The St. Clair R-XIII School District is dealing with its fourth student suicide of the academic year after a 13-year-old junior high school student was found dead in her Crawford County home on Tuesday evening.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office identified the teenager as Alexis Huff.
“It was a suicide,” sheriff’s office Major Bill Harlan told The Missourian on Thursday afternoon. “The incident is still under investigation, but at this time there is no evidence of foul play.”
Toxicology test results will not be known for at least two or three weeks, Harlan said.
St. Clair Superintendent Mike Murphy said Huff only had been a student in the district for six days and that there are at least a couple of other children in the family who will be attending classes at the junior high. Harlan said it was his understanding that the family is in the process of moving from the Bourbon area to St. Clair.
Crawford County authorities were dispatched to the home on Highway WW west of Sullivan at 7:08 p.m. on Tuesday. Harlan said the girl’s mother, who was home at the time of the incident, performed CPR after the girl was found by a sibling. Resuscitation efforts also were attempted by emergency officials at the scene, in the ambulance and at the hospital.
Harlan said the preliminary investigation revealed that the girl did not have “problems” with other students at either St. Clair or Bourbon. He said it does not appear that the girl was bullied.
Murphy had sent a phone blast to patrons of the school district Wednesday afternoon stating that the student had passed away the night before.
The phone blast was sent, Murphy said, because both junior and senior high students were told about the student’s death during the school day Wednesday, and he wanted to communicate that fact with parents.
Murphy provided little additional information at the time per the family’s request.
“This is a tragic deal,” R-XIII Assistant Superintendent Mark Denbow told The Missourian. “Our hearts go out to this family.”
Junior high Principal Steve Weinhold said things are “going OK” at his school in the days after the tragedy.
Murphy told The Missourian Thursday night that the district’s role has been “to serve the family to the best of our ability.
“Although this is tragic and we certainly don’t want to downplay it in any manner, we’ve had very little time to establish a relationship with this student,” he said.
The student’s death comes less than four months after the last of three St. Clair High School student suicides took place during the fall semester. Those three teenage deaths occurred on Sept. 28, Nov. 2 and Nov. 12.
The first two suicides took place at the students’ homes in and around St. Clair. The third was in the Lonedell Lakes area of Washington County.
Investigations led authorities to believe the three deaths were not related or “copy-cat” in nature. It was determined that the three teens were not close friends. The students were a 16-year-old freshman, a 15-year-old sophomore and a 16-year-old junior.