Olivia Campbell, the 15-year-old girl whose mother, Charlotte, made heart-wrenching appearances on television in an effort to find her, has tragically died in the terrorist attack.
That sad word came from Charlotte Campbell, Olivia’s mother, on Facebook. “RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl Olivia Campbell taken far far to soon go sing with the angels and keep smiling mummy loves you so much,” she wrote on May 23.
The mother’s search, and her tears, helped symbolize the humanity behind the crushing tragedy, which took 22 lives and injured more than 59 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
Olivia’s grandfather wrote that the family had not received the information it was praying for about the young girl who liked to sing and who had expressed great excitement about the concert. On May 23, Olivia’s grandfather, Steve Goodman, tragically wrote on Facebook, “to all friends and family please stop posting now we have had the news we were dreading. Thank you all so much we love you. ??”
Goodman had written 15 hours before, “Facebook asks what’s on my mind. I NEED SOME NEWS OF MY YOUNGEST GRANDDAUGHTER OLIVIA OTHER THAN THAT MY MIND IS BLANK.”
Authorities now say that the attack was caused by a suicide bomber named Salman Abedi.
For hours, strangers around the world joined Charlotte Campbell in praying that her daughter, a Grande fan who had gone to the concert with her best friend, would turn up alive. Strangers wrote that they couldn’t sleep or were refreshing their computer screens constantly to find out what happened to the English teen with so much life left to live. Hope slowly faded and, sadly, it was not to be. This woman spoke for many:
If you want to help the families of all of the victims, the Manchester Evening News, a British newspaper, has established a major crowdfunding campaign.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Olivia’s Mother Took Repeatedly to the Airwaves Looking for Her Daughter
In heartbreaking television appearances that moved people throughout the world – many of whom constantly searched for news that Olivia was OK – Olivia’s mother, Charlotte, had asked people to look for the teen.
She spoke to the hosts of Good Morning Britain while Olivia was still missing, and said, “She’s not turned up yet. Calling the hospitals, the hotels where people say children have been taken. I’ve called the police. There’s no news. And I’ve just got to wait.”
She told CNN, “It’s the most horrible feeling ever. To know that your daughter’s there, and you can’t find her, and you don’t know if she’s dead or alive. I don’t know how people can do this to innocent children.”
Charlotte also had turned to social media. She wrote with this photo of Olivia, “Please share my daughter is still missing with no news on her.” CNN reported that Olivia was initially listed as missing person number 13 in the tragedy, and her mother told the network at that time, “We thought she would have just walked home by that point.”
The circumstances of Olivia’s death or how her family learned of her passing have not yet been revealed. People wrote on social media that Charlotte Campbell personified that symbol so many can relate to: A mother, or in the English parlance, “mum,” whose love for her daughter was absolute and shone through in every single heartbreaking TV appearance. If only Olivia would be found, people wrote over and over again, it would be something good to hold onto in what was a horrible, horrible day.
Now, strangers and friends alike have filled Charlotte’s page with prayers and love. “You’ve always supported love during the worlds horrific events. We all pray for you to any of you need anything I’m sure we can help you,” wrote one. Wrote another from far away, “Deepest condolences to you and your family on this horrible tragedy. I’m from Newfoundland Canada, and please know the world is mourning you loss and the loss of the other people in this senseless act. I saw you on the news and as a mom myself, I felt your pain. Your beautiful daughter is forever young with the angels, and forever safe.”
Wrote another woman, echoing the sentiments of many, “So So Sorry to hear for your loss. Ive been refreshing my newsfeed all day, hoping she was found safe and well. My heart has shattered into pieces? R.I.P Olivia!”
2. Olivia Was at the Concert With Her Best Friend, Who Was Found in the Hospital
There was early hope. Charlotte’s daughter had gone to the concert with a friend named Adam Lawler, and he was found alive in a hospital.
Charlotte Campbell told CNN that her daughter and Olivia’s best friend, Lawler, were excited and bought new clothes for the concert. “It’s ended in absolute carnage,” the frantic mother said.
Charlotte’s mother confirmed on television that Lawler was found in a hospital early on, but she said she didn’t know his condition. She was waiting at home to see if her daughter would show up.
On Facebook, Olivia had written that she went to Tottington Primary School and was in Tottington High School. She lived in Bury, England and was from Bury. Her page was filled with the fanciful posts of a typical teen. She shared a video of Disney films. She joked about bad teachers. She shared fun dessert ideas. She shared photos with friends.
Her stepfather told CNN that Olivia and her friend had gone to the concert to celebrate his birthday. He said that “Olivia liked to sing herself. She loved music,” reported CNN, quoting the stepfather as saying the Grande concert ticket “was like a dream come true to her.”
He had pledged to find the teen and bring her home.
3. Olivia Texted Her Mother From the Concert & Said She Was Having a ‘Great Time’
Olivia had texted her mother around 8:30 p.m. the night of the bombing, about two hours before it occurred.
The text said that the girl was having “an amazing time,” reports the New Yorker. Olivia “had also thanked her mother for letting her go to the concert,” according to the magazine, which said that Campbell’s father spent the night searching Manchester streets for the teen while her mother went on television and called hospitals.
They also tried desperately to reach the girl through her cell phone, but the phone’s battery had died, according to The New Yorker.
Charlotte was in bed when “she received a call from Olivia’s dad telling her about the incident at the arena,” reported The Mirror. He said, “There’s been a bomb at the Arena.” That began the arduous journey to find answers.
4. Many People, From Loved Ones to Strangers, Shared Campbell’s Missing Person Photos
Throughout the night, many people stayed glued to their computer screens, looking for information on whether Olivia was found.
A friend wrote on Facebook, “If any of Olivia Campbell friends hear from her please contact me or Charlotte Campbell she was at the concert in manchester and we cant get in touch with her thanks.”
Many people wrote that they couldn’t sleep because they were so troubled by the report of the missing girl.
“Can’t sleep bcuz I’m haunted by Charlotte Campbell searching for #OliviaCampbell in the #ManchesterArena tragedy. Praying she’s found safe,” one woman wrote.
For their part, as they mourn the victims, the people of Manchester have vowed not to give in to fear, even as the nation’s terrorism alert rose to critical.
Floral tributes grew, and leaders added their condolences. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and an investigation is underway to root out the influences of Abedi, a 22-year-old son of Libyan immigrants who was born in Manchester and who died in the suicide attack, which broke out as the concert was ending.
5. Other Victims of the Manchester Bombing Include an 8-year-old Girl & College Student
The names of the other victims are starting to be released. Among them: Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, and Georgina Callandar, an 18-year-old girl who was in college and was described as a super fan of Ariana Grande.
According to The Sun, “Twelve children under 16 were taken to hospital in a critical condition.”
In addition, John Atkinson, 26, has been named as one of the fatalities. Atkinson was remembered by friends as a true gentleman with a good soul.