Communication Builds Our Community

Drowning Death of 10-Year-Old Amazing "Precious Angel" Touches Community

Spook Hill Walk Run for Irys Set for Friday, May 29

Trying to make sense of her 10-year-old daughter's drowning death, Parys Miller concluded in a TV interview: "Maybe it was just her time."

The loss of Spook Hill Elementary student Irys Wright, who was caught in a riptide current Sunday at Siesta Key Beach, set off an outpouring of sympathy and support for the family she left behind.

Her former 4th grade teacher, Amy Rietschel, shared on social media and in a TV interview her memories of the amazing "precious angel" who brought her teacher flowers and pajamas to keep her warm when she moved to New York. Rietschel set up a Go Fund Me account to help the family and by May 28 more than 150 people had donated about $14,500 toward a $20,000 goal for the funeral and other family expenses.

"I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and sharing love for Irys. Thank you for helping the family put the princess to rest. Irys will be forever missed but her spirit and joy will go on forever," Rietschel wrote on Facebook. Donations can be made online at

A walk-run up Spook Hill is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, May 29, where the family will receive additional donations and feel the love and support of the community touched by the child's tragic death.

In addition to it being located by her school, Spook Hill was a special place for Irys. Her father, Frederick Brinson, shared on Facebook a video he shot recently of Irys running up the hill. He motivated her by saying if she ran the hill she could ride her hoverboard as he walked the Lake Wailes Trail. He also used the difficulty of climbing the hill as a life lesson about not quitting.

"She ran up that hill and simply amazed me cause if anyone has ever ran that hill you know how hard it is so I was a very proud father at this point," Brinson wrote. "I ran up the hill right after she ran up, and as we walked down the hill after we ran it we had one of our deepest conversations ever that day. I explained to her that that hill is no different from life and she asked how so I explained at the beginning of ANYTHING you do in life it starts off EASY.

"The hill starts off easy and it feels like this is going to be easy but the further you go up the hill it gets so much harder but you got to keep grinding to get to the top of the hill. I told her in life when things get hard either you gone keep climbing the hill (don't know why I said climbing when we were running but she understood what I meant lol) or you gone QUIT and turn around and walk back down."

Brinson said Irys understood the lesson. Now it's her family and friends who have to keep climbing.

"They did everything they could to save her," Miller said "Unfortunately it was just her time."

Miller said Irys wasn't a strong swimmer, but she doesn't know if it would have made any difference in the strong current.

But she has a message for other parents: "If you guys can get your kids into swimming lessons, get your kids in swimming lessons. We live in Florida. There's water all around. It's not just the beach."


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