photo matthewarticlepictures2.jpeg

 photo matthewarticlepictures1.jpeg
How to help: Suicide warning signs
If you encounter a post on social media about suicide, there are steps to take to try to help.
According to Lyn Morris, the vice president of clinical operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, calling a suicide prevention hotline is the best first action.
Even if you don't know the person threatening or talking about suicide, call the police and try to contact the person in any way possible.
"Just get them talking," Morris said. "We find that people in the very beginning – the more you talk with them and empathize with their pain, you'd be surprised how much information they'll give up. ... People will eventually break down if they think someone cares."
Morris also said there are signs of suicide, and if you notice them, you should take action. Here are some of the signs:
Talking or writing about suicide, or talking about a plan to commit suicide.
Changes in behavior (changes in sleep or eating patterns, trouble at school or work, etc.).
Signs of depression, sadness, hopelessness and/or helplessness.
Increased substance abuse.
Giving away prized possessions (not necessarily items of high monetary value).
Making out wills.
Making arrangements for animals/pets.

More information: Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Crisis Line at 1-877-727-4747. The line is open 24 hours a day, and the Didi Hirsch website ( also has live online chat services.

iFunny and suicides
Matthew Cline posted his message on a smartphone application called iFunny, which is a picture and video comedy app.
The application has over 3 million users, according to David Chef, the community manager for iFunny, but doesn't operate like more common social media sites.
There are profiles, but there is no "follow" or "friend" functions like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Instead, all posts are organized into "featured," "popular" and "collective" sections. The "collective" section is essentially random, and that's how Ana Gutierrez discovered Cline's post.
Although the large majority of posts on the application would be considered comedic, there are a startling number of posts about suicide, as well as posts trying to convince people not to commit the act.
Chef said the application does have an automated system to moderate content, but due to the massive amount of posts per day (he estimates hundreds of thousands), some posts can slip through.
He also acknowledged the application is trying to improve how it monitors posts.
"Because of this terrible tragedy, we're going to include information about how people can find help and who to call," Chef said. "We do care and we have some ideas on how we can improve our system."
John & Ken Show KFI 640 AM Radio Interview

Orange County Register
Thursday, September 26, 2013

Girl hundreds of miles away alerted police to a suicide threat, to no avail.

By Jeremy Balan
Orange County Register

On the night of July 16, Ana Gutierrez desperately tried to save a stranger's life.
  While skimming through a social media phone application called iFunny, she saw a cry for help. On a site normally used to post comedic pictures, Matthew Cline wrote he would be committing suicide that night.
  Gutierrez, a 17-year-old high school student from Los Banos in Northern California, took action. Not knowing who Cline was or where he lived, she called a local suicide hotline, but was told that without the boy's location nothing could be done. If she could find out where he lived, she was told, she should call the local police department.
  After a little searching, Gutierrez found a direct link to Cline's Facebook account on his profile at iFunny. She reached out through Facebook and, to her surprise, he accepted a friend request almost immediately. With access to his profile, she found out he lived in Huntington Beach and attended Liberty Christian School in the same city.
  Gutierrez's next call was to the
Huntington Beach Police Department. She sent the police the iFunny post through e-mail and directed them to Cline's Facebook page. Gutierrez spoke to a female officer, who told her that the Facebook page was open on her computer and that she would do everything she could.
  The next day,
Gutierrez was relieved to see that Cline was on iFunny again, saying he didn't go through with his plan.
  The police must have reached him,
Gutierrez thought; he's OK now.
  The truth was that the police didn't get to him, and he wasn't OK. The next night Cline shot and killed himself.
  Matthew Cline was quiet, a little shy and polite. At 17, he had yet to go on his first official date. The only trouble he ever seemed to get into at Liberty Christian was for chewing gum.
  He was a football player, tagged to be the starting running back this season for the Minutemen. The same day he took his life, he participated in Liberty's final summer football practice and ran a 40-yard dash in less than 5 seconds.
  That outward normalcy is part of what still troubles his parents, Bill and Kathy Cline, as well as the community ay Liberty Christian.
  "We were with him earlier in the day, working out in the weight room, and he seemed perfectly fine- for Matt, he seemed fine," said Liberty Christian football coach Andrew Reyes.
  "The same loveable Matt, the same great attitude.

  According to a police incident report acquired by the Cline family, the
Huntington Beach Police Department dispatch received a call from Gutierrez (although her name is redacted) at 12:22 a.m. July 17.
  The report states that, even though the screenshot of Cline's post on iFunny was sent to the police, dispatchers could not locate it within the application. The police then turned to Facebook, but according to the report, they could only find a Matthew Cline listed as a senior at Cal State Long Beach. They ruled out this Matthew Cline because his photo on Facebook did not appear to match the iFunny photo.
  Through a database called I/Leads, they found the correct Matthew Cline and his address, although they couldn't confirm it. According to the report, the officer attempted to call the number listed on I/Leads "2-3" times, but the calls were unanswered.
family members said they received no calls.
The Huntington Beach Police Department did not disclose the phone number that was called.
  According to Lt. Mitchell O'Brien, the Police Department's spokesman, there is no specific procedure for handling such a case, dealing with social media and suicide, but even the guidelines available in the department's policy manual don't fit the situation.
  According to the manual, a "police officer or parking control officer, dependent on the incident, will be dispatched to all calls requesting police service. If there is a question as to whether the calling party is requesting that a police officer come to the scene, they shall be questioned about it specifically for clarification."

  One line in the police report particularly haunts the Cline family.
  It states that with two possible addresses listed where a Matthew Cline from
Huntington Beach lived, the Huntington Beach Police Department decided not to send out an officer.
  "We just wanted a chance," Bill Cline said. "He was our world."
  The Clines say they have a simple question: When the police had their address, why wasn't
an officer sent to their house?

  "Bottom line is he reached out for help and somebody did everything in her power to help," Kathy Cline said. "It was a failure by the adults. That's the saddest thing. A knock on the door, and Matt would be alive. We could have got him help."
  O'Brien said the decision to dispatch an officer ultimately comes down to a judgment call.
  "We take threats of suicide very seriously ... but it really comes down to, do we have a call for service and do we have a place to go?"
  The officer who handled the call from Gutierrez is "beyond upset" about Cline's death, he added.
  "You can post on iFunny at any location in the country," O'Brien said, "They weren't satisfied that the person on iFunny was the
Huntington Beach resident."
  O'Brien also said that the police were not pursuing any charges against the Clines under California Penal Code Section 25100 - the criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree. That charge is used when a "person keeps any loaded firearm within any premises that are under the person's custody or control... the person knows or reasonably should know that a
child is likely to gain access to the fireman without the permission of the child's parent or legal guardian."
  It also applies when "the child obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person."
  Matthew Cline shot himself with his family's gun. His parents say they kept it secure and unloaded in their bedroom.
  "We have our firearm and ammunition for it," Kathy Cline said. "The firearm is under the bed and the ammunition is in the closet. It is in our bedroom and it is locked, and you need a key to get in."

  Ana Gutierrez once lost a friend to suicide. At one point, she said, she considered suicide herself.
  Therapy and family support helped her get past those feelings, but she said she still struggles with what happened to Matthew Cline and how she fits into it.
  "It's a hard thing to think about or talk about," Gutierrez said.
  She's still questioning whether she did enough to save Cline from 300 miles away. The Cline family and their friends say she shouldn't question herself.
  "She might be feeling guilt that she didn't do enough," said a Cline neighbor, Kesha Buhman.
  "She needs to know she did more than anyone did."
  Matthew Cline would have turned 18 today.