Shibbon Winelle gave a tearful account of her son, Bryce Gowdy's final moments before he was hit by a train earlier this week. Authorities in South Florida ruled the 17-year-old's death a suicide.
Bryce was a 4-star Georgia Tech recruit who appeared to be suffering from a mental health crisis in the last few days before he died.
Winelle, who claims she has mental health issues of her own, posted a YouTube video explaining the "spiritual conservations" she had with Bryce.
Winelle and her children were often homeless and had been living in her car and hotel rooms. The night Bryce died, they were homeless again.
Bryce was scheduled to start classes at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on January 6. But he was worried about leaving his family in that predicament.
She said Bryce, the eldest of her three sons, repeatedly asked her questions about religion and about life. She said he talked a mile a minute, and his endless questions made her heart hurt.
When he asked to hold her hand, she refused. She told him to "toughen up" and "get it together."
"A few days ago, Bryce was talking crazy... He was happy though, he was talking about his future. He was talking about going to Georgia Tech," she said through tears. "He had a lot of questions about spirituality and life. He kept asking if I was OK, if his brothers were going to be OK. I said, 'yeah.'"
"We sat in the car all day... because we didn't have anywhere to go," she said. "He sat next to me just talking. I was stressed. I was too stressed to really deal with it. We were on the streets again, homeless. The little job I got wasn't paying me my money on time or in full."
After Winelle picked up her son, Brayden, from work that night, the family went to their hotel room.
She said she locked herself in the bathroom to take a break from Bryce's intense questions. 30 minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom and asked Bryce to go to the car to get her favorite blanket. The time was 3:30 a.m.
When he didn't return, she went out to look for him. Her blanket was gone from her car and Bryce was nowhere to be found.
Winelle said he left his cell phone, wallet and shoes behind in the hotel room. Later that morning, Winelle called her older brother, who told her someone was hit by a train at 4 a.m.
"I've been begging for help for months," she cried. "For months, I've been begging for help."
Over $95,000 in donations have poured in to a GoFundMe page to help the Gowdy family get back on their feet.
A recent study shows a dramatic increase in suicide deaths among Black adolescents and teenagers.
From 1991 to 2017, suicide attempts among Black children and teens rose by 73%.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).