British author J. K. Rowling wrote a letter to a teenage girl in Texas in the voice of the wizard Albus Dumbledore after the girl’s entire family was murdered by a gunman earlier this summer.
The Telegraph reported Wednesday that the multi-million-selling Harry Potter-series author was moved to contact 15-year-old Cassidy Stay after the girl cited the fictional wizard’s words at her family’s memorial.
“I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach are in a much better place, and that I’ll be able to see them again one day,” Stay said at the service in July.
“Happiness can be found even in darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light,” she went on to say, paraphrasing Dumbledore’s words from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the seven-volume series.
On July 9, Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, ex-husband of Stay’s aunt, broke into the Stay family home, tied up the family and shot them, execution-style, killing the girl’s mother and father, her two sisters and two brothers. A bullet grazed Stay’s head and hand, but she survived by playing dead until Haskell left the scene. She then telephoned police to warn that Haskell was headed to her grandparents’ house, leading to the gunman’s arrest.
Rowling was made aware of the story through an Internet campaign. She sent Stay the Dumbledore letter — which was reportedly hand-written in purple ink — as well as a wand, a letter of acceptance to the Hogwarts school of wizardry and a list of supplies Stay would need to commence studies at the mythical academy this fall.
A Rowling spokesperson told the Telegraph, “We can confirm that J. K. Rowling was in touch with Cassidy Stay, however, the contents of the letter remain private.”
When asked if the author would be meeting Stay in person, the spokesperson demurred, saying, “We wouldn’t comment on that but [Cassidy’s] is a remarkable story.”
Watch video about Cassidy Stay from July, embedded below: