In social settings, Addie Cross liked to be off to the side, away from the attention. Unless someone needed a laugh.

Then the Thornton Academy freshman was front and center.

Addie Cross Contributed photo by Siobhan Bogle

Addie, 14, was “happy to just sit in the back and be an observer,” said the teen’s mother, Sarah Truman. “But if someone needed a smile,” Truman said, Addie “was there for them, in a silly, goofy way.”

Addie, who used the pronoun they, died at their father’s house in Windsor on the night of Dec. 10.

A family friend who was involved in the autopsy at the Maine medical examiner’s office told Addie’s parents that the teen had died in their sleep, likely from acetaminophen poisoning, but no official cause of death has been released.

Truman and Willis Cross, Addie’s father, said they were told the death was likely accidental. The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.


Addie’s mother said her child was not trying to die. “This was a complete accident.”

Truman, who lives in Saco, said Addie’s phone had a video of her child holding pills at school on Dec. 9. Truman said she didn’t know why Addie took them.

“The biggest message that I really want to send to everybody is don’t do stupid stuff,” she said. “If you think someone is doing something to hurt themselves, or doing a stupid prank or whatever, and you’re afraid that that is not going to bode well, … speak up. Tell somebody.”

Truman said the loss has been devastating for the family and she feels like Addie was failed by a lot of people. “I’m having a really hard time reconciling that right now.”

“I just miss all the funny jokes,” she said. Addie was “super sarcastic, but most of the time in a very nice way.”

Truman said she had a great relationship with Addie, who said they loved her every morning and every night before they went to bed.


Addie’s father’s voice trembled as he talked about his child’s death.

Addie Cross graduated from Saco Middle School this year. Family photo

Addie “cared about everybody,” he said. Addie usually stayed with him in Windsor on weekends.

Addie “was so open with me,” Cross said, describing his child as “a chip off the old block.”

Truman said Addie struggled with anxiety and had been seeing a counselor since the summer of 2021, as well as a social worker at school.

“A big struggle with Addison was trying to fit in. … trying to find a fit,” Cross said. Addie “was struggling with that.”

In a statement Friday, Thornton Academy Headmaster Rene Menard described Addie, who was also called “Zee” by friends, as “a very special, caring person,” and said the school is offering counseling for students and staff and checking in on Addie’s closest friends.



“This has been an extremely difficult week for the Thornton Academy community,” he wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zee’s family and friends.”

Tiffany and Charlie Guthrie of Queens Creek, Arizona, whose daughter Chloe was a close friend of Addie’s, said in a text message Friday that “Addie was and is very loved.”

Addie visited the Guthries for two weeks this past summer.

“They quickly became a part of our family and could light up any room they walked into. Addie was such a good friend and sweet human. We are devastated and heartbroken,” the Guthries said.

Addie’s family described a person who could be painfully shy one moment, and a ball of energy the next. One who hated playing sports, but loved skateboarding. One who loved plants and animals.


“Addie would swear (they) had social anxiety and couldn’t talk to strangers and couldn’t talk on the phone,” said Lisa McGrotty, Addie’s aunt. But the teen “would talk to everybody and anybody, especially if there were kids or animals around.”

Addie found a hurt bird once and immediately went on a mission to help, she said.

Addie “called the warden service and made arrangements and got it all taken care of to get this bird to a bird sanctuary – but claimed crippling phone anxiety.”


Exaggeration, McGrotty said, was one of Addie’s favorite tools.

Addie was “always so tired, until there was an opportunity to do something and then all of a sudden … had all the energy in the world,” she said. Addie felt everything in the extremes – and feeling snacky became dying of hunger.


Addie loved drag queens – and made a trip to Provincetown this summer with a grandmother to see some drag shows – as well as library trips and music.

Car rides featured dance parties and head-banging to the music.

Those trips were fun. They were also moments of candor, Cross said.

“Our closest talks were in that car,” he said.

On Addie’s last night, Cross made strawberry jello.

“I opened the door and I said ‘Baby, I made you some strawberry jello,’ ” he said. Addie said “Oh, I love strawberry jello! ”

Addie’s family saw that enthusiasm often.

Addie “just found the people that needed a friend, and would be their friend,” Truman said.

Cross said his child was “adamant that you be kind to people.”

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