Grief counselors working with students after teen's death

Jan 23, 2014 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A preliminary autopsy showed that Nathan Hatfield, 18, of Riverton, died Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Coroner Ed McAuslan said a gun was found with Hatfield's body at about 4:30 p.m. Monday near the Rails to Trails pathway in southwest Riverton. A person walking on the path near the Riverwalk by the Wind River called police with the report.

"Nobody else was there at the time," McAuslan said.

Results of a complete autopsy will be available in four to six weeks.

Hatfield was a senior at Riverton High School, where counselors were available this week to speak with grieving students.

"Our crisis team met on Monday night once we heard the news, then we met again Tuesday morning and made the announcement to the staff," RHS principal John Griffith said.

He said Hatfield had a "really good core" of friends who shared memories about the teen during this week's counseling sessions. Meanwhile, staff members took efforts to ensure students stayed safe in the wake of the news.

"Tuesday was a pretty long day," Griffith said. "But I was happy with how our staff and students handled it."

Counselors will continue to be available for students who need it, he added.

"This process just kind of continues," Griffith said. "It kind of comes and goes. ... Today we're making an announcement about the funeral time, and so that'll probably bring some things up. Then the day of the funeral will bring things up."

He said Hatfield was involved in band and had been part of the school's track and swimming teams in the past. Griffith believes Hatfield wanted to be a counselor in the future.

"He had goals," Griffith said. "He had a place in Virginia he wanted to go (to school) that he'd already picked out."

Three of Hatfield's siblings attend schools in Riverton, and his mother is an employee at RHS. Griffith said counselors are available for the younger siblings and their classmates as well.

Hatfield's brother was part of this year's All State Band program and was scheduled to be in Laramie with the group Monday and Tuesday; he was brought back to Riverton early. Counseling also was available for students in Laramie, Griffith said.

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