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Local

Death of Providence Day School student touches a nerve among Charlotte parents

The funeral for a 16-year-old Providence Day School football player found dead last week in Uwharrie National Forest will be Wednesday.

It is a teen death that has touched a nerve among Charlotte parents.

Authorities believe the boy, 16-year-old Nathan Ward Kocmond, died of suicide, which may have been connected to a sports concussion he suffered six weeks ago. He was a junior at Providence Day School and played on his school’s football team.

Nathan was found Friday afternoon in Montgomery County, but an obituary published Sunday said he had been dead since Monday. That’s the day he was last seen by his family at their south Charlotte home.

News of his death seemed to reverberate through Charlotte over the weekend. The family’s Friday Facebook post announcing Nathan’s death got 1,200 reactions. Many of the posts were from strangers, including parents who admitted the Kocmond family was living out their worst nightmare.

“While I do not know you or your family, my heart aches for you,” wrote Melissa Seuster of Charlotte.

“The city is heart broken for you.” wrote Jane Ham Hood on Facebook.

“There will never be the right words to describe the heartache a parent goes through losing a child,” posted Jonathan Roberts.

Uwharrie Mountain Radio reported the teen was found off the Uwharrie National Forest Trail on N.C. 24/27, outside of Troy. His Boy Scout troop had reportedly hiked that area in the past. A local hunter found the boy, reports said. Troy is about 90 minutes northeast of Charlotte.

Nathan’s parents, Jon and Sarah Kocmond, said he left the family’s home on Kennington Court on Monday and missed his scheduled Boy Scout meeting that afternoon. His cellphone had been turned off and all his social media accounts were deleted, they told media outlets.

A community-wide search began the next day and even drew the attention of Carolina Panthers player Greg Olsen, who asked his Twitter followers to spread word about the young football player’s disappearance. A GoFundMe account created to collect money for the search raised $43,000 in two days.

Nathan’s parents said their son had acted “flat, and down” and had severe headaches for weeks after his concussion but had recently shown signs of recovery. Headaches and sadness are symptoms of a concussion, according to the website StopSportsInjuries.com.

An obituary published Sunday said Nathan attended Providence High School during his first two years of high school, and more recently, Providence Day for his junior year. He played football and rugby, and he was a leader in his Boy Scout troop.

On Sunday, friends shared remembrances of the teen on Facebook.

“Nathan Kocmond (was) a wonderful, tough, smart, humble, fierce young man,” wrote Eric Winslow Saxon of Charlotte, who said he coached Nathan for 7 years.

“My memories (are) of a young boy selling (Boy Scout) popcorn in the neighborhood,” posted Peggy Renoe Nelson of Charlotte. “He made home made cookies and cakes for sale to raise money for charity, as I recall. Very polite and respect full young man.”

The funeral will be 11 a.m Wednesday at Christ Church Charlotte, 1412 Providence Road.

 
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