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Naperville North student dies
Labs testing for swine flu, other possibilities
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff

Michelle Fahle


Courtesy Frances Foley

Michelle Fahle


Courtesy of Amanda Knutson

Michelle Fahle


Courtesy of Mary Elliott

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Published: 10/8/2009 4:06 PM | Updated: 10/8/200 10:47 PM

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The Naperville North High School community is mourning the loss of freshman Michelle Fahle, 14, who died unexpectedly Thursday morning.

Authorities said they are unsure what caused Michelle's death but she had complained of flu-like symptoms in recent days, according to DuPage County Coroner Pete Siekmann.

Michelle was rushed early Thursday by ambulance to Edward Hospital in Naperville where doctors pronounced the teen's death.

The DuPage County Health Department is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to test for swine flu, or H1N1 virus, as well as other possibilities, spokesman David Hass said. He expects results Friday morning.

Nasal swabs have been sent to Central DuPage Hospital as well, although Siekmann said results from either lab could take up to five days.

His office's autopsy did not uncover any obvious signs of what led to Michelle's death.

Michelle's classmates flocked to Facebook Thursday, leaving messages about their friend.

Freshman Mary Elliott created a Facebook page in Michelle's honor that has more than 700 members.

"She was really sweet to everybody, always smiling and everyone liked her," Mary said.

The two attended Jefferson Junior High together in addition to North and both were part of a production of "High School Musical" as seventh-graders.

Mary said Michelle was a talented singer.

"She had a sweet voice and she really liked it," Mary said.

At North, Michelle took her vocal talents to one of the choir groups led by choral director Jim Yarbrough.

"Michelle was one of my young singers who had lots of enthusiasm and energy for her craft and classmates," Yarbrough said via e-mail.

Another classmate from both North and Jefferson, Frances Foley, said Michelle also had a talent for writing and a fondness for the German band Tokio Hotel.

"She was always really friendly to everyone, always smiling," Frances said. "She would make everyone's day really bright. She would try to help anyone."

North freshman Amanda Knutson had class with Michelle and after hearing about her death, was inspired to create an online video she posted on YouTube with pictures of the teen and her friends set to the song "Say What You Will" from Damhnait Doyle. Amanda called her classmate bright and talented.

"She didn't deserve this and was one of the sweetest people I've ever met," Amanda said. "I know everyone will miss her a lot."

Naperville North officials on Thursday confirmed a student had died but would not release additional information pending authorization from the family.

Principal Kevin Pobst said a crisis team is in place to help students, staff and families. Students were not in school Thursday and will not return until Tuesday due to parent teacher conferences and Columbus Day.

Daily Herald Staff Writer Christy Gutowski contributed to this report.