By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Announcements to start the day at Hays High School went as usual this morning. Then came one that called for a moment of silence.
One of Hays High's seniors, 18-year-old Citlatli Armendariz, had been found dead the afternoon before. She had been missing since Saturday night, last seen at a gathering in the 1100 block of 250th Avenue, or U.S. Highway 183, at approximately 9:30 that night.
According to the Ellis County Sheriff's Department, her body was found at approximately 3 p.m. Monday in a cluster of trees along Big Creek just west of Highway 183 about a mile south of town. Her death was ruled accidental Tuesday.
Hays High Principal Mike Hester contacted faculty Monday night and met with his crisis team at school at 7:15 this morning.
Members of the crisis team include administrators and counselors, the school psychologist and nurse, a secretary and custodian and school resource officer.
"And we invite specific teachers close to the family or student," Hester said.
Hester said "assistance and help" would be offered "throughout the day, throughout the week for counseling. And we want to offer our condolences to the family."
Armendariz attended Hays schools all her life, and her younger brother attends school in Hays. Marlo is a seventh-grader at Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior High School.
TMP Principal Bill DeWitt said he asked his homeroom teachers to talk to their students at the beginning of the day.
"We tell them as much as we know," DeWitt said. "We'll pause in each of our classes and say a prayer, and tell (students) to keep their family in their prayers. And when we get Marlo back, we'll rally around him."
Meanwhile, across town at Hays High, Hester said school will continue as normal while offering "help to whoever needs it to deal with this tragedy."
"We talk about the appropriate help for here (at Hays High) and for the family," Hester said. "Sort fact from rumor, who to notify. We're just trying to work with all involved."
Hester said students would be informed of funeral arrangements as soon as they are announced.