Police investigate student death at McCulloch Jr. High School in Marion

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Marion Police along with Marion Community Schools are investigating the death of a student at McCulloch Junior High School. According to the county coroner, the girl's death is a suicide.

It was an incredibly difficult day for the Marion community after school officials say a seventh grade girl hanged herself at the junior high school.

The school district released this statement identifying the student:

"Marion Community Schools wishes to express sincere condolences to the family of Braylee Rice, a seventh-grader at McCulloch. This is a very tragic situation. Our hearts go out to her family and friends."

Parents of the other students were baffled at how this could happen during the school day.

Eric Peters felt the need to pick up his seventh grade son Jacob as soon as he heard about the young girl's death.

"I just wanted to make sure he was well emotionally and spiritually," said Peters.

School officials tell Eyewitness News around 9:00 am Monday morning, the 14-year-old girl snuck away from the gym during a break from ISTEP testing and used a necktie she regularly wore to hang herself on the bleachers near the track. School administrators admit they aren't sure how she snuck away. Her fellow students say it's all they talked about during lunch hour.

"I was really upset. Everyone was crying at lunch. I tried not to. I was just comforting other people," said Jacob Peters, student.

McCulloch Junior High School was not on lockdown after the suicide. Parents, however, showed up to pick up their children.

Police say there was no note left by the young teen, and investigators are looking at all possibilities as to why this happened, including bullying.

School officials said there was "no indication at this point it was a bullying situation" but police are investigating the circumstances.

Student witness

Jennifer Smith came to get answers from school administrators after she learned a girl had killed herself at her son's school.

"I just pray. I couldn't imagine it was your kid," she said.

Smith says her seventh grade son was walking around the track with a teacher when he saw the young girl jump from the bleachers.

"They heard a noise and looked over at the bleachers and she had jumped," said Smith, who has contacted a doctor about getting her son help after seeing such a tragic event. She set up an appointment Tuesday morning with a counselor.

"It's just horrible," Smith said.

Grief counselors will be made available to students for the rest of the week.

"This is a tragic situation," said the superintendent.

Meantime, parents like Eric Peters plan to discuss what happened with their students.

"I think we just need to talk to him. That's how parents can support in that way," said Peters.

"I am thinking about the family. God bless them," said Jacob Peters, his son.

A candlelight vigil will be held at the school at 6:00 pm.

According to the school district, the Grant County coroner's office has been in contact with the victim's family.