Jaylee Chillson, a 14-year-old Kansas teen who had run away from home reportedly shot herself in front of a deputy sheriff as he was trying to convince the girl to go back home.
Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of suicide. Reader discretion is advised
According to KAKE-TV News, on Saturday, September 16, the Cloud County Sheriff's Office responded to reports of a runaway teen from a concerned family member. Officers reportedly tracked the teen down to an outdoor party in the rural city of Aurora around 11:30 p.m.
Upon arrival, police reportedly tried to convince the teen to return home. According to a news release, the deputy sheriff was escorting the teen to a patrol car when she pulled out his firearm and shot herself.
“The deputy did not draw his firearm. The sheriff’s deputy and an off-duty firefighter attempted life-saving measures but the girl was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight,” the statement added.
In the wake of the tragedy, a GoFundMe campaign launched to render financial assistance to Jaylee Chillson’s parents has raised $8,728. The page asking for $20,000 has received funds from 163 donors. The page said:
"Please donate today to help this grieving family. Your kindness will help them through this heart-wrenching journey and honor Jaylee's memory. Thank you for your compassion during this difficult time."
Jaylee Chillson's mom speaks out in the wake of the tragedy
The Cloud County Sheriff’s Office said that with the assistance of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, they are investigating the circumstances that prompted Jaylee Chillson to take her own life. While the teen’s desperate move has sparked questions about the motive, in a moving Facebook post Jaylee’s mother revealed that her daughter was a victim of persistent bullying from her peers. She said:
“I’m also angry. I’m angry with those who hurt my baby. I’m furious with those I KNOW hurt her and will talk about her now like they didn’t play a part in crushing her. I’ve read days worth of messages from her “friends” that treated her absolutely awful. Watched as she was not included with girls on her sports teams. Watching adults on a school level repeatedly fail her.”
“No one outside of our family and her therapist knows what the last year of her life has been like. Please stop making assumptions, please don’t judge her.”
In another post, a former teacher revealed that a few years ago, she heard how the victim was relentlessly bullied by her peers, which had crushed her spirit.
“I was saddened a few years ago, to hear of how her peers treated her ….. bullied her. Her family always did their best to help her, ALWAYS.”
In a Facebook post, another teacher who taught Jaylee while she was in Clay Center described the teen as a kind soul with a very big heart.
“I was so lucky to have Jaylee as a student the entire time I was teaching in Clay Center. She was such a kind soul and had the biggest heart. My heart is in Clay this week and with the whole Chillson family.”
Per her obituary, Jaylee Chillson, born in Manhattan, Kansas, was the daughter of Stacie and Jeb Chillson. She is survived by her parents, Jeb and Stacie Chillson and four brothers.
“Jaylee was raised in Clay Center. She enjoyed spending time outside in nature hunting, fishing, and camping. Softball was another favorite activity for Jaylee, spending many hours on the field practising and playing.”
Jaylee Chillson, who aspired to be a Diesel Mechanic, was active in her Evangelical Covenant Church and the church youth group.