Oshkosh, WI - Friends and family are reeling from the death of a 13-year-old Oshkosh girl who took her own life on Monday. Many say struggles with sadness and bullying are what caused her to end it all.
Wednesday, hundreds of candles hit the evening sky at Merrill Middle School in Oshkosh. A community came together to grieve the loss of a young girl described as friendly, talented, and well-liked.
"She was one of the nicest people I ever knew," said Jordan Bates, a former classmate.
"It was really hard. I started crying, because we were really, really close growing up. We were like sisters. It was just really hard for me to know that she's never coming back," said classmate Cayla Feavel.
School officials won't say what it was that led the young girl to take her life, but some say bullying played a role in the tragedy.
"It's all over the city. Everybody's been affected by this, because the little girl was so young. It's very, very tragic," said Jenny Wesner, a suicide prevention leader.
"She did this because of bullying, and it needs to stop," said former classmate Ahava Blau.
Soon after the girl's death, a Facebook page was created by one of her classmates. Since Monday, the page - called "Stop Depression, Stop Suicide, Stop Bullying" - has already gained close to 5,000 members.
"We've had six suicides, I believe now, in Winnebago County this year. That's high. If you go to the end of the year, you can kind of do the math," said Wesner.
Many are hoping this tragedy will be the last of its kind in Oshkosh, and all throughout the country.
School counselors and social workers from all throughout the area are working at the middle school this week to help teens deal with the loss. Many are hoping the situation will help others to speak out about bullying that occurs at school.