Unanswered questions in suicide of Sequoia High School student

Daily Post Staff Writer

The mother of a Sequoia High School student who committed suicide by stepping in front of a Caltrain said yesterday her daughter was the last person she thought would take her own life.

Holly Spalletta, 14, died on Tuesday at the Whipple Avenue railroad crossing in Redwood City, the San Mateo County Coroner’s office said yesterday.



Holly’s mother, Julie Spalletta, told the Post that everything points to Holly’s death being “some impulse thing to get in front of the train,” as the teen had told her dad she was going to Starbucks.

Julie Spalletta said her daughter was looking forward to becoming a camp counselor and was the “joy” of the family.

Holly was the youngest of five, she has two brothers and two sisters, and had gone to local schools all her life. She was a freshman at Sequoia High School and had previously attended Northstar Academy.

Julie Spalletta said there will be a service at Peninsula Covenant Church at a date to be determined.

In Palo Alto, 12 teenagers have committed suicide since 2009, but this is unusual for Redwood City.

This was the sixth fatality this year on the Caltrain tracks, which extend from San Francisco to Gilroy.

As the Post reported yesterday, Sequoia Union High School District Superintendent Mary Streshly sent an announcement Wednesday to students, parents and school employees about the death, though Holly wasn’t identified by name.

Counseling available

Streshly said in her announcement that grief counselors, mental health therapists and psychologists have and will be available to students and teachers on Sequoia’s campus, “to ensure that any student needing to talk to someone can readily do so.”



“The loss of life of a student is both painful and traumatic due to the fact that it does not fit into the natural order of life, as we never expect our children to pass before we do. Yet, through this pain, we must come together to support each other, and, to support the family that just lost their child as their life has been forever changed,” Streshly wrote.

“On behalf of the Sequoia Union High School District, we extend our deepest condolences to the family, and want our community to know that we will be there for you as we navigate this tragic moment,” the superintendent’s message said.

Help offered

Anyone in crisis can get help from the Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Hotline at (855) 278-4204. Help is also available via Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. All three services are free, confidential and available 24/7.