Kailia Posey, who as a child starred on the TLC reality beauty pageant 'Toddlers and Tiara', has died at age 16, her mother announced on Facebook. Posey, who participated on the reality show when she was a 5-year-old, was pronounced dead in Birch Bay State Park, in Washington, at around 1:20pm on Monday.
However, no exact cause of her death was given and police have launched an investigation into the incident, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Trooper Jacob Kennett confirmed. Posey had just turned 16 on April 19 and had just returned from her high school prom over the weekend, her mother said.
Gone Too Soon
Police said that Posey died on Monday afternoon. Her mother Marcy Posey Gatterman took to Facebook to announce the teen star's death. "I don't have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone," she wrote. "Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever."
Gatterman did not reveal the cause of death of her daughter. A representative for the Whatcom County Medical Examiner stated that police are investigating the case and didn't share much detail except that she was pronounced dead in Birch Bay State Park, in Washington, on Monday afternoon. On Monday, around 1.26 p.m., state police arrived on the site to aid the Whatcom County Sheriff's Department and the park service.
Posey was initially said to have died in a car accident in earlier reports, but it's unclear whether a vehicle was involved, and her cause of death hasn't been revealed. As of now, it has not been confirmed how the young girl passed away.
Birch Bay is a 194-acre state park with a gorgeous rocky beach and a big camping area located along the Strait of Georgia shoreline, about nine miles from the Canadian border.
Posey was a young star on the TLC reality show, which aired from 2009 to 2013 and followed families as they prepared their children for beauty pageants. When her evil grin went viral, she became a popular GIF.
A Star in Her Own Right
In a 2016 episode of the show, Kailia's mom said she started doing pageants when she was three years old. Her talent was being a contortionist.
Posey competed in pageants throughout her youth and adolescence, most recently competing in February for the Miss Washington Teen USA title. She was crowned Miss Lynden Teen USA last year, despite not being the winner of the competition in February.
Her bio on the pageant website claims that she attended Lynden High School and aspired to be a commercial pilot after college. She was also named to the Dean's List at her school for having great grades in the 2020-2021 school year.
Fans have flooded both of her social media accounts to share their heartbreak and prayers.
"Thank you for being someone to look up to Kailia. Rest in peace," wrote one fan.
"You'll be missed. Rest easy pretty girl," as one included: "My heart is absolutely shattered. I love and miss you forever... fly high Kailia," another person wrote.
Posey herself was quite active on Instagram and her recent posts are now flooded with messages from friends and supporters, mourning her loss. Her Instagram showed the TV star posing with friends as well as doing contortion.
"Great contortion class today, learning new skills is a great filling thank you," she wrote alongside a short clip of her in action.
Since her passing, her mother and stepfather have shared various memorials to her on Facebook, including a photo of her that has been altered to look like an angel. Steven Gatterman, her stepfather, announced on Saturday that it was her prom night.