Geoffrey and Debbie Carver of Danville were given jerseys with the number 79 worn by their late son, 15-year-old Jacob Carver, when he played for the Timberlane Tornadoes football team. The framed jerseys were presented at the start of a game Saturday night at Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)
Death at Danville police chief's home continues to haunt parents
PLAISTOW — The parents of 15-year-old Jacob Carver are desperate for answers.
Geoffrey and Debbie Carver have spent the last six months trying to understand their son's death, which authorities say was a suicide. They never saw any signs in the days before he suffered a fatal gunshot wound while alone inside the home of Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons.
Debbie Carver lives at the home and is in a relationship with Parsons.
Jacob's father said he's convinced his son's death was just an accident.
"He was just like the all-American boy. It's just so hard to understand," his mother said. "If it could happen to him, it could happen to anybody ... none of it makes sense."
The Danville parents — who are no longer together — are also trying to heal as they search for answers. They took a big step forward Saturday night, when they returned to the football field at Timberlane Regional High School for the first time since Jacob's death.
The Timberlane Tornadoes football team remembered Jacob and his passion for football at a ceremony before a game against Tewksbury, Mass., a game they won 48-28.
Players wore Jacob's number, No. 79, on the back of their helmets along with the initials "DN" in honor of former longtime coach David Nye, who died in February after battling cancer.
Nye, a Plaistow resident, founded the Timberlane Flag Football League and coached several sports teams, including the Timberlane Tornadoes football team.
"We wanted to honor Jacob for playing and my brother-in-law (David Nye) for all the work he did for us. We always look after each other and in times like this, you want to let people know we're here," varsity head coach Jerry Lovett said.
Jacob, who lived in Danville, had played football since the third grade."He loved football. It was his favorite sport and he lived for it," Debbie said.
The night before the shooting, Jacob was at his father's house talking about how much he was looking forward to a wrestling banquet that week. Jacob and his father were also working out together as the teen prepared for lacrosse and football.
"He was looking forward to lacrosse season. He was looking forward to going to football camp," he said.
Jacob was also talking about college.
"He was looking into the future," Geoffrey Carver said.
But everything changed on the night of March 11, when the teen suffered a gunshot wound while left alone at the home of Parsons.
Wade Parsons now faces a charge of negligent storage of a firearm after authorities say he left his Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun unsecured on top of a safe inside his Danville home. At some point, authorities say Jacob got his hands on the gun.
Despite what he was told by authorities, Geoffrey Carver said he doesn't believe his son killed himself.
"I'm quite sure it was just an accident that happened. Unfortunately, a gun was left out and he was playing around with it," he said.
While Debbie Carver still doesn't know what led to the shooting, she hopes others will learn from her son's death and express their feelings.
"For teenagers, if they ever feel they have something they can't tell their parents, or they're feeling down and there's no hope, they should talk to their coach, or a teacher, or a counselor. Talk to another adult," she said.
As for Saturday's ceremony, Debbie Carver said it meant a lot.
"I'm sure he's looking down and smiling right now," she said of her late son.
His infectious smile is something his teammates will never forget.
"We never saw the kid not smiling. He always tried hard at practice. He was just a hard worker," said Tornadoes player Ian Gobbi, 14, of Atkinson.