California teen, 15, may have committed suicide over stay-at-home order

Jo'Vianni 'Jo' Smith, a star athlete, left no note behind

A talented California softball player has become a tragic victim of the coronavirus epidemic but she didn’t die of the virus. Jo’Vianni “Jo” Smith, 15, instead succumbed to the fear, stress, and uncertainty that the virus has wrought.

Her mother says she died by suicide, despite showing no warning signs.

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The talented athlete also starred in track and field and basketball, reports Extra Inning Softball, one of the first to report the story.

Her Smith’s mother, Danielle Hunt, told Sacramento’s Fox 40: “We can’t think that our kids are OK just because … I felt that I was doing all that I could as a parent to leave the communication open.”

Smith played both catcher and second baseman for Northern California’s Easton Preps travel team. Her former coach, Bill Fletcher, was devastated and shared his feelings on the softball forum, Fastpitch.

I received some devastating news at midnight last night from a mom of a player who played for me in the fall and made a decision to play for a team closer to her home for the summer. Mom simply said Jo passed away yesterday and didn’t know if I had heard yet but wanted me to know. I was devastated.

She was 15 years old.
Her name is Jo’Vianni “Jo”  Smith
Jo was a great athlete.
She excelled at softball, basketball and track.

She had blazing speed. Jo was a bright star with a great personality and a huge heart. and a bright future.

She loved Softball.

Smith’s team has set up a GoFundMe to help with memorial expenses. Hunt is a single mother with a catering business, according to Fletcher, which means she’s likely having some financial challenges given the lack of work in that sector. However, anything raised after the $18,000 goal which has almost been reached will be used to establish a college scholarship for a female athlete.

The Lodi school district released a statement sharing their condolences.

We were deeply saddened to learn of Jo’vianni Smith’s passing. Jo’vianni was well loved by the Bear Creek High community. She participated in band, played basketball and softball, and was known for her joyful spirit on campus.

She will be dearly missed by those who knew her. Our hearts go out to the students, families, and staff impacted by this tragedy. We are providing remote counseling and bereavement services to those who need support right now.

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Hunt further told Fox 40 that she will continue to tell her daughter’s story and encourage other parents to be mindful of their children’s emotional states as the pandemic goes on.

“Sometimes we may need to stop and worry about the kids that we don’t think we need to worry about,” Hunt said.

If you are in need of help or believe someone else is you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also use their chat option.