Ashley Riggitano‘s suicidal jump off the George Washington Bridge on Wednesday shocked commuters who watched the young fashionista leap to her death. Since then it has emerged that she left a suicide note identifying a group of frenemies — including one who dared her to kill herself.
Here’s what you should know about this New Jersey native with a promising future whose life ended in a very public tragedy.
1. She Interned For Designer Alex Woo
Before her death, Ashley Riggitano worked as a PR intern for jewelry and fashion designer Alex Woo. She began her internship back in January and came to the office two days a week. Woo spoke with the DailyMail about how everyone in the company was shocked by the news:
She always had a smile one her face, she didn’t look depressed.
Woo said Ashley was given an offer to join her and the team for a major trade show but called in sick. She also mentioned how ambitious she was in learning the fashion business. Her LinkedIn page shows she had also interned for Nicole Miller, Tommy Hilfiger and Anthropologie.
2. Ashley Graduated from College this Year
The aspiring designer graduated last month from the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising in Manhattan. LIM issued a statement about the sudden death of one of its students:
The entire LIM College community is saddened by the loss of Ashley. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.
3. She Started Her Own Business Called Missfits
The 22-year-old fashionista started her own business called Missfits with her business partner and friend Victoria Van Thunen. According to the company website, the two partners were selling hand-crafted bracelets made of gemstones. The company had also raised some money for a young man in New Jersey who’s been battling with cancer.
4. Her Best Friend Dissed Her on Facebook — AFTER Her Death
The New York Post reported that Ashley’s business partner Victoria Van Thunen ranted on her Facebook page about her best friend’s death, blaming Ashley for her own demise. She wrote:
Those who incessantly blame others as the cause of their issues should perhaps take a step back and reevaluate these situations. The common thread may be that “they” aren’t the problem, but rather that YOU are.
5. She Left a “Grudge List” of Friends Who Were Banned from Her Funeral
After Riggitano’s death, authorities retrieved a “suicide diary” that was found in her Louis Vuitton handbag. The Post reported that the list contained the names of five girls who aren’t allowed to attend her funeral. The list included her friends Alison Tinari, Teresa Castaldo, Beth Bassil, Riggitano’s best friend and business partner Victoria Van Thunen, and Samantha Horneff.
She described in those pages the torment she faced from these five women. She also wrote about a guy she knew who didn’t treat her right and invited him to the funeral. She hoped that he “gets what he deserves” when he comes. Apparently the people she mentioned in the diary were friends or colleagues from work who bullied her.
6. This Wasn’t Her First Time Attempting Suicide
The Post also reported that Ashley may have had a history of emotional issues and tried to commit suicide before.
7. Her Bag Was Full of Prescription Pills
Ashley left her bag at the bridge before her suicide. When the authorities retrieved it, they found some medication, which included Adderall and Klonopin. Adderall is used for treating hyperactivity disorder while Klonopin is used in controlling seizures on epilepsy and panic attacks. But Adderall is often abused as a stimulant, and Klonopin is also taken recreationally.
8. A Friend Told Her to “Kill Yourself on Xanax”
One of Ashley’s friends argued with her last month over Facebook, saying she’s crazy, according to the Post. Alison Tinari sent a message to Ashley’s Facebook telling her to overdose herself:
Go try to kill yourself on Xanax again, you unstable loser. Go f*ck yourself and never speak to me again.
The argument between Ashley and Tinari was over Tinari’s relationship with Riggitano’s boyfriend, aspiring race car driver Drew Heissenbuttel. “It’s really horrible what happened. I feel really bad for her family. It’s crazy. I feel really bad for her. I never went after her; she went after me,” Tinari told The Post.
9. The Suicide Took Place on Ashley’s Birthday
Riggitano’s suicide took place on her 22nd birthday, according to the site Cliffview pilot. Most of the early reports failed to mention it, making the suicide even more tragic.
10. She Was the Daughter of a CFO
Ashley Riggitano was raised in Paramus, New Jersey, with her two parents. Her father, Roy Riggitano, turns out to be the chief financial officer of Elmwood Park, according to NewJersey.com. The family has yet to comment on the tragedy.