Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Josh Smith was determined to make it happen.

Following the suicide of his younger brother Channing in September, he recalled speaking with country superstar Billy Ray Cyrus about going all the way to the White House to tell his brother’s story.

Cyrus was so moved by Channing’s story – of how his sexuality was outed on social media and then took his own life – that he not only performed at the boy’s memorial, but also spoke with his agent about coordinating a meeting.

On Monday, Smith, his father and Billy Ray Cyrus flew to Washington, where military cars were waiting to take them to the White House.

For 45 minutes, they spoke with First Lady Melania Trump.

“She was already familiar with Channing’s story,” Smith told News4 Investigates.

Smith said the First lady was extremely empathetic and was shocked by the details in his brother’s case.

On Twitter, Melania Trump called Channing’s death a “tragic loss.”

The First Lady has made anti-bullying efforts a cornerstone of her administration.

The meeting happened a day before District Attorney General Craig Northcutt, who serves Coffee County, announced there is not probable cause to believe that any crimes had been committed.

Smith said Northcutt’s decision sends a mixed message to kids that nothing will happen to you if you cause someone to take their life.

But he said he won’t stop sharing Channing’s story. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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