Dead after falling off cliff, community mourns teen 'taken too soon'

- A group of Somerset High School students mourned outside of the principal’s office Tuesday afternoon, struggling to deal with the loss of a friend. 

Although news of 14-year-old Bailey Belisle’s death broke Monday, many who knew and loved her are still struggling with the untimely loss.

“You could see her walking down the hallway, a huge smile on her face, always surrounded by a huge group of friends," Shannon Donnelly, the Somerset High School principal said. "She just really had that kind of personality that would light up a room."

The high school’s hallways and classrooms, just a few days ago filled by the energy of youth and the start of a new school year, are now dimmed by what’s described as the “horrific accident” that claimed Bailey’s life.

“She was extremely funny, extremely artistic, and musical.” Donnelly added.

Bailey was at Lake Superior Sunday on Minnesota’s north shore, hiking with friends when, according to the Lake County Sheriff, Bailey somehow fell over the top of the cliff.

Bystanders did repel to render first aid and attempted life saving measures, but the teen was airlifted to a nearby hospital and later died from her injuries.

“We certainly had a lot of students struggling both yesterday and today trying to make sense of it,” Donnelly said.

Among the particularly heartbroken are Bailey’s volleyball teammates.

“A lot of kids are trying to wrap their arms around her family," Donnely said. "Being a close knit, small community tragedies like this have a huge impact."

“It was not something anyone would have expected but we’ve been assured she left us for heaven quickly, which gives us comfort," Belisle's family said in a statement. "Our hearts are broken, but we will work to remember her in our small Somerset community and elsewhere as she has touched so many lives.”

Information on Bailey’s visitation, funeral arrangements and how you can contribute to the family can be found here. Donations can be sent to the Westconsin Credit Union in New Richmond, Wis., addressed to Corey and Rachel Belisle.


"Our daughter Bailey was the light of our lives. She has two older brothers Joe (19) and James (16) that she was always trying to keep up with. She had a beautiful voice and singing brought her and others great joy! She was also a talented artist with her sketchpad, photos, painting, and always up for a good dance.

"Bailey was the best of all of us, quick to diffuse a situation and lighten it up with humor. She was hilarious, and beautiful, and had just the right thing to say as she would wrap you into a tight hug that never lasted long enough. She was smart and studies came easily to her, allowing her to help friends when it was needed.

"She loved playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer and, just like any 14 year old girl, running with her friends. She also took special time to take pics with her lab “Butters” and her kitties “Shadow” and “Whiskers.

"Unfortunately she was taken from us far too early while hiking with friends on vacation. It was not something anyone would have expected, but we’ve been assured she left us for heaven quickly which gives us comfort.

"She leaves behind so many that are grieving today that we wanted to take the time to tell you a bit about her. She was simply fantastic and is going to be missed by so many. Our hearts are broken, but we will work to remember her in our small Somerset community and elsewhere as she has touched so many lives.

"We would also like to mention that we know many hearts today are hurting as she was friends with anyone who crossed her path.

"We will continue to love her constantly until we meet again.

"--Mom, Dad, Joe, and James."

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