19-year-old hospitalized after bullying incident in Georgia
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. () – Hundreds of people showed up at a vigil on Monday night in front of the Brunswick hospital in Glynn County, Georgia, where 19-year-old Trent Lehrkamp is recovering after an apparent bullying incident left him in the ICU last week.
Lehrkamp has been in the hospital for over a week, having been dropped off by three people he called friends last Tuesday. The teen was found to be heavily intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of .464, or more than five times the legal limit in Georgia, police said.
Upon arrival, the teen was only taking six breaths per minute, and needed to be placed on a ventilator. He was also covered in spray paint and urine, according to a police report from the Glynn County Police Department.
The three teens who dropped Lehrkamp off left their names on a piece of paper and left in a white Jeep.
Lehrkamp’s father, Mark Lehrkamp, told Glynn County Police officers about two other attacks on his son, including one just a week prior, when Mark Lehrkamp said his son came home covered in WD-40, vomit, glue, egg yolk, and paint.
The father said his son was in the emergency room a week before that to get stitches.
While the report redacted the teenagers’ names, it makes clear that all three are related to the same group, which Lehrkamp considered his “only friends.”
Nexstar’s learned at least one of the attacks on Lehrkamp happened at a St. Simons Island home belonging to the owners of a local hardware shop. On Monday, a person who answered the phone at that business declined to comment on the incident before hanging up.
In the police incident report, Lehrkamp’s father repeatedly talked about his son going to someone’s home, telling police, “he never returns home normal.” Mark Lehrkamp told the officers he had to ping his son’s phone to find his location — and saw it pinging from the St. Simons Island home. He told police he had also taken pictures and videos of Lehrkamp’s condition after he returned.
In the quiet island neighborhood where Lehrkamp lives, his next-door neighbor Anne Dekle is furious. During an interview with on Monday, she questioned how anyone who heard what happened to Lehrkamp could call it hazing.
“Attempted murder, at least torture. He was unconscious, and these barbarians that did this to him dropped him off at the ER. At least they did that,” Dekle said.
Dekle also told stories of her interactions with Lehrkamp, going back to middle school when he would knock on her door for fundraisers.
“He would always give a hug,” Dekle said. “He would always stop and speak.”
Glynn County Police have yet to charge anyone in Trent Lehrkamp’s case, but are now facing questions from locals as well as concerned people across the country.
Devin Rafus, a legal expert who commented on the incident for , says it would be difficult to police to bring hazing charges in this case.
“It sounds like he was taken advantage of. It doesn’t sound like to me that this was necessarily a hazing case,” Rafus said, adding that the teenagers involved could likely be charged as adults, mentioning aggravating factors.
Meanwhile, Glynn County Schools released a statement saying the district is “aware of the allegations of an off-campus incident that involved several of our former and current students.”
The statement continued, in part: “We understand the significant community concern and interest in this situation, and will continue to work diligently to provide an atmosphere where students feel safe, comfortable and ready to learn.”
Another friend of Lehrkamp’s told First Coast News on Tuesday that Lehrkamp had finally been moved from the ICU, but remained hospitalized.
Outside of the Brunswick medical facility, concerned citizens held a prayer vigil for Lehrkamp. It was a touching showing for the community, who was still reeling from the emotions left behind by what was widely considered law enforcement inaction in the Ahmaud Arbery case.
The woman who organized the prayer rally vowed not to let it take 74 days for an arrest in Lehrkamp’s case.
“I feel like because we have been here before, we already kinda knew what police department was involved,” community activist Theawanza Brooks told . “It’s been over a week and no arrests have been made. I’m glad the community has come together once again to stand up for what is right.”
Interim Chief O’Neal Jackson encourages anyone with more information on the incident to come forward or contact the Glynn County Police Department. Police say those with information may also call Silent Witness at 912-264-1333 or email them at email@example.com.
As Lehrkamp’s story continues to receive national attention, a GoFundMe set up on his behalf has raised over $88,000 as of Wednesday morning.