J.K. Rowling sends Dumbledore letter to Texas girl hit by violence

J.K. Rowling reaches out to Texas girl whose family was murdered

Texas teen Cassidy Stay showed her grace in the face of unthinkable violence this year as the lone survivor of a shooting that left her entire family dead in their Houston suburban home.

At the memorial service for her parents and four siblings -- gunned down allegedly by a disturbed uncle -- the 15-year-old quoted her favorite author, and "Harry Potter" character Albus Dumbledore. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times,” she quoted Dumbledore, “if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Recently, Stay discovered the world was listening -- including J.K. Rowling, the British author of the "Harry Potter" series. In a handwritten letter, the Scotland-based writer reached out to the orphaned girl to offer her encouragement.

The connection came after a Facebook campaign sought to organize a meeting between Rowling and her adoring young fan. The author responded by sending Stay several gifts, including a wand, a signed book and a letter by “Dumbledore.”

Rowling’s U.S.-based lawyer, Ken Kleinberg, confirmed that the letter had been sent but did not disclose its contents. He did not confirm whether the author had plans to meet Stay.

Earlier this year, during the memorial, Stay showed mature composure, saying her family was “in a much better place” and that she would see them one day.

Ronald Lee Haskell -- accused of killing Cassidy's parents, Katie and Stephen, and siblings, whose ages ranged from 4 to 14 -- faces murder charges.

Haskell allegedly showed up at the Stay home seeking his estranged wife, Melannie Lyon, sister of Katie Stay. When Cassidy refused to open the door, Haskell broke it down and tied up the children until their parents arrived, police said. The parents were also later bound.

When family members couldn’t tell him where his wife was, Haskell allegedly shot each of them in the back of the head. Cassidy was injured from a shot to the head but played dead and later called 911.

The Facebook page, which shows Cassidy wearing a pair of round Harry Potter glasses, has nearly 9,000 likes. But its creator has apparently been so deluged she left a message to reporters.

“Considering the circumstances under which I created the page, I will not be giving out any information regarding Cassidy,” she wrote. “She's a little girl who needs to be consoled, not interviewed.”

Follow @jglionna for national news

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World