Julianni Plascencia, 8, died a couple days after being found hanging in his Stockton home.
STOCKTON - Julianni Plascencia loved football and was the youngest member of his church usher team, a vibrant 8 year old who always wanted his parents to give money to the homeless on Stockton streets.
"He was a very sensitive little boy, very caring," said his father Ronnie Plascencia at his mother-in-law's Stockton home Monday night.
On Saturday night he told his older brother he was going to hang himself. His mother had stepped out to go for groceries for a few minutes, and Julianni's brother assumed his little brother was kidding, even though he told him not to joke that way or he'd tell his mother.
Minutes later, his brother realized he hadn't heard anything from his parent's room where Julianni had been playing. He ran in to find his brother unconscious on the floor with a scarf wrapped around his neck at one end and tied around a doorknob at the other.
His father believes he was play-acting something he'd seen on television or in the movies.
"Replayed the scene, thinking it was a game, didn't understand the severity of it," his father surmises.
His father believes he may have fallen or increased the pressure on his neck, then lost consciousness before he could get himself undone.
"To be startled and go unconscious and not really know what to do next," Plascencia speculates.
On the way to the hospital, paramedics were able to get Julianni's heart started and he was flown to UC Davis Medical Center where he died just after 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
His father held his hand in his last moments.
"Rubbed his head, kissed him, held his hand...And to be there for him at the, you know it was time for him to go to heaven," Plascencia said.
Stockton police investigators believe Julianni's death was accidental.
His mother said she is struggling to understand how her son could be gone.
"I feel a lot of pain. A lot of confusion. A lot of sorry for not being available for him," Shfawn Plascencia said.
She said she must be grateful for the time she and her extended family had with Julianni.
"Let him be happy in heaven. Because I know that's where he went. His heart was too big for this world," Shfawn Plascencia said.