Bullied Middle Schoolers, Paige Moravetz and Haylee Fentress, Take Lives In Suicide Pact
Family members admit that the signs were there.
After repeatedly indicating that they were bullied and felt ostracized, Paige Moravetz and Haylee Fentress took their lives at a sleepover in what family members believe was a suicide pact.
Moravetz's cousin Hillary Settle tells the TODAY Show that Fentress had posted a telling status update directed at Moravetz on Facebook shortly before their deaths:
"I'm so nervous and I just want to get it over with. I love you, Paige."
The two eighth graders from southwestern Minnesota hanged themselves at a sleepover Friday night at Fentress' house. Her mother discovered their bodies Saturday morning, according to the TODAY Show.
Moravetz, a hockey star remembered for her big smile, and Fentress, a newcomer to Minnesota with a bubbly personality, were best friends.
Still, Fentress had sent her relatives Facebook messages describing how hard it was to have recently moved from Indiana, saying that she was sad and lonely. Those close to her say that she was teased about her weight and her red hair.
Settle tells the TODAY Show:
"Maybe we should have paid closer attention. Maybe everyone should have paid closer attention."
Fentress' mother and her older sister released a statement saying they believe bullying played a role in the suicides:
"We need to stop pretending this isn't happening or that is just a cry for attention because obviously it is not. This needs to be talked about and we need to try to prevent this by teaching kids in school, community and at home. They need to know they are not alone. It shouldn't take more tragedies to realize this."
The two girls became friends about a year ago after Fentress moved to Minnesota from Indiana. Moravetz's uncle says she took Fentress under her wing and was even teaching her to skate.
They grew so close that Fentress was recently expelled from school after getting into a fight to defend Moravetz when other students allegedly harassed her, according to ABC. Robin Settle, Fentress' aunt, says that was just her nature:
"She stood up for the underdogs and she was one herself," Settle said.
Marshall Middle School isn't commenting on the bullying claims. But it is offering grief support for kids and also advising them against spreading rumors through social media or text messages, according to the Marshall Independent.
"You don't get over it," said Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert. "But by working together, we can get through it."
Both girls left suicides notes. Moravetz's asked people to pray for her, and Fentress' asked for specific funeral arrangements, Settle told ABC.
"She requested everything pink and princess and butterflies."