Investigation continues into Marion teen's death

Braylee Rice
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Updated: .

Marion Police continue to investigate the death of a teenage girl at McCulloch Junior High School Monday.

Braylee Rice, 14, was found dead by the school bleachers. It's believed she hanged herself after sneaking out of ISTEP testing.

The school has brought in counselors to help students and teachers cope with their loss, and ISTEP testing was delayed. Dozens of school community members paid tribute to the girl at a vigil held at the school Monday evening.

According to the superintendent, there is no indication at this point that the girl's death is connected to bullying. However, the school district is emphasizing its anti-bullying policy this week with an event Thursday that was planned before Rice's death. The anti-bullying carnival is part of an end of school year celebration at Marion High School starting at 5:30 pm Thursday. That's at 750 W 26th Street in Marion. A ceremony about anti-bullying polices begins at 6:30 pm.

Police are still in the process of conducting interviews. 

Deputy Chief of Police Cliff Sessoms issued this statement Tuesday:

"We realize there are many different rumors and a vast amount of information that is being generated by this case, which we are currently investigating as the information is given to us --- please understand this will take some time to complete. We believe it is important for all involved that accurate and factual information be delivered.

As an example information has been reported that there were witnesses to the hanging, to the extent that the witnesses seen the victim jump from a bleacher, but during the course of this investigation there has been no witnesses who have reported this information to the police. Furthermore, evidence at the scene indicates the victim did not jump. It is accurate to say a group of children along with a teacher who were walking on the track observed the victim hanging from one of the bleachers. That teacher immediately got the children away from the scene and summoned help.

We anticipate additional information being released after investigators have completed the investigation."