J.K. Rowling Sends Letter as Dumbledore to Teen Cassidy Stay Who Lost Entire Family in Tragic Shooting

J.K. Rowling attends an event on November 9, 2013
J.K. Rowling wrote a letter as Albus Dumbledore to grieving teen Cassidy Stay after she lost her entire family in a tragic shooting in early July. David M. Benett/Getty Images

In early July, Cassidy Stay did an incredibly brave thing. The 15-year-old Houston, Texas native watched as her former uncle Ron Haskell shot and killed her parents and four siblings and played dead until he left. She then called the police to alert them that the shooter might be heading for her grandparents next. 

Haskell came into the Stay family home, demanding the location of his ex-wife, the sister of Cassidy’s mother Katie Stay. When the family refused, Haskell shot them, execution style, inside the residence. Thanks to Cassidy’s 911 call, Haskell was arrested. 

Just three days after the shooting, Cassidy was similarly brave as she discussed her ordeal with the media in a press conference. During the talk, she quoted J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter character Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, saying, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

cassidy stay

This struck a chord with people across the country, which eventually led to the formation of the Facebook group, “We want JK Rowling to meet Cassidy Stay.” 

After almost a month of gaining followers and helping to raise money for Cassidy, a group member posted on Aug. 4, “This afternoon, I talked to a friend of Cassidy's who confirmed that JK Rowling did, in fact, write her a personalized letter from ‘Dumbledore’ (hand-written with purple ink). She was also sent a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list, along with the 3rd book with JK's autograph. I'm so excited and ecstatic that we were all able to make a difference!”

The letter itself was not revealed on the site, and Rowling has not officially commented on it. A bullet grazed Cassidy in the head and she suffered a skull fracture and lost part of a finger, but she is expected to make a full recovery. 

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