SC 12-year-old girl found dead, classmates point to bullying - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

SC 12-year-old girl found dead, classmates point to bullying

Posted: Updated:
Twelve-year-old Celeste Wills Twelve-year-old Celeste Wills
BEAUFORT, SC - Twelve-year-old Celeste Wills was found dead at her home Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities are not saying how she died or whether bullying was behind her death, but classmates and family paid tribute to the young girl in a vigil at Robert Smalls Middle School in Beaufort.  

"She was a great friend. She had a great personality, and I loved her laugh," Emalee Payne says. 

In honor of her friend and classmate, Payne wore the slogan 'Bullying Stops Here' on her shirt to her late friend's vigil. 

"It just kind of reminded me of her, and what I thought she went through, and kind of what I went through," Payne says. 

Payne believes that if it weren't for bullying behind these walls, her sixth grade companion would not have taken her life. 

"I think it was bullying and just her struggle through life," she says. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says Wills was found dead in her home on Wednesday afternoon, though they will not say how she died. The family called Community Bible Church Pastor Ed Vernoy for counsel. 

"There's nothing that we can point a finger at, nothing we can lay the blame on," Vernoy says of Wills' death. 

The school district will not confirm or deny it either, and kept News 3 from speaking with the family in the vigil. 

"The bullying hasn't stopped," Payne says. "For example, Celeste. She took her life 'cause she was bullied, and that's no way to resolve a problem."

However, Payne says bullying at the middle school runs rampant, and did not exclude her friend. Talk of bullying on Facebook involved Wills' mother, too. Earlier Thursday, she changed her profile picture to match the icon Payne sported on her shirt, 'Bullying Stops Here.' It's a message Payne likes to think Wills is smiling down on. 

"She'd say 'You're my best friend and we'll always be together,'" Payne says. 

She left a note for Celeste Wills for a quilt the school district will gift to the Wills family. She leaves a plea to end the cruelty in bullying she knows too well. 

"It really hurts on the inside, and the bully never really knows what's going to happen to the person. So they shouldn't bully," Payne says. 

As the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate, News 3 will bring you the latest information. The school district says Celeste Wills was an honor student, a musically gifted student, an office helper, and a friend.
Zip Code Weather!
Get a local weather report and a 10-day forecast by typing in your zip code!
  • Clemson opens fall practice in Upstate

    Clemson opens fall practice in Upstate

    Friday, August 1 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-08-02 02:13:05 GMT
    Clemson, S.C.---Clemson opened fall football practice on Friday and the August 1 date tied for the earliest first day of practice in the school’s football history. (Clemson also started on August 1 in 2008). The temperature was unseasonably cool, and it felt more like October 1 than August 1.It led to a spirited first practice for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers, who open the season August 30 at Georgia. “I don’t know what is going on with the weather,” said Swinney. “Today’s temperatures made for a ...
    Clemson, S.C.---Clemson opened fall football practice on Friday and the August 1 date tied for the earliest first day of practice in the school’s football history. (Clemson also started on August 1 in 2008). The temperature was unseasonably cool, and it felt more like October 1 than August 1.It led to a spirited first practice for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers, who open the season August 30 at Georgia. “I don’t know what is going on with the weather,” said Swinney. “Today’s temperatures made for a ...
  • S Carolina opens practice with high expectations

    S Carolina opens practice with high expectations

    Friday, August 1 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-08-02 02:11:36 GMT
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina has opened its first practice of fall camp with a lot of expectations, but not a lot of superstars.Friday's drills were a typical opening practice for coach Steve Spurrier. He had something to complain about - both centers botched snaps. He also had praise for his backup quarterback Connor Mitch, who Spurrier said looked as if he practiced over the summer.The Gamecocks are coming off an 11-2 season and have been picked to win their division in the Southeas...
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina has opened its first practice of fall camp with a lot of expectations, but not a lot of superstars.Friday's drills were a typical opening practice for coach Steve Spurrier. He had something to complain about - both centers botched snaps. He also had praise for his backup quarterback Connor Mitch, who Spurrier said looked as if he practiced over the summer.The Gamecocks are coming off an 11-2 season and have been picked to win their division in the Southeas...
  • Police investigating robbery in North Charleston

    Police investigating robbery in North Charleston

    Police investigating robbery in North Charleston

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:26 PM EDT2014-08-02 01:26:20 GMT
    Authorities are currently investigating a robbery in North Charleston. According to dispatchers, North Charleston Police Department responded to the CVS Pharmacy at 8995 University Blvd in reference to a robbery at 9pm Friday night. Details very limited at this time but according to viewers in the area, about 7 police vehicles are on scene. We have a crew in route and will bring you the latest as it becomes available both here on counton2.com and on-air.
    Authorities are currently investigating a robbery in North Charleston. According to dispatchers, North Charleston Police Department responded to the CVS Pharmacy at 8995 University Blvd in reference to a robbery at 9pm Friday night. Details very limited at this time but according to viewers in the area, about 7 police vehicles are on scene. We have a crew in route and will bring you the latest as it becomes available both here on counton2.com and on-air.
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.