Remembering Rio Allred nearly one year since her death

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:16 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - The one-year anniversary is soon approaching for a local girl who took her own life after being bullied multiple times at Northside Middle School.

Rio Allred’s parents talked exclusively with 16 News Now on Friday about what this past year has been like for them.

Rio’s mom and stepdad, Nicole and Aaron Ball, said they cannot believe it has been almost a year, and miss her presence.

“I can’t believe we are looking at a year already. It’s been very hazy, very foggy. A lot of good things, a lot of positive things have come out of the past year...It’s like watching the ghost of ourselves walking through each of these days and knowing what’s coming and knowing we can’t do anything still,” said Nicole.

“You just always know that there’s something that’s supposed to be there that’s not, and even now, as we get closer to this date, everything feels weird. It feels like it did last year,” said Aaron.

Since Rio’s death, calls are growing louder to investigate the bullying problem in schools.

Meantime, Rio’s Rainbow, a local non-profit that helps raise awareness about bullying, is implementing new programs, like Building Hope Week by Week.

The organization has also teamed up with parents to start a coalition.

“We want people to be educated about what’s at stake because the stakes are high. And if there is anything Rio’s Rainbow or the parent coalition can bring to the forefront and provide those things, we are going to provide them,” said Aaron.

Victims of bullying, just like Rio, are getting politicians’ attention.

Last month, a bullying bill passed unanimously by the Indiana House of Representatives designed to put distance between bullies and their victims.

“We actually met with J.D. Ford, Senator Ford, this week to discuss this particular bill. It comes from a good place and it comes from a point of need. This is a conversation that needs to happen statewide and quite honestly countrywide,” said Aaron.

Next Monday, people will gather for a candlelight vigil to remember Rio.

It is taking place at 6 p.m. at Walker Park in Elkhart.

It is open to the public.