The body of a missing Walt Whitman High School student was discovered in a wooded area Sunday, and the school’s principal said initial information suggests his death was accidental.
Navid Nicholas Sepehri, 17, was reported missing to the county police department after he didn’t show up at home Saturday night, according to authorities. During a subsequent search, Sepehri’s body was discovered in the 6500 block of Laverock Lane in Bethesda, a short distance from the Bannockburn Community Club, police reported.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine what caused Sepehri’s death, and police are handling the death investigation.
“For those of you who knew Navid, we ask that you remember and celebrate his love of art and commitment to others. For those of you who did not know Navid, we ask that you support Navid’s friends and family during this time of loss,” Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in a message to the Whitman community.
Goodwin wrote that a team of psychologists, counselors and pupil personnel workers would help Whitman staff members offer counseling and support to students Monday. Counselors would be available to students all day in the media center, he wrote.
The news of Sepehri’s death touches a community that was already mourning the recent loss of a student. Jordana “Jojo” Greenberg, a Whitman sophomore, died by suicide in November.
“Our community has experienced a tremendous loss in the last weeks. I am confident in our ability to support one another as we grieve the loss of Navid,” Goodwin wrote.
Sepehri’s sister is a freshman at Whitman, according to the principal’s message.
Here is the full text of Goodwin’s message, with the name of Sepehri’s sister removed:
Dear Whitman Community,
It is with sadness that I inform you of the death of Navid Sepehri, one of our 12th grade students. Initial information suggests Navid’s death may have been accidental, but we do not have details at this time. Navid’s sister … is a freshman at Whitman, as well.
For those of you who knew Navid, we ask that you remember and celebrate his love of art and commitment to others. For those of you who did not know Navid, we ask that you support Navid’s friends and family during this time of loss.
It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of a young person. Monday, a support team of psychologists, counselors, and pupil personnel workers from Montgomery County Public Schools will work with our staff members to provide counseling and support to students. Students who need additional support should contact their school counselor. Counselors will be available in the media center all day.
Your child may be coming home with questions and worries. Our community has experienced a tremendous loss in the last weeks. I am confident in our ability to support one another as we grieve the loss of Navid. Please be attentive to each other and keep our staff informed of any way we can support our students.
I know you join me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to Navid’s family. When we receive word regarding funeral arrangements, I will share the information with you. Again, please do not hesitate to contact the school at 301-320-6600 if you have any concerns or questions.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.