Independence Community Mourns the Loss of a Beloved Student


Caleb Herrick walked with a purpose after hearing about a good friend’s death, Tuesday night along Truman and Winner Roads near Van Horn High School. Javon Reilly, a 16 year old Van Horn student, attempted to walk away from an unfortunate encounter with a man just east of the school around 2:40 p.m.

Reilly’s death left many classmates with a sense of sadness and confusion. Many would describe him as nice, caring and respectful.

“Reilly seemed to be on the right track,” Family friend, Sara Thompson of Holden, shares.”Javon was studying hard to make sure his grades were good enough so that he could play on the school’s football and basketball teams. He was a loyal member to the school, the community and to his family.

Reilly’s death not only affected Van Horn but many students at both Truman and Chrisman as well as many people throughout the community. Faculty and staff from all schools as well as much of the student have forgotten about their longtime rivalries and to help each other up after the fall.

Kimberly Stewart, social worker at Truman High School, began thinking of ways to address and provide mental health support to students who are left filled with a variety of emotions both positive and negative. “It is extremely sad to have to provide support to the staff and students, however; it forced us all throughout the district to work as a team to ensure that everyone makes it through. The school community and district came together and that was really nice to see as healing take place. Everyone in the community gathered on Wednesday at a vigil for Reilly. The vigil had everyone leaning on each other as they all gathered for some closure as well as giving Javon a final goodbye.

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