While confirming the cause of death, Ciara Webb's stepfather remembers her as a "wonderful child"

By Caitlin Keating
Updated November 15, 2014 09:40 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Jason Webb/Courtesy Sophie Jones

Ciara Webb, 16, the first of two Olathe Northwest High School students to commit suicide last week, ended her life with a gun, her stepfather, Mike Gage, confirms to PEOPLE.

“This is the last thing in the world we ever thought would happen,” says Gage, 42, who had known Webb for seven years and describes their relationship as like “best friends.”

“We took trips to scuba dive – she loved scuba diving. She loved going to see fish and sharks, things like that.”

“I remember a couple years ago I was helping with a youth hunt group. She said, ‘I’m going.’ I told her that she had never shot a gun before and that she knows nothing about hunting, but she said, ‘Well, you have a week to teach me.’ I lined up shooting lessons.”

“She was very adventurous and was up for anything. She was not a quitter. That s the one thing she wasn t, was a quitter.”

Along with the rest of the family, Gage is devastated and confused by what happened on Nov. 7, when Webb was found dead in her Olathe, Kansas, home. “No one could have asked for a more wonderful child,” he says.

Ciara, he adds, “was excited for her future. She was talking about what colleges she was thinking of going to.”

Gage says Webb had wanted to attend the United States Naval Academy but suffered a severe injury to her legs playing soccer during freshman year.

“After years of doctors’ appointments and physical therapy, she found out she wouldn t be able to pass the test for the Naval Academy,” says Gage. “But even that wouldn t bring her down. She always wanted people to know that she was strong.”

Two days after Webb’s death, her classmate Cady Housh also killed herself.

For more information on teens and suicide, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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