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Ashley McIntyre, 16, was hanging out with friends at home Friday night, before she disappeared. "They went out looking for her. They couldn't find her and thought she wandered off reading a book," said her mother Leora McIntyre.
Ashley's family eventually did find her in the barn. "Ashley had hung herself for whatever reason. We have not come up with all the answers," Leora said.
But, family members thought bullying may have played a part. Ashley's cousin Jonathon Jackson was two years ahead of her at Liberty High School. He said she was a special education student and got teased at school. "I heard people say how weird she looked, her clothing and how she didn't fit in all the time," Jackson said.
Liberty Principal Pamela Knight said neither Ashley nor anyone else ever reported her being bullied. If they did, school officials would've dealt with it according to county and state code, she said. "We are very strict with our bullying policy. We really follow that. When we get a report of it, we investigate it," she said. Prevention Resource Officer Mike Daugherty said he's waiting to hear the sheriff's department's determination on the case. He said he worked hard to eliminate bullying at Liberty. "We don't know the cause yet. But still, whether it's bullying, depression, isolation or whatever the case may be. If we see a kid alone at the lunch table, we need to be the type of students to go sit with them," Daugherty said.
Ashley's family also said she never reported being bullied. But, relatives said Ashley kept to herself. They wanted other students to know they shouldn't stay quiet if something is bothering them. "We want them not to try to handle something themselves. They need to talk to people," Leora said. "I hope everyone in my family knows from this happening that they have somebody they can come to," Ashley's aunt Catrina Riley said.
Ashley's family remembered her for what made her happy; they said she loved children and animals. She wanted to be a veterinarian.
And if her mother could see her again, she said: "I probably wouldn't say anything. I'd just grab her and never let go." "She was my first niece. We all loved her very much," Riley said.
The Harrison County Sheriff's Department is investigating Ashley's case. Officials said the investigation could take a long time, and don't know if they will file charges.
Harrison County students wore pink and purple to school in honor of Ashley Tuesday.
Ashley's viewing will be Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m. at Davis Funeral Home in Clarksburg. Her funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m