The Canton Police Department is investigating the death of 13-year-old Savannah Scarlett Cash, who died on Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Candy Worth, the department's public information officer, said she could not comment on the case as the investigation is ongoing.
The initial incident report released by the department is three sentences long. It includes no information about who was at the scene or who supplied the weapon.
Information circulating in the community alleges Savannah and a schoolmate had planned to kill themselves together, but the other student did not go through with the pact. The other student allegedly supplied the gun that killed Savannah.
A letter was found at the scene, said Brian Cash, Savannah's father, but he declined to speak about it, the alleged suicide pact or whether charges should be filed.
His daughter's death was a shock, Cash said, describing her as a bright teenager and "a happy child."
He added he's fielded "hundreds" of calls from students about his daughter's death.
A memorial service was conducted Monday at Sugarplums restaurant in Canton to remember the teen. No formal funeral has been planned, Cash said. Savannah's remains were cremated.
Upon learning of Savannah's death, Cherokee County School District officials dispatched additional counselors to the Canton middle school when classes resumed on Monday after the weeklong winter break.
Mike McGowan, district director of public information, communications and partnerships, said about 15 students have met with the grief counselors.
Principal Debra Murdock said the entire school was "saddened" by the death of Savannah, who was known as Scarlett to her friends.
"Scarlett was a bright, fun-loving student with a ready smile and a quick wit," Mrs. Murdock wrote in a statement. "She was a friend to everyone. She will be missed terribly by her friends, teachers and administrators."
Cash said his daughter presented no warning signs of suicidal behavior before her death or had no history of mental illness.
"Savannah was an extremely bright, beautiful, happy child," he said, adding she participated in tumbling every Tuesday and planned to try out for Cherokee High School's cheerleading squad.
While suicide among older teenagers is more common, it does occur among children and younger teenagers.
In 2006, the latest figures available from to the National Institutes of Health, the suicide rate was 1.3 per 100,000 for children ages 10 to 14; 8.2 for ages 15 to 19; and 12.5 for ages 20 to 24.
Risk factors of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control, include a history of previous attempts, family history of suicides, history of depression or other mental illnesses, alcohol or drug abuse, stressful life event or loss, easy access to lethal methods, incarceration or exposure to suicidal behaviors of others.
Confirmed suicide rates among teens and younger children in Cherokee are very low.
The Cherokee Sheriff's Office has not received any reports of suicides among teens or children in the last two years, said Lt. Jay Baker, public information officer for the agency.
The only confirmed suicide by a young person reported to the department was that of an 18-year-old in 2008.
School district Police Chief Mark Kissel said his agency does not track suicides that take place off campus. He said none have taken place on campus in recent years, and he's unaware of any possible attempts.
Cash said he wants people to remember his daughter for her love of life and sense of humor.
He said he believes her impact on others will continue well beyond her death.
"She could light up the room with a smile," he said. "I want people to remember what Savannah for the joy she brought to everyone."