'I feel like I failed her'; after losing niece to suicide, woman - KMOV.com

'I feel like I failed her'; after losing niece to suicide, woman urges communication

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Family of 14 year-old Rebecca Miller speaks to News 4 about her death ( Credit : KMOV) Family of 14 year-old Rebecca Miller speaks to News 4 about her death ( Credit : KMOV)
Talking to your Kids About Suicide 2 Talking to your Kids About Suicide 2
Talking to your Kids About Suicide Talking to your Kids About Suicide
GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

"I feel like I failed her," said Stacy DeRienzo. "She was hurting and I wasn't there, I didn't know she was hurting."

Stacy DeRienzo is dealing with the sudden loss of her niece, Rebecca Miller. The 14-year-old took her own life Wednesday morning.

"It came as a shock to us all," said DeRienzo. "It was a different side of her that none of us knew."

DeRienzo told News 4 her niece was using a cell phone to play online games, apps that allowed her to communicate with people she didn't know. 

Soon, she was giving her phone number out, and that's when things took a turn for the worst."

"I have no idea what their conversations were," said DeRienzo "I just know that it was a different world for her while she was experiencing it. Then something happened that turned her world upside down."

Miller was a straight-A student at Granite City High School. The district has had grief counselors on hand to help kids cope with what happened.

"We want to try to be proactive," said Granite City Schools Superintendent Jim Greenwald. "We want to try to be compassionate, caring to let everyone know that we're here to help."

Granite City Schools Superintendent Jim Greenwald told News 4 he and his staff encourage parents to open lines of communication with their kids by letting them know touchy topics like contemplating suicide can be discussed at home.

"Sometimes, the toughest thing to do is to take that first step to talk to somebody," said Greenwald.

"She needed us, we didn't know to ask," said DeRienzo. "We didn't know she had a different life that we weren't aware of."

As DeRienzo reflects on Rebecca's life, she has a message for anyone thinking about taking their own life.

"I just don't want her death to be in vain," said DeRienzo. "If you can't find somebody to talk to, call me. I care, I really do."

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