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    Cemetery suspect found hanged

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
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    published January 31, 2002

    CLEARWATER -- A teenager arrested this week for knocking over headstones in the Largo Cemetery was found hanged in his bedroom early Wednesday morning.

    Clearwater police said Douglas Crawford, 17, killed himself. A suicide note was found by his body, said police spokesman Wayne Shelor.

    Crawford was one of three teens arrested Monday for damaging a tomb and trespassing. Crawford and another boy had blood on their mouths. The teens told police they had been drinking vodka and each other's blood.

    The Times isn't naming the other teens, ages 16 and 14, because they are younger. Largo police checked on them as soon as Crawford's body was found to make sure there was no suicide pact. They were safe, said spokesman Mac McMullen.

    Crawford's body was found at 6:18 a.m. Wednesday in his family's Clearwater home, Shelor said.

    On Tuesday, Crawford told the Times he and his friends were tipping over gravestones because they were bored. He called it a "mindless act" and apologized to the families of the dead.

    Crawford also said he knew he had problems and wanted to change his behavior but said he would need help to do so.

    In a brief interview Wednesday, Crawford's mother said publicity about the arrests, reported in newspapers and on Tampa Bay television stations "was too much for him."

    "He was a great kid," she said. "The last two years have not been his best years."

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