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msnbc.com
updated 4/20/2011 3:23:16 PM ET 2011-04-20T19:23:16

A small southwestern Minnesota school district is mourning the deaths of two middle-school students, reportedly best friends, who killed themselves after reportedly leaving behind suicide notes for their families.

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Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz, both 14, were found dead early Saturday in Haylee's home. A relative told ABC News the girls hanged themselves.

Lyon County Sheriff Mark Mather said no foul play is suspected in their deaths. He told the Marshall Independent the department would not release further information out of respect for the girls' families.

At a public gathering Tuesday night at Marshall Middle School, Superintendent Klint Willert told community members that in a time of crisis, the best thing to do is to turn to each other.

"You don't get over it," Willert said, according to the Marshall Independent. "But by working together, we can get through it."

The meeting, in which speakers offered advice on how to help children cope with the tragedy, began with a moment of silence.

Susan Bowen, a Horvath and Marshall High School counselor, told parents it's important to talk to their children openly and honestly about death

"Let them know it's OK to feel angry, it's OK to feel sad," Horvath said, the Marshall Independent reported.

Grief counselors were on hand at the school and additional information about resources for parents were posted on the school district's website.

While authorities were mum on details of the suicides, ABC News reported that the bodies were discovered Saturday by Fentress' mother, Tracy Morrison.

The girls also left behind goodbye notes indicating they had planned the deaths for a long time, including funeral details, Haylee's aunt, Robin Settle, told ABC News.

"They did hang themselves. My sister found them. She's a medical assistant. She attempted to resuscitate them," Settle said.

Settle told ABC that Haylee's family had recently moved to Minnesota from Indiana and that Haylee had had complained that she felt ostracized and bullied.

"I'm shocked and I'm mad and I'm sad ... I don't understand the mentality of kids torturing other kids, kids having to go through this. They don't think they have anywhere to go to," Settle told ABC News.

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