The community is grieving over Thursday’s death of a Churchill County Middle School eighth-grader who died by suicide.
Taylar Hutchings, 13, died at her home late Thursday afternoon of a gunshot wound, reports the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Ben Trotter said a firearm and several notes were found near the body.
Hutchings, a native to Fallon, was born on July 3, 2001.
Hutchings’ family, friends and teachers remember her for her cheerfulness.
Her grandmother, Mary Hutchings, said Taylar was her first granddaughter and the retired teacher described her as an All-American girl.
“She was beautiful inside and out,” Mary Hutchings said. “She would light up any room she walked into. Her positive attitude and happy-go-lucky personality was contagious. She always knew how to make people smile, and she way always smiling too.”
Mary Hutchings said her granddaughter was a talented athlete who accomplished anything she set her mind to.
“She was always there to help anyone who needed the help,” said her father Paul Hutchings. “When her mother and I got divorced and I became a single father to three children, at 8-years old Taylar would help me out with cooking dinner or do laundry to help with the responsibilities I had … that was the type of kid she was.”
Both Mary and Paul Hutchings said Taylar was very close to her family and that the loss of Taylar will forever leave a hole in their lives.
Mary Hutchings said Taylar and her siblings used to put on plays in her backyard to entertain the family and that even though she was very “girly,” she loved to go on hunting trips with her grandfather, even if they came back unsuccessful.
“Everyone one of us has fond memories of Taylar that we will hold on to and cherish forever,” Mary Hutchings said.
Brittany Bonner, Taylar Hutching’s friend since elementary school, said she was devastated and in shock when she found out what happened to her friend.
“I’m still having a hard time grasping what happened to Taylar,” said Bonner who now attends school in Winnemucca. “Taylar was the type of person who was always willing to help someone out … she was the type of friend you would want to have.”
Teacher Jennifer Buckmaster had only kinds words to say about Taylar on Facebook.
“Enjoying this beautiful day and knowing that Taylar Hutchings is with us! Missing you deeply!” she said.
Katelynn White, another one of Taylar’s friends, expressed thoughts felt by many on her Facebook post.
“If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane. I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again. We all miss you so much Taylar. Rest easy my friend. We’ll meet again! I Love you babes!”
Churchill County Middle School Principal Scott Meihack said after learning about the tragedy on Thursday night, he implemented the crisis tree. He said a staff meeting was held at 7 a.m. on Friday and he and his staff went through the plans for the day.
“Extra staff was called in to add extra support for the students and teachers,” he said. “As well as counselors from other schools and grief counselors from Naval Air Station Fallon.”
Andrea Zeller, executive director for the Churchill Community Coalition, said the number of suicides among teens in rural areas is increasing. She said there are signs to indicate a person may be struggling with depression.
“Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change,” she said.
Zeller said these signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide:
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
Talking about being a burden to others
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
Acting anxious, agitated or behaving recklessly
Sleeping too little or too muchå
Withdrawn or feeling isolated
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
Displaying extreme mood swings
“Right now teens are dealing with a lot of cyberbullying,” Zeller said. “Parents need to engage with their children and check their phone, email or Facebook page. Bullies now are going through the Internet to harass people, and parents must be more aware of that.”
Zeller said if someone notices an individual who has any of the suicide signs or an individual is experiencing suicidal thoughts, to call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.
She said there is also a number individuals can text to get assistance. Text LISTEN to 839-863.