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Vigil Canceled For Westchester Native Who Jumped To Her Death From Danbury Mall Parking Garage

Hailey Nailor
Hailey Nailor Photo Credit: Facebook/Maria Garcia

A vigil that was planned for Danbury Fair Mall in memory of a high school student who died after jumping from the fifth floor of the parking garage there has been canceled due to concerns of unduly influencing other teens. 

Hailey Nailor, 16, a Westchester native who lived in Danbury, had reportedly contemplated her decision to jump or not while on Snapchat.

"It's really a tragedy," said Danbury Police Det. Lt. Mark Williams.

The vigil, which was planned for Saturday, Feb. 16 by her friend Maria Garcia of Putnam as a way to show that Hailey had been loved, was canceled after Garcia said she was contacted by a mental health professional working with the family.

"Unfortunately, I am not able to hold it out of respect and the wishes of her parents which I’m totally okay with," said Garcia. "I thought it would be a nice idea to show Hailey how many people care about her. But it’s OK, I wanna respect her parents through this difficult time."

Dr. Doreen Marshall, with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said dealing with teens particularly following a suicide is an important step for parents or mental health professionals.

"Teens are more likely to talk with each about suicidal feelings or thoughts," she said.

They are also more likely to experience the “contagion effect,” in which a group memorial actually spurs someone already thinking of suicide to take action.

But, parents should not ignore the topic with their children, Marshall said. 

"They should talk with the children about the event and how they feel," she said. Another important point in the discussion includes asking them if they have any friends who have talked about taking their life. By asking, it offers the teen a way to open up about their feelings and those they know. Then the parent can find out if additional help is needed.

"A lot of times people with an idea of suicide in their mind will read or hear about another one and take action," she said.

That's why the organization stresses that the method and place the suicide takes place not to be published or written about in the media.

Teens can also show their love or grief of the teen's passing by taking part in other celebratory type actions such as suicide prevention walks or mental health fundraising efforts. 

Nailor, who was born in White Plains, but lived most of her life in Danbury, had suffered from mental issues for several years, according to multiple sources. 

The teen had been committed to the Danbury Hospital psychiatric unit just 24 hours before her death and the Department of Children and Families had reportedly been involved.

In response to her death, Danbury High School will have counselors and support staff on hand for any student in need, Danbury School District Superintendent of Schools Sal Pascarella said.

"I would like for people to know that mental health plays a big role in a lot of suicides and unfortunately that also played a big role in Haileys," said Garcia, of Putnam Valley. "I will miss you forever Hailey and I’m truly sorry to anyone who was close to her and I’m sorry for her parents your an amazing girl Hailey you’ll forever be missed I love you."

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