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Tonight: Vigil Planned for Teen Sydney Rohde

More than 750 students have been invited to a candlelight memorial for the Aliso Niguel High sophomore, who may have jumped from a parking structure Saturday. The school's principal recalls her as "a wonderful young lady."

In the wake of a 15-year-old Aliso Niguel High girl's apparent suicide last weekend, two classmates have begun organizing a candlelight vigil.

Meanwhile, school officials said they were stunned by the death, calling victim Sydney Rohde "a wonderful young lady" who was admired by teachers.

after reportedly jumping from a parking structure in Aliso Viejo, sheriff's officials said. She was found around 1:30 a.m. Saturday near the structure at 130 Vantis, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

However, the coroner ordered toxicology tests and the case is still under investigation, he said.

Vigil organizer Nathan, 16, who asked that his last name not be used, said he was confused and saddened by the death: "A friend texted me what happened and I still can’t believe it. You always hear about these things, but never think it's gonna happen to someone you know or so close to home. ... I was just in Aliso on Saturday night at the movies with my dad, not far from the parking structure."

Although school principal Chris Carter said the death "came out of the blue," two students who asked to remain anonymous said Rohde may have been bullied by some peers because of a stuttering problem. However, Patch wasn't immediately able to confirm that information.

Nathan said he would always remember Rohde as the quiet, shy girl he knew in elementary and middle school.

He and friend Krissana have planned a candlelight vigil for Rohde at 9 p.m. Saturday near the parking structure.

"We've invited more than 750 students from the class and we will light memorial candles near the sidewalk near the structure," he said. "We wanted to do something for the family."

Aliso Niguel Principal Carter described Rohde as a good student who was "focused" and "had a group of friends."

"She was a wonderful young lady whose teachers thought the world of her," Carter said. "We have been in touch with her parents, who are understandably devastated."

He said the Rohde family would hold its own memorial in Northern California, where the family lived before moving to Aliso Viejo.

Amormino said toxicology test results would take six to eight weeks.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story quoted sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino saying the death had been confirmed as a suicide. He now says the cause is officially still under investigation.

David June 27, 2012 at 03:30 AM
I had a feeling that bullying would be revealed as a cause for this young girl taking her own life. I'm sure the degenerates who were making fun of her stutter, will grow up to become belligerent adults.
Kelly Mitchell June 27, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Teen suicide is a reality. We need to educate our children and let them know it should never be an option. My prayers go out to her family and friends.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 09:37 PM
@David: I would have to agree with you. Bullying is indeed an epidemic that needs much attention.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 09:37 PM
@Kelly: We do need to educate kids better, but they also need to respect one another.
Joy Robinson June 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM
This story breaks my heart. If you are a kid struggling with tough issues, please reach out to a trusted adult who can help you get plugged in to the many resources available in our community. Author Danielle Tiano has a series of books dealing with teens and technology, including bullying ("Don't Hit Send Just to Fit In," available on Amazon); the radKIDS program teaches self-worth through defensive strategies meant to ward off bullies and predators (radkids.org); and the Birds & Bees Connection offers wonderful courses to both parents and kids covering developmental issues, like self-esteem, healthy choices, and the importance of a positive peer group (birdsnbeesconnection.com), just to name a few resouces.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM
@Joy: Thanks for your insights, and I agree.
Liz Siegel June 28, 2012 at 01:12 AM
My heart breaks for the family, how terribly senseless and tragic.
Lucky June 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM
How sad for that young girl to die so young! How sad that she thought that was her only option. My prayers go out to her family and friends. I feel nothing it that bad where you feel it's time to die. It CAN be fixed. Rebember YOLO:) YOLO means.....You Only Live Once. -Thanx
The truth June 28, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Sydney did not have a stuttering problem and bullying was not to blame. Please out of respect for people who know the truth do not turn this death into a "bullying epidemic" story because it is not the truth in this case. Bullying is terrible, however many children have problems that do not involve bullying and if society focuses on the "bullying epidemic" other serious reasons for a tradegy such as this could be missed.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 04:46 PM
@ Truth: Were you friends with her?
Joe Bil June 28, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Why does everyone think that this is suicide? According to this article the cause of death is still under investigation.
shaun June 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Yo "The Truth" David was just going off what the article stated. "Although school principal Chris Carter said the death "came out of the blue," two students who asked to remain anonymous said Rohde may have been bullied by some peers because of a stuttering problem. However, Patch wasn't immediately able to confirm that information."
Dylan July 01, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Bullying was not the cause of death, according to many of her closest friends. She was just fed up, apparently.
Jan Martin July 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
The public may never know the truth, considering the stigma that surrounds the issue of suspected suicide. Speaking as someone who lost a friend to teen-suicide (many years ago), I offer my sincere condolences to all who knew Sydney.

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