ACHS student dies: Cause of death not yet determined

ACHS student dies: Cause of death not yet determined
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By Times Staff

Alexandria City High School student Yonathan Vasquez Mendez died on Tuesday, according to an emailed letter that ACHS Principal Peter Balas sent to parents that afternoon. Balas did not state a cause of death for Mendez. 

ACPS Chief of School and Community Relations Julia Burgos responded to the Times, “Our standard protocol is that, when a student passes away, we do not share information about the cause. ACPS does not publicly share medical information about students or staff.”

Alexandria Police Department spokesman Marcel Bassett confirmed that a 16-year-old male city resident died on Tuesday, with the official time of death reported as 7:45 a.m. The medical examiner has not yet determined the official cause of death and Bassett could not confirm whether this male was Mendez.

At 7:30:48 a.m. a dispatch call went out to Engine 210, Medics 208, Truck 208 and EMS 231 for a reported cardiac arrest incident on South Whiting Street, with cross streets of the Alexandria Station parking lot and Lane Drive. According to the dispatch call on OpenMHz, a 16-year-old male was in cardiac arrest and was bleeding from his nose. This report did not state the name of the person being treated.

Balas in his communication to parents paid tribute to Mendez.

“Yonatan has been part of the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) family since he was in middle school, and his passing is a sad and tragic loss for his family, friends and our school community. He was always respectful and was well liked by his peers. On behalf of the entire Titan community, we send our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones,” Balas said in the communication.

A Go Fund Me page has been established for the Mendez family. The page reads:

“Yonathan was a son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and most importantly a child of God. He dedicated his time and life to Jesus Christ alongside his family and played the guitar in his congregation. During his free time he loved spending time with his family watching movies, play video games, while eating pizza and drinking his Starbucks. We ask during this difficult time that you pray for our family and we appreciate whatever amount God places in your heart, we thank you very much. God bless you!”

Balas also said that ACHS staff was available to assist students in need of immediate emotional support as they grieve Mendez’ death. 

“Students and families can also reach CrisisText and Crisis Link at any time of the day or night, seven days a week, through the contacts below: Text: CONNECT to 85511. Families may also wish to review resources on addressing grief from the National Association of School Psychologists. Please reach out for help and do not suffer in silence as you mourn or experience grief.

Please know that ACPS and ACHS are here to support you, especially in this time of sadness,” Balas wrote.


This story is developing and the Times will update as information becomes available.