N. Evans Street around 4:15 a.m.
Patsy was still seated in the driver's seat of the car when Dakota came out and removed a handgun from the glove box area. Patsy said she thought the gun was in the house and was unaware her son had put it in the car.
She said she believes Dakota, who was standing outside the car, only meant to shoot the gun in the air.
She said she saw a look of what appeared to be surprise and shock on his face when he realized he had shot himself.
Patsy called 911. She then cradled her son in her arms as she told him how much she loved him.
"All I could do was hope that he heard me," she said.
Patsy used her 2002 Trailblazer as a down payment on a house she planned to share with Dakota and her four grandchildren that she had recently gained custody of.
The grandchildren were the reason for the return to Kingman, and Patsy said Dakota was looking forward to helping. She also struggled before coming to Kingman with her car and purse being stolen.
Now she finds herself scrambling to cover the costs of returning her son's body to Colorado, where all of their friends and family live.
Family members have arranged a fundraising car wash this Saturday at the Taco Bell on Stockton Hill Road.
An account at BBVA Compass Bank has also been set up under account number 2507222547 for donations.
Patsy said her son's Facebook page shows how much his friends relied on him for support. She now wonders if he could have used someone to talk to himself.
"He helped anyone who needed help," she said. "He was a shoulder for everyone to lean on."
Suicide was the fifth-leading cause of death for men and the 12th-leading cause of death for women in 2010 in Arizona, according to the Department of Health Services.
Mohave County ranked third in the state - behind Apache and Navajo counties - for the number of suicides in 2010.
Mohave County's suicide rate was 27.3 per 100,000 people, nearly double the statewide average of 16.7.
Kingman Aid to Abused People is a local agency dedicated to providing help for people in crisis. They operate a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and for those considering suicide.
The hotline number is (928) 753-4242.
Mohave Mental Health also offers services and operates a crisis line, which can be reached by calling (928) 757-8111.