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Tragedies striking young people, their families

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JIM WILLIAMS
Ellis County Press
ENNIS - Just weeks into a new school year and the start of the high school football season, tragedies have struck young people who should be continuing their lives of education and play.

Last Thursday's apparent suicide of Jeff Braddock, 17, of 2204 Yorkstown Dr. and a junior at Ennis High School, was the most recent in a number of deaths involving high school students.

Det. Ron Roark of the Ennis Police Department said Jeff Braddock, a nephew of Ennis High School varsity softball coach Steve Braddock, had apparently shot himself in the head with a shotgun while sitting inside his pick-up truck on the street in front of 3002 Linda, where his girlfriend lived.

Roark said no one was at home at the residence when police arrived after receiving 9-1-1 calls regarding a gunshot heard in the neighborhood at 5:10 p.m. on Sept. 7.

Braddock's suicide came on the same day as funeral services for fellow Ennis High School student Jesse Vasquez, who had drowned four days earlier in Lake Bardwell.

Vasquez was a member of the Ennis High School varsity football team, which began its season last Friday night at Garland against Rowlett.

He was also employed by the HEB supermarket in Ennis at the time of his death.

Vasquez was taken to Ennis Regional Medical Center.

The EPD detective said Braddock died instantly.

'He didn't have a chance,' Roark said.

Braddock was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Curtis Polk.

The body was taken to the Dallas County medical examiner's office.

Roark said the shotgun was found near the body and appeared to be a suicide.

He said some golf clubs were in the rear of the vehicle.

Braddock was a member of the EHS golf and soccer teams.

His mother is employed by Dr. Stephen Durbin, an Ennis denist.

According to Roark, family members said they didn't know of any reason why Jeff Braddock took his life.

'He was depressed about something, most are that go this route,' Roark said. 

According to other reports, Braddock's girlfriend had broken up with him earlier the same day.

Reportedly, he was expelled from school for allegedly slapping her.

Braddock's death occurred one week to the day after Ferris High School freshman Charity Comes, 14, was discovered missing from where she lived.

Her nude, dead body was found Sept. 3 in a wooded area along Red Oak Creek in the Rockett/Palmer area.

She had been strangled with her own brassiere.

The corpse had been mutilated somewhat by animals.

Also in the Dallas Metroplex area last week, three young people were found drowned in Lake Lavon.

The previous week, two teenage girls from Allen High School were killed in a traffic accident.

Someone discovered a skull near Midlothian last Thursday. The skull was possibly that of a young woman reported missing in the area two years ago.

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