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July 17, 2016

Headmaster: Montgomery County student likely died by suicide

Missing Persons Deaths
Missing: Austin Wylie The Shipley School/Twitter

Missing Person: Austin Wylie.

A Montgomery County teenager who was reported missing earlier this week likely died by suicide, according to a school headmaster.

The Shipley School Headmaster Steve Piltch wrote a letter on Friday to the school community about the search for 17-year-old Austin Wylie.

Wylie's car had been found on Wednesday at North 5th and Spring Garden Streets in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia.

"Although everyone was praying for a good outcome, I do not have good news," Piltch wrote. "Austin parked his car at Spring Garden and 5th Street and proceeded to jump off of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Although his body has not yet been recovered, the family thinks it is important for people to know that it has become evident that this is what happened. Honestly, there is no easy explanation for Austin’s decision; although there is no clear basis for why, a note to his family recovered by the authorities from his phone indicates that he was feeling significantly overwhelmed in the moment."

Wylie recently completed his junior year and was a member of the school's soccer team.

"Symbolically, it was Austin’s impact on our soccer program that captured the essence of the difference he made everywhere," Piltch wrote. "Perhaps the single most committed team player we have ever had, he always put the team’s needs before his own."

Piltch also noted that Wylie's family requested that the school establish a memorial fund. School officials will determine a specific cause that the fund will support at a later time.

Piltch wrote that the school will provide students with counselors to help people deal with their grief.

At the end of the letter, Piltch included links that help with the grieving process after a suicide: Grief Counseling ListHandout for ParentsAddressing Questions.