“Toddlers & Tiaras” Kailia Posey’s cause and manner of death confirmed by Washington Medical Examiner

“Toddlers & Tiaras” Kailia Posey’s cause and manner of death confirmed by Washington Medical Examiner

Editor’s Note: This story is about suicide. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Kailia Posey’s cause of death and manner of death were confirmed Wednesday by the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office in a news release posted online.

The 16-year-old pageant star died of “asphyxia due to ligatures and the manner is suicidal,” according to authorities.

“The Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office has completed an examination of a 16-year-old woman,” the release said.

“Out of respect for the family, her identity will not be revealed here. The woman was found dead on May 2, 2022 in Blaine, Washington. The cause of death is asphyxia due to ligatures and the manner is suicide.

“The autopsy and toxicology reports are not public information.”

Fox News Digital has contacted the Washington State Patrol officer who is leading the investigation.

Posey’s mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, broke the news of her daughter’s death on Facebook last week.

“I have no words or thoughts,” she wrote. “A beautiful girl has passed away. Please give us privacy as we mourn Kailia. My baby forever.”

Posey’s last competition before her death was the Miss Washington Teen USA pageant in February, where she placed second runner-up and also received the Miss Photogenic Award based on public votes.


Maureen Francisco, executive producer of NW Productions, LLC, worked with Posey at the Miss Washington pageant earlier this year and was shocked by Kailia’s death.

“When I first saw the post her mother posted about Kailia, I was shocked, I didn’t believe it,” Francisco said. “At first I thought maybe her mother’s Facebook was hacked, so I had to wait. I realized it wasn’t going to go away, that this is indeed real. That’s when it really hit me – wow.

“She was such a nice girl. She was so nice to our team, competitors. I only remember her during the pageant weekend, and she was always smiling and laughing, and she’s a typical teenager. The energy around her…she definitely is going to be greatly missed.”

Posey first rose to fame when she was five on the hit TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras and lives on in meme history as the “Grinning Girl” from a 2011 episode. The show also launched the career of Alana Thompson, aka Honey Boo Boo, and her family, who produced several spin-offs.


Posey continued to compete on the pageant circuit long after the reality show ended in 2013 and a short-lived revival of the program in 2016.

“This young woman has so much potential, so much potential, and it’s just hard to remember someone with so much potential and how they left too soon,” Francisco said. “Again, the family was just nice to Pageants Northwest. It was wonderful working with Kailia, with our team, with our competitors. Just absolutely nice.

“That’s what I’ll remember most, is her kindness.”

Francisco recalled a moment during the Miss Washington Teen USA pageant when Posey’s personality was on full display.

“I remember when I was hosting the pageant and she answered her top five questions. She got the entire audience laughing and I was trying really hard not to smile because I didn’t want to show any favoritism,” she said. “That’s the kind of energy she gives. Again she will be greatly missed and I’m still racking my brains that this is real.

“She will be missed. I mean, this is a huge loss to the pageant community, to the world, and just so much potential.”

Fox News’ Larry Fink and Janelle Ash contributed to this report.

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