Just Gossip Friend dies at the age of 16

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White Belt
http://www.theargusonline.com/Stories/0 said:
Mom: 'He was my everything'

'He was my everything'

By Melissa Evans, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT -- He penciled pictures of horned monsters, mushrooms, skulls, ninjas -- even a portrait of his Saturday school teacher.

But Cody Ledo's favorite character was "Stitch." Patterned after a voodoo doll his mom brought back from New Orleans one year, Stitch started out with a round head and limp body with little character or complexity.

Six years later, his mom is left with dozens of detailed sketches of Stitch, whose sunken eyes and looping feet adorned Ledo's notebooks, schoolbooks and even Ledo's bedroom wall for a time.

Stitch was sometimes a bit crazy, pointing a gun at his head in one cartoon. He was curious, sometimes smiling and red-eyed in a haze of smoke. He was always up for pranks, adventures, a bit of danger -- and he loved Hennessey, a brand of whiskey.

Stitch was "sometimes good and sometimes bad," said Ledo's mom, Anna Throm. "Kind of like Cody."

The drawings, pictures, stories and memories are all that Throm has left of her only son, a junior at Irvington High School in Fremont who planned to attend art school someday.

Ledo died early Saturday at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley after he and a friend made a run for Jack in the Box after a night of drinking, his mother said.

Ledo's friend, Darren James Walker, 18, of Suisun City was released on bail Saturday after his arrest on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Walker and Ledo had gathered with friends Friday night. They usually partied at Throm's house, but she had told her son earlier in the day she needed a break -- just for one night.

She dropped him off. Hours later, Throm and her boyfriend, Gary Andre, were awakened to the sound of someone banging on the front door. Ledo's best friend, Kevin, had run two miles in the middle of the night to tell them there had been an accident.

She raced to the scene, where she saw Walker's 1993 white GMC truck had hit a light pole at the corner of Chapel Way and Laurel Street, in front of their friend's house.

Throm drove to the hospital, where she held her son's hand until he died of internal bleeding.

Family and hundreds of friends have poured into Throm's house during the past two days with flowers, food, pictures and cards. They will remember Ledo's life at a service at 7 p.m. Friday at Fremont Memorial Chapel.

Friends also contributed flowers, letters, photos, newspaper clippings, drawings and other items to a makeshift memorial at the accident scene across from Horner Junior School.

Family members say Ledo played video games, liked watching scary movies and loved sushi. He drew a comic strip for his high school newspaper, The Voice, and he was recruited by the yearbook staff to illustrate this year's edition.

He wasn't the best at academics, his mom admits. The editor of the school paper, Kevin Zhu, said Ledo's work was controversial and hard for some people to get.

But "he was always a pleasant person to talk to," Zhu said. Like many of his classmates, Zhu learned of Ledo's death Saturday night in the middle of the senior prom.

School Principal Pete Murchison said counselors will be on campus today for kids who need to talk.

"Whenever (a student) dies, it's sad," he said. "It doesn't feel right, especially the ones that could be prevented."

Police are investigating the accident, but the driver "displayed symptoms of intoxication," according to a statement by Sgt. Mark Riggs, traffic investigator for the Fremont Police Department.

Throm -- who describes Walker as a "big lovable guy" -- has no ill feelings toward her son's friend.

"I know what my son is capable of," she said. "He could talk you into anything."

Ledo's aunt, Christy Throm, cherished her visits with Ledo, who came up to see her in Seattle for two weeks each summer. They'd consume Twinkies and Pepsi for breakfast, go skateboarding and catch movies.

Once, the two dared each other to get body piercings -- but he chickened out. Another time, she drove him all over Seattle to find a new shirt he could wear on a date with a girl he'd met.

"He made me a better person," Christy Throm said.

Though Ledo had many interests, artwork was clearly his passion. His mom even painted his room black so that Ledo could sketch in white, which he often did in the middle of the night.

"You'd wake up and hear these scratching noises on the wall," Andre, his mom's boyfriend, said.

He designed tattoos for friends, was working on a label for his friend's T-shirt business and, at the time of his death, was fine-tuning a signature for his artwork.

"He wanted to make his mark," said his mother, a bookkeeper who raised Ledo as a single mom.

"He always made me proud," she said. "He was my everything."

Fremont Memorial Chapel is at 3723 Peralta Blvd., Fremont.
he was my friend, and im going to miss him.
R.I.P. Cody Ledo
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