Two Pennsylvania teenagers were found dead in what investigators have called a suspected double suicide, their bodies discovered just one day after the couple posted photos smiling and embracing to social media, authorities said.
Officials declined to release the pair’s names, citing their young ages and the circumstances around their deaths, but friends and classmates identified them on social media as Annika Monique and Brenden Shipman.
The high school students were found in a parked car about 4 p.m. Tuesday near a boat ramp at Rose Valley Lake after family members learned they had left school early, according to PennLive.com.
“If anyone has seen Annika and Brenden within the last few hours please get a hold of me it’s an emergency,” a friend of Brenden wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
The pair’s parents were reporting their children missing when their bodies were found, PennLive.com reported.
Old Lycoming Township Police Department Detective Sgt. Christopher Kriner told reporters that after the young couple left school early, they drove to the boy’s home where he got a family-owned pistol and left.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene, where a gun was reportedly found.
“Every indication appears at this point that these deaths were self-inflicted,” Jerold Ross, the country’s chief deputy county coroner, told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
It was not clear why the couple, who had been dating since April of this year, allegedly killed themselves.
Both teens took to Facebook on Monday, sharing selfies embracing and smiling. In the photo Monique shared, Brenden could be seen kissing her cheek.
Devastated loved ones also took to social media to grieve, writing on Facebook and a GoFundMe page created to offset funeral expenses for Brenden.
“I loved you so much. You were my brother,” one friend posted on Facebook. “I will always love you. I wish there was something I could have done to change what happened. I can't accept what happened. I love you so much.”
“Brenden Shipman and Annika just know your(sic) both missed a lot,” another friend wrote. “Everyone at school even teachers are bawling. You hear the cries echoing in the hall the tears running down the face of those who cared. It hurts.”
Officials at Williamsport Area High School, where Brenden was a junior and Annika was a senior, said that a district crisis team would be available for those dealing with the loss.
“We will do everything in our power to support our students, staff, and parents this week and into the future, as our community deals with this terrible loss,” Brandon Pardoe, head principal of the school, said in a letter to parents released on Wednesday. “During this difficult time, the care and concern of each member of our school community is our highest priority as we grieve this loss together.”