21 Aug 2014
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Tonight: Vigil Planned for Teen Sydney Rohde

More than 750 students have been invited to a candlelight memorial for the Aliso Niguel High sophomore, who may have jumped from a parking structure Saturday. The school's principal recalls her as "a wonderful young lady."

Tonight: Vigil Planned for Teen Sydney Rohde

In the wake of a 15-year-old Aliso Niguel High girl's apparent suicide last weekend, two classmates have begun organizing a candlelight vigil.

Meanwhile, school officials said they were stunned by the death, calling victim Sydney Rohde "a wonderful young lady" who was admired by teachers.

after reportedly jumping from a parking structure in Aliso Viejo, sheriff's officials said. She was found around 1:30 a.m. Saturday near the structure at 130 Vantis, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

However, the coroner ordered toxicology tests and the case is still under investigation, he said.

Vigil organizer Nathan, 16, who asked that his last name not be used, said he was confused and saddened by the death: "A friend texted me what happened and I still can’t believe it. You always hear about these things, but never think it's gonna happen to someone you know or so close to home. ... I was just in Aliso on Saturday night at the movies with my dad, not far from the parking structure."

Although school principal Chris Carter said the death "came out of the blue," two students who asked to remain anonymous said Rohde may have been bullied by some peers because of a stuttering problem. However, Patch wasn't immediately able to confirm that information.

Nathan said he would always remember Rohde as the quiet, shy girl he knew in elementary and middle school.

He and friend Krissana have planned a candlelight vigil for Rohde at 9 p.m. Saturday near the parking structure.

"We've invited more than 750 students from the class and we will light memorial candles near the sidewalk near the structure," he said. "We wanted to do something for the family."

Aliso Niguel Principal Carter described Rohde as a good student who was "focused" and "had a group of friends."

"She was a wonderful young lady whose teachers thought the world of her," Carter said. "We have been in touch with her parents, who are understandably devastated."

He said the Rohde family would hold its own memorial in Northern California, where the family lived before moving to Aliso Viejo.

Amormino said toxicology test results would take six to eight weeks.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story quoted sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino saying the death had been confirmed as a suicide. He now says the cause is officially still under investigation.

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