Teen girl dies after fall from Belleville water tank
The St. Clair County Coroner’s Office has released the identity of a girl who died in a fall from a stormwater retention tank in Belleville late Friday night.
Libby M. Rittmeyer, 14, of Belleville was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville about 10:30 p.m., according to Deputy Coroner Dennis Nichols.
She died of multiple injuries, Nichols said. The case is being investigated as a suicide, Nichols said.
A reporter saw an adult woman crying loudly after talking with police at the scene Friday night.
The girl lived about five blocks away from the water tank, which is off Hecker Street, near Belleville Recycling.
There is a gap at the bottom of the chain-link fence surrounding the tank, at the spot where water runs off from the property. It leaves an opening of about 20 inches.
The storm-water reservoir has only been there for a couple of years, neighbors said. One neighbor reported seeing a lot of police cars and one ambulance speed away from the scene about 10 p.m. Friday.
Libby had attended St. Teresa’s Catholic Grade School in Belleville, but recently transferred to West Junior High.
District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman said Saturday that he had engaged in some initial discussions with how to help students and staff deal with Libby’s death.
“The district will have a plan in place with our social work and psychology staff to go into a crisis mode so we can support students and staff impacted by Libby’s death,” Klosterman said.
He added, “Anytime there is a death of a student it is overwhelming to both our staff and students. Our thoughts and prayers are with Libby and her family.”