There is a nationwide manhunt for a 16 year old teenage boy who police officials consider a suspect in the deaths of both his mother and his younger brother, who was 9. Officials investigated the home of Adrian Navarro Canales after he failed to show up for work and his younger brother, Cesar Navarro, missed school.
As police entered the apartment they smelled a strong odor and soon found the already decomposing bodies of Cesar and him mother Elvira Canales-Gomez.
This incident is the latest in a disturbing string of teen violence across the nation. Earlier in the summer, three Oklahoma boys were arrested in connection with the random shooting of an Australian soccer player; purportedly one of the teens posted on Facebook that they committed the horrific act because they were bored.
Here in Northwest Arkansas (Bentonville) the community was stunned by the sexual assault and murder of 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman; the attack was carried out by one of her babysitters, Zachary Holly. Holly confessed to the crime and is awaiting a sentencing trial scheduled for next April.
Violence committed by teenagers and young adults is a phenomenon that is of national concern to law enforcement officials; homicide is the second leading cause of death in children, teens and young adults ranging in age from 10-4. Put another way, violence causes more fatalities and physical injury than infectious diseases, birth defects or cancer.
Although shocking, violence committed by young people doesn’t occur in a vacuum; there are warning signs at risk teens and young adults often display that parents and teachers should be aware of:
- Dramatic unexplained mood swings
- Talking, writing, or drawing about death or violence
- Preoccupation with death and/or violence
- Intense anger, loses temper easily and on a daily basis
- Frequent fighting
- Stalking behavior
- Threatening phone calls
- Increase in risky behavior
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Being a victim of chronic bullying
Other contributing factors include:
- Attention Deficits
- Poor Impulse Control
- Social or information processing deficits
If you believe a teenager or young adult is capable of violence, trust your gut and don’t go it alone; professional intervention is often necessary once a child begins to display signs of violent behavior.