April 8, 2013

What Kitty McGuire left behind: happy memories, many questions

The 13-year-old's family points to reports of bullying and her grief over a beloved uncle's suicide, but struggle to understand why she took her life.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 4)

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Aunts and uncles of Kitty McGuire talk about their 13-year-old niece, who took her life last month in Troy. From left, Bobbi Pelletier and Michael McGuire join Hannah and Timothy McGuire at the couple's home in Bangor. They hope that when police obtain access to Kitty's messages on her iPod, it may yield some answer to the mystery of what triggered her suicide.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Kitty McGuire

Photo McGuire family

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Carrie Horne, assistant director of the Maine division of National Alliance on Mental Illness, a nonprofit agency, said suicide very rarely comes without some sort of warning.

"Most of the time, 90 percent of the time, people show signs of suicide before they are going to kill themselves," Horne said.

Horne said there are imminent signs to watch for:

Making threats, even vague threats, such as "I wish I was dead" or "What's the point of living?"

Looking for ways to carry out a suicide plan, such as looking for a firearm or rope.

Writing about death, texting about death or suicide or drawing pictures of suicide.

Other signs include moodiness, sadness, irritability, anger, withdrawing from friends and family, changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia or sleeping too much, feeling hopeless or feeling trapped.

Horne said people who feel suicidal or are worried about a loved one should call the state mental health crisis number, 1-888-568-1112.

-- From staff reports

"We've had a policy in place on bullying for a very long time," Perry said.

At the beginning of the school year in September, the school district expanded its policy with a mandatory form and reporting system.

"This has to be filled out for any allegation of bullying. It doesn't matter if it is founded or unfounded," Perry said, holding up a report form.

After an allegation is reported, by anyone from a school custodian to a coach or faculty member, a guidance counselor or school administrator must then investigate and complete an investigation form.

Since the process has been in place, fewer than 10 bullying allegations have been reported each month. The average has been about five allegations a month, Perry said.

But while the investigations continue, Kitty's family still doesn't have any answers for why she would have done something so drastic.

"We'd like some closure," her grandfather said. "We're tentatively looking toward holding a memorial for Kitty."

But to bring that closure, they need answers.

Her aunt Hannah said the family's best hope now is that the sheriff's office finds a message or some exchange on social media retrieved from Kitty's iPod, someone's words, either from Kitty or someone else that could help make sense of what happened.

"I hope they find something," Hannah said.

Until then, they cling to memories of Kitty's distinct personality, quirkiness and clever pranks.

"She was so sweet, she'd curl up on the couch with us," her aunt Bobbi recalled.

Her uncle Michael said he would remember the messages Kitty would leave for him to find, to cheer him up.

"I had this big mirror in the bathroom, we had this car window marker and she'd leave me these little messages," Michael recalled.

He said she would also play pranks on him, like turning all his pictures upside down while he wasn't looking.

A little reminder that she had been there. 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at


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Additional Photos

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Michael McGuire, one of Kitty’s uncles, remembers the messages she would write to him on his bathroom mirror to cheer him up. She also delighted in playing pranks on him.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Bobbi Pelletier, an aunt of Kitty McGuire, says, “She was so sweet, she’d curl up on the couch with us.” She says Kitty, having just turned 13, was trying to find herself.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Kitty McGuire holds the bouquet she caught at the wedding of Timothy and Hannah McGuire three years ago. She was always the one who caught wedding bouquets, the couple said.

Family photo

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Heather Perry


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