Jaylee Chillson was a 14-year-old Kansas girl who shot herself in front of a Cloud County sheriff’s deputy who found her at a party on September 16, 2023. She died shortly after midnight on September 17, according to police, and her parents have since revealed that Jaylee faced ongoing bullying in her community.
Jaylee “was believed to have run away, and was thought to be attending a party,” according to a press release from the Cloud County Sheriff’s Office. The release did not name the minor, but her name was published by multiple outlets in the days following her death.
According to DailyMail.com, Jaylee’s parents accused the school district of not doing enough to stop her from being bullied. “She came home with ‘bruises on her arms,’ had a flammable substance rubbed into her hair, and moved from Clay County Centre High School to Wakefield in a bid to stop the bullying,” the family told the outlet.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sheriff’s Officials Say Jaylee Chillson Shot Herself After a Deputy Located Her at a Party
In a press release, the Cloud County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was conducting a death investigation along with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation “after a shooting occurred Saturday night at a party in rural Cloud County.”
According to the press release:
On Saturday, Sept. 16, at around 11:25 p.m., a Clay Center resident called the Cloud County Sheriff’s Office to request help locating a family member who was a 14-year-old female. The girl was believed to have run away and was thought to be attending a party near Aurora, Kansas.
A deputy responded to the outdoor field party that was attended by college and high school students, occurring near 210th Rd. and Lark Rd., in Aurora. The deputy located the girl, and tried to convince her to return to her family. He was escorting her to his patrol vehicle, when she pulled out a firearm and shot herself. The deputy did not draw his firearm.
The sheriff’s deputy and an off-duty firefighter attempted life-saving measures, but the girl was pronounced dead at the scene, shortly after midnight.
Jaylee’s father, Jeb Chillson, told The Messenger, “She didn’t actually run away. She just left without permission. It wasn’t like she packed a bag or anything.”
According to DailyMail.com, Chillson said he called the sheriff’s office after tracking Jaylee down at the party, which she had been told she was not allowed to attend.
Chillson told The Messenger that he and his wife Stacie Chillson “had been worried about their daughter, who had a history of being bullied in their rural community, because they believed she may have left home with a 20-year-old-male,” according to the outlet.
Rather than go into the party himself, Chillson told The Messenger he called the police after another partygoer been unable to find Jaylee for him. Chillson told the outlet he asked to go into the party with the responding deputy but was told to wait outside.
A former EMT, Chillson heard a gunshot, he told DailyMail.com, which quoted him as saying, “I heard people talking about a gun. I hear a gunshot ring out, and I call the dispatch and ask if their deputy shot, and they said no, but they hear reports of shots fired.”
Chillson told DailyMail.com:
They told me not to go in there, but I said used to be an EMT, I can help. When I got closer, they told me that there was a girl shot, so I took off running.
I see my daughter on the ground, being held up by one of the party goes. As I come up to the deputy, he tells me that she pulled the gun out and shot herself as he was going over to her.
2. Jaylee Chillson’s Mother Wrote That the Family’s ‘World Has Stopped Spinning’
Stacie Chillson has shared photos and other posts about her daughter on Facebook.
“Our family would like to start out by saying we are truly grateful for the immense amount of love and support we’ve been given over the last few days. The prayers that have been spoken into life for our Jaylee and our family, the meals, all the organization and work our friends, family, and community has done to try and make our family feel less weight,” Stacie Chillson wrote on Facebook.
“We just can’t find words to convey how truly grateful we are. Everyone keeps asking if there is anything they can do for us, please pray. Please pray for her, pray that she looks down and sees how many people love her so much,” her post continued.
“Please pray for our family. I don’t know what to ask for in those prayers, I only know our world has stopped spinning, but we ultimately know that the Lord, prayer, and faith is what will bring us home to our sweet girl one day,” she added.
3. Jaylee Chillson, Who Wanted to Be a Diesel Mechanic, Was Active in Her Church Youth Group
Jaylee was born on March 11, 2009, in Manhattan, “the daughter of Jeb and Stacie (Thomas) Chillson,” her obituary says.
“Jaylee was raised in Clay Center. She enjoyed spending time outside in nature hunting, fishing, and camping. Softball was another favorite activity for Jaylee, spending many hours on the field practicing and playing. She also enjoyed riding with her father in the semi. Her goal was to be a diesel mechanic. Jaylee was active in the Evangelical Covenant Church and the church youth group.”
According to the obituary, Jaylee also had four brothers.
4. Jaylee Chillson’s Mom Asked People to ‘Share Her Story’ to Help Combat Bullying
In a September 21 Facebook post, Stacie Chillson asked people to share Jaylee’s story to combat youth bullying.
“We ask you say her name, share her story, and do absolutely everything in your power to stand up to the dark, hateful, cruel people of this world. You will continue to see our daughters name. We will use her legacy to find ways to combat the pandemic of young people being affected by intense social pressures and harassment,” she wrote.
“The hardest thing to ask for is help financially. It’s difficult to share this. We just want to give her the best. We want to give her the most beautiful arrangements and a monument for her resting place fit for an angel. Because she deserved it all in this life and we will make sure she gets all she deserves now. Until we meet again, sweet Jaylee.”
She shared a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for funeral costs.
5. Jaylee Chillson’s Mom Says Friends & Adults Played a Part ‘in Crushing Her’
Stacie Chillson also wrote on Facebook that the world “lost one of its brightest lights. This girl has the biggest heart of anyone I know and has since she was just a little girl. There wasn’t a day that went by that she couldn’t make you laugh till you couldn’t breathe. She is amazing. Perfect,” she wrote.
“Everything you could ever ask for in a daughter. She’s beautiful. She’s smart. She is our everything. Our hearts our shattering. It’s unbearable. It’s not fair. She was our best friend. The best daughter. The best big sister. The best granddaughter. There is nothing that will ever make this hurt go away.”
I’m also angry. I’m angry with those that hurt my baby. I’m furious with those I KNOW hurt her and will talk about her now like they didn’t play a part in crushing her. I’ve read days worth of messages from her ‘friends’ that treated her absolutely awful. Watched as she was not included with girls on her sports teams. Watched adults on a school level repeatedly fail her. Watched as girls that were once her best friends not even acknowledge her when she would walk by them, and watch a handful of parents who used to gush about her and how amazing she was turn to calling her names and talking badly about her to their kids. No one outside of our family and her therapist know what the last year of her life has been like. Please stop making assumptions, please don’t judge her. And please do not, if you know YOU were part of the problem, if you knew YOUR child was part of the problem, use my daughters name now that she’s gone. You don’t deserve to.
She deserved everything she ever could have wanted in this world. We love you with all our heart and soul our sweet baby girl. We love you more than anything
One person shared on Facebook:
Jaylee Chillson was a 3rd grader when I met her. I got to spend every single day of that school year with her. She was smart, quirky, funny and kind she loves cats, animals and her family.
Her mom has shared with me a bit about her throughout her years. I know she was loved so immensely, so deeply, so completely. SHE WAS LOVED. I loved her. Her family loved her and people I will never know loved her.
I was saddened a few years ago, to hear of how her peers treated her ….. bullied her. Her family always did their best to help her, ALWAYS.
Our young people are the most important..they matter.
BE KIND. It matters.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to reach the toll-free Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (dial 888-628-9454 for assistance in Spanish). You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor anytime by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.
READ NEXT: Jimmy Buffett’s Wife, Jane Slagsvol