Aiden Reese was a 15-year-old freshman at Edmond Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma, who died by suicide on February 20, 2023. His death sparked outrage and grief among his family, friends, and community, who claimed that he was a victim of bullying by his baseball teammates. What was the cause of death of Aiden Reese, and what were the allegations of bullying that surrounded his case?
A Kind and Generous Boy with a Love for Baseball
Aiden Reese was born on July 15, 2007, in Edmond, Oklahoma. He was the son of Gary and Teresa Reese, and had two older sisters, Ashley and Amber. He grew up in a loving and supportive family, and was close to his parents and siblings.
He attended Edmond Santa Fe High School, where he was a freshman and a member of the baseball team. He was a bright and friendly student, who excelled in academics and sports. He was also involved in various extracurricular activities, such as the chess club, the drama club, and the mock trial team. He had a passion for music, art, and literature, and enjoyed playing the guitar, painting, and reading.
He was a devout Christian, who attended the Life Church in Edmond. He was active in the church’s youth ministry, and participated in several mission trips to Mexico and Haiti. He had a heart for serving others, and was known for his kindness, generosity, and compassion.
He was also adventurous and outgoing, and loved to travel and explore new places. He had visited many countries, such as France, Italy, Spain, and Israel. He also enjoyed hiking, camping, skiing, and snowboarding. He had a zest for life, and a positive and optimistic attitude.
He had a special love for baseball, which he played since he was four years old. He was a talented and dedicated player, who played various positions, such as pitcher, catcher, and outfielder. He dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, and idolized his favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A Mysterious Disappearance and a Heartbreaking Discovery
Aiden Reese went missing on Friday, February 17, 2023, after he left his home around 4 p.m. He did not take his cellphone, wallet, keys, or jacket with him. He was wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes.
He did not return home that night, and his parents became worried. They searched for him in the nearby area, but could not find him. They contacted the Edmond Police Department the next morning, around 9 a.m., and reported him missing. They also posted his photo and information on social media, and asked for help from the public.
A massive search and rescue operation was launched, involving the police, the fire department, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Air Force. More than 100 personnel, including helicopters, dogs, and drones, were deployed to look for Aiden. The search area covered the city, the forest, and the roads. The weather was cold and rainy, and the visibility was low.
The search continued throughout Saturday and Sunday, but there was no sign of Aiden. His family and friends prayed and hoped for his safe return, and thanked the searchers for their efforts. They also received support and condolences from many people, including local officials, celebrities, and strangers.
On Monday, February 20, 2023, around 11 a.m., a park ranger found Aiden’s body in a wooded area near the Arcadia Lake, about 10 miles from his home. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was recovered and taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
A Shocking and Unexplained Suicide
The cause of death of Aiden Reese was determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the medical examiner’s report. However, the motive and the circumstances of his suicide were unclear. There was no evidence of foul play, trauma, or intoxication. There was also no indication of why Aiden left his home, or how he obtained the gun.
The death of Aiden Reese was a shock and a sorrow for his family, friends, and community. He was mourned and remembered as a young man who had a bright future ahead of him, and who touched many lives with his love and joy. His father, Gary Reese, posted a tribute to his son on Facebook, saying that “Aiden was a beautiful soul who loved everyone. He was always smiling and laughing. He had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. He was our baby boy and we will miss him terribly.” He also used the hashtag #LoveLikeAiden, which became a trend among Aiden’s supporters.
A memorial service was held for Aiden on February 25, 2023, at the Life Church in Edmond. More than 2,000 people attended the service, which was also live-streamed online. The service featured music, prayers, and eulogies from Aiden’s family and friends, who shared their memories and stories of him. They also celebrated his faith, his passion, and his legacy.
A Controversy and a Call for Justice
Aiden Reese’s death also sparked a controversy and a call for justice, as his family and friends claimed that he was a victim of bullying by his baseball teammates. They alleged that Aiden was harassed, humiliated, and ostracized by some of the players, who called him names, made fun of his appearance, and excluded him from the team activities. They also said that Aiden had reported the bullying to his coaches and school administrators, but nothing was done to stop it.
On social media, they shared the hashtags #JusticeForAiden and #StopTheBullying, and demanded that the bullies be held accountable for their actions. They also shared Aiden’s story and denounced bullying as a serious and widespread problem that affects many young people.
Edmond Public Schools released a statement acknowledging the allegations of bullying within the Edmond Santa Fe baseball team. The school district said it was reviewing the claims to see if they required further investigation, and that it was cooperating with the police and the medical examiner. The school district also said that it was providing counseling and support to the students and staff affected by Aiden’s death.
Edmond Santa Fe High School Principal Jason Hayes also sent an email to the families of all students about Aiden’s death, and urged them to talk to their children about bullying and mental health. He said that the school was committed to creating a safe and respectful environment for all students, and that any reports of bullying would be taken seriously and addressed promptly.
The Edmond Police Department said that it had not received any reports from Aiden or his family regarding bullying, and that it was waiting for the results of the medical examiner’s report before concluding its investigation. The police also said that they were aware of the social media posts about the bullying allegations, and that they were following up on any leads or tips they received.
Aiden Reese’s cause of death was a tragic and preventable suicide, that may have been influenced by the bullying he endured. He left behind a void that can never be filled. He was, and still is, a son, a brother, a friend, and a hero.