'Racist Bullying': 13-year-old Chinese Adopted Girl Commits Suicide in Ohio
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Ohio couple says racist bullying made 13-year-old adopted Chinese daughter kill herself.
Fairfield Twp. parents trying to sort out daughter's untimely death
(WCPO) FAIRFIELD TWP., Ohio -- A Fairfield Township family is struggling for answers after the untimely death of their daughter. The girl's friends claim she was bullied in school, but the school says it was never reported.
Emilie Grace Olsen, 13, killed herself last Thursday.
Mark and Cindy Olsen adopted Emilie from China in 2002.
"She was from southeast China," Marc Olsen said. "We filed the paperwork to adopt her two years before she was born. We traveled to China, we brought her home, and she was our daughter. We loved her from day one."
The Olsens said there were challenges. Emilie would not talk with them about how she was feeling though Cindy said her daughter was happy in the fifth grade.
"When she walked into her classroom, she told me the kids would call her names and try to trip her ... that was in sixth grade," Cindy said. "I said, 'How do you handle that?' she just said, 'I just keep walking and go to my desk.'"
"So then we go to seventh grade and some of those kids are still there, but now there's even more of them calling her names ... being mean to her."
Friends and family walked throughout Emilie's neighborhood Sunday night to show their support.
Watch the video in the player above to see the community rally for Emilie and her family.
The Fairfield Township community is the last place many of those who attended the candlelight vigil saw Emilie Grace Olsen alive.“I saw her on the bus that day like 20 minutes before she did it,” fellow student Mikaila Marcerl said. “I wish I could've stopped it.”
Mikaila said she knew Emilie as a happy person, a girl who enjoyed playing on the volleyball team at Fairfield Middle School and hanging with her friends."She always had a smile on her face. She never showed her emotions. She was always Happy Emilie,” she said. “You would never guess that this was going to happen."
The Rev. Scott Swelbar, pastor at Community Christian Church, the same church Emilie attended with her family, was also at the event. He joined dozens of other who sang "Amazing Grace" and prayed during a walk through the neighborhood to Emile's house.
"It's hard to comfort anybody during a time like this because there's a lot of unknowns,” said Swelbar, who will officiate a memorial service in Emilie’s honor Friday nightat his church. "The key for our whole community is just showing and expressing our love, making sure these kids know they are loved and there are people that care about them."
Participants, which included dozens of Emilie’s friends and their parents, released balloons that had personalized notes written on them. Each contained a message of love and support for Emilie and her family.
While it’s unclear what led Emilie to make the decision she did, friends say the teen had been bullied for at least a year. They said the bullying at school ranged from verbal insults to physical attacks.
“She was bullied at school and I thought she talked to her counselors. I guess she just couldn't take it,” Mikaila said. "Nobody deserves to go through that ever. They called her fat and ugly, saying that kind of stuff.”
Marc said the school never notified him that bullying was taking place. IfEmilie met with school counselors, no one from the school ever contacted her parents, he added.
The Fairfield school district released a statement Monday, saying Emilie did not self-report any bullying nor did any other kids if they saw something, notify a staff member.
No one from Fairfield Middle School has been available for further comment.
"I want to believe them ... I spoke to the principal this morning. He called me back. I believe what he told me, however, I'm getting conflicting stories," Marc said. "I believe there is something more to it and that's what I want to find out."
"Ijust want answers. I just want to know the truth. To me, the truth has no agenda. It is what it is and my daughter deserves that."
A school resource officer from the Fairfield Police Department is examining the incident. Police say while many rumors around Emilie's death are going around, they're working to separate fact from fiction.
Emilie's funeral service is set for Friday.