Law enforcement agencies have not identified the juvenile discovered dead at Birch Bay State Park May 2, but other news sources as well as the family have identified the teenager as 16-year-old Kailia Posey of Lynden. Posey’s family confirmed the death was by suicide to Hollywood news outlet TMZ.
Washington State Patrol (WSP) is the lead agency investigating the death. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office called WSP at 1:26 p.m. May 2 to assist with the death investigation, WSP trooper Jacob Kennett said. Washington State Parks is also assisting in the investigation. WSP has declined to release any information regarding the death other than the fact that it was a juvenile.
Whatcom County medical examiner Dr. Allison Hunt did not respond by press time on whether the cause of death was determined for the juvenile found at Birch Bay State Park.
“I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone,” Posey’s mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, wrote on Facebook. “Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”
Posey gained fame as a child starring on TLC’s hit reality TV show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” which followed the lives of child pageant stars. She most recently placed third for Miss Washington Teen USA in February.
She was also a gifted contortionist who performed with Cirque du Soleil and played Agnes in the 2019 Netflix film “Eli,” according to her Washington Teen USA bio. She made the Dean’s list for the 2020-21 school year and wanted to become a commercial pilot after graduating.
Posey was set to join Lynden High School’s cheerleading team next fall, according to her mom’s Facebook posts. She had celebrated her 16th birthday April 19.
International media outlets such as BBC, People Magazine and The Sun have reported on Posey’s death, remembering her for the mark she made in the pageant and entertainment industry.
Lynden Chamber of Commerce acknowledged the death of a Lynden teenager and provided community support in a Facebook post.
“We pray for the family, friends and others impacted by this loss, that in some way and some how they are comforted,” a chamber member wrote. “We ask that those who are in equally desperate and unknown situations be given the strength to reach out, and that they recognize they are not alone.”
The family set up a fund through Whatcom Community Foundation to help students in crisis at bit.ly/3FeE6Ce, according to TMZ.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800/273-8255. The free, confidential hotline is available 24 hours and available in English and Spanish.
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