The body of a former Sammamish middle school girl was found Sunday on a Klahanie-area trail after authorities received reports that she sent suicidal text messages and talked about it on Facebook, the King County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
Sheriff investigators believe the 12-year-old’s death was not criminal, Sgt. Rodney Chinnick said in a statement. The King County Medical Examiner on Monday identified the girl as Ariana Larsen-Skube of Issaquah.
That office said her death was a suicide by hanging. She died Thursday, March 3, an office spokeswoman said.
She was a seventh-grade student at Pacific Cascade Middle School in Issaquah. Last year, she attended Pine Lake Middle School, school administrators at that campus said in an e-mail.
A friend of the girl contacted deputies Wednesday to inform them of the text messages and Facebook posting, Chinnick said. Deputies later searched Pine Lake Park in Sammamish and tried contacting the girl's parents.
The girl's parents informed deputies that they did not believe she was suicidal. The girl, though, was not home. Because of her age and initial report from the friend, authorities began searching for her, Chinnick said.
Her parents filed a missing person report on Thursday.
Earlier this year, on Jan. 17, the girl’s parents called authorities to report her as missing, Chinnick said. Although they described her as a “chronic” runaway, she returned home later that day.
Last week, deputies tried to find the girl through a cell phone she had been using. The signal from that phone gave different general locations at different times, including apartments, houses, parks and wooded areas. Searchers also went door to door to ask people if they had seen her.
On Sunday, an off-duty detective was walking on a Klahanie-area trail and saw some “emotionally upset” people, Chinnick said. They had looked in a wooded area and found the girl’s body, he added.
The people were in an area near Southeast 42nd Street and 243rd Avenue Southeast, Chinnick said. The area is on the east side of Yellow Lake.
At Pine Lake Middle School, administrators had counseling services available to help students deal with the news. “We are ready to support students however necessary. We want parents to be aware so that you can check in with your children at home,” Principal Roy Adler wrote in an e-mail parents.
“If you notice any signs of grief – such as sadness, anger, irritability, anxiety, loneliness, detachment, listlessness, stomach aches, or appetite changes – please do not hesitate to contact our counseling office for assistance.”
Adler and Michelle Caponigro, Pine Lake assistant principal, told parents and students that it was important to “come together” as a school community for support.