The 18-year-old snowboarder and budding Olympian, Ellie Soutter, took her own life and was found in the middle of the woods on her birthday.
According to her family, she was found by the police tracker dogs on July 25th in a wooded area close to her home in Les Gets, France.
The teenager was known as one of Britain’s up and coming snowboarding stars, according to the Mirror.
In fact, she was expected to compete for Team Great Britain in 2022 for the Winter Olympics.
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The girl’s uncle, Jeremy Soutter, who flew in from the UK, spoke with the media outlet and said that the entire family was looking forward to celebrating her birthday.
He said Soutter was even looking forward to it. Supposedly, she and her father, Tony, were going to have a joint birthday celebration.
Following her passing, the heartbroken family has been desperate to find answers as to why the teenager chose to end her life.
Jeremy remembers his niece as someone who was always “happy” and “excited about life.”
Soutter grew up with her father following her parents’ divorce. She lived with her father and they grew very close, like best friends. Although, Jeremy clarified Soutter was still close to her mother.
Speaking about his brother, Tony, Jeremy said, “He’s a broken man. He keeps going through everything. But there were just no signs at all.
Tony last saw his daughter at 8 am on the 25th before he left for work. She was still asleep at the time.
He went back home for lunch, but Soutter was nowhere to be found.
Tony called the police at 6 pm when he wasn’t able to contact Soutter and when he noticed that she had left her purse at home.
Police brought along sniffer dogs to join the search.
“There was no note, nothing. She was somewhere you can hardly access. She must have just kept walking and walking. Police struggled to get there,” said Jeremy.
News about her death broke out and many of her family members made plans to fly in from the UK to Les Gets, including her mother, Lorraine Denman, who is scheduled to arrive in the coming days.
As for her remains, Soutter’s ashes will be scatted on one of her favorite mountains in Les Gets, according to Tony.
In 2009, Soutter moved to Les Gets and attended public schools until her college years. Although, by 2015, she made the decision to be homeschooled to make more time for her sporting commitments.
Jeremy explained that the family does not think her snowboarding was the reason for her death.
“There’s certainly a lot of pressure from competing. She loved the sport and Tony supported her in any way he could. Financially, emotionally,” he said.
Even though her career faced a bump in early 2018 when she had to stop training and competing because of financial problems, she was able to rise back up and was scheduled to compete for Team GB in the junior world championships in New Zealand in August.
Soutter’s friend and fellow snowboarder and skier expressed their sorrow following her untimely passing, including her former boyfriend, 21-year-old Oscar Mandin.
The pair remained close after two years of dating. Even when she ended the relationship in 2017, Mandin said they still talk to each other and have become good friends.
He revealed that Soutter previously suffered from “bouts of sadness” but never really dwelled on them as she always talked to her family and friends about it.
He described snowboarding as Soutter’s happy place and also stated that he doesn’t think her death has something to do with the sport.
Mandin said that Soutter was “very determined” and added that “she was really a fantastic person.”
Soutter’s friends and classmates from her previous schools in Les Gets also paid tribute to the 18-year-old.
If you know someone who may need help or if you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.