'My Daughter Has Been Shot': Two 14-Year-Olds, a Girl and Boy, Killed in Murder-Suicide
Two families are grieving after authorities in North Carolina reported the suspected shooting murder-suicide of two 14-year-olds, a boy and a girl, on Monday.
The bodies were discovered in the boy's Angier home by his father, according to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities have not said who did the shooting and they have not released the names of the deceased, but friends of the girl's family identified her as Sara Hill on a GoFundMe page that by midday Friday had raised almost $2,700 to assist with funeral expenses.
“The kids are dead. My daughter has been shot,” said a man summoned to the home who identified himself as Leonard Hill on the recording of a 911 call released Wednesday by the sheriff's office, reports Raleigh TV news station WRAL. “Oh, my God, you guys get here.”
The girl was homeschooled, and the boy was a student at West Johnson High School, said sheriff's Capt. Jeff Caldwell, according to The News & Observer.
Caldwell tells PEOPLE that no other victims were involved.
The girl's family told WRAL that she and the boy were not dating but had been friends for a couple of years, and that Sara, who recently had signed up to compete in a beauty pageant, wanted to be a good friend and sometimes stopped by the boy's house to talk.
After the boy asked her to come over on Monday, she did and never returned, they told the station.
The girl's body was found on her back on a living room couch with the boy on the floor nearby; a rifle and spent cartridges were recovered from the scene, according to a search warrant, WRAL reports.
The rifle usually was locked up inside the boy's home, his father told investigators, according to the outlet.
Law enforcement found no suicide note and did not discuss a possible motive.
Sara “had the biggest heart of any child I know. Always loving and caring of others,” wrote one person on the GoFundMe page collecting donations for her family.
Another person, Meghan Billings, commented: “It was an absolute joy to know Sara. I was so blessed to be her teacher 2 years ago. I remember her fondly, especially her sweet spirit and amazing work ethic. She was a phenomenal person.”
Sara's mother, Tena, wrote on the page: “As the parents of Sara we thank each and every one of you. We are at a loss [for] words to let everyone know how appreciative we are.”
“Our Baby Girl is such a gift from God and we are blesse[d] to be her parents,” she wrote. “Not in a million years did we think we would be putting our baby girl to rest at such a young age. We can't express enough how much we appreciate your kindness and prayers.”
Suicide Prevention: What to Know
Experts say some common warning signs of suicide include discussing a desire to die or feeling anxious or hopeless, like a burden, or trapped or in pain; withdrawing from others; extreme mood swings, including anger and recklessness; and abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little).
Many suicides have multiple causes and are not triggered by one event, according to experts, who underline that suicidal crises can be overcome with help. Where mental illness is a factor, it can be treated.
Reaching out to those in need is a simple and effective preventative measure, experts say.