BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Islanders gathered at Waterfront Park Oct. 25 for a candlelight vigil to remember Audrey Hickey, 15, who was found dead of apparent suicide the previous day near Bainbridge High School.
An intense islandwide search took place from late Oct. 23 until the following day, when her body was found. She was last seen by a teacher on campus at 11 a.m. Oct. 23. She had struggled with depression and was considered at risk, family friend Deborah Crews said.
Her message to Audrey during the search: “You’re part of this community. You’re loved. Come back.”
Members of the community posted fliers throughout the island and in Poulsbo, viewed surveillance footage from the high school and ferry landing, and noted on the Facebook page the areas where they’d searched. Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner urged residents to call 911 with any possible information on Audrey’s whereabouts.
But the next day, a coordinator of the “Bainbridge Islanders Searching for Audrey” Facebook page reported on the site: “We have been asked to pass along a very sad message to you all. I am sorry to inform you all that Audrey has been found, but not under the circumstances we all hoped for. Her family wishes you all to know how grateful they are for the overwhelming support shown by this community. You all showed up. There isn’t really a greater gift than that.”
Crews described Audrey as a “gentle, kind soul,” someone given to writing thank-you notes to servers at restaurants when dining out, a former Girl Scout who loved art and books and horses.
Crews was one of six neighbors who searched the Grand Forest before dawn Oct. 24. “There were 30-plus people looking from 7 p.m. on” throughout the island, she said. “When we got back [from the Grand Forest], there was a push of people who wanted to help.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reports that people are available 24/7 to assist those who are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support. Call 1-800-273-8255 or go to suicide preventionlifeline.org.