TUSTIN – A few days before her sudden death, the Beckman High junior texted relatives: “Save the date!”
As was her wont, Hillary Beth Moss, 16, had organized a fun-packed family day set for Dec. 3 that would culminate with a birthday party for her twin siblings Tyler and Shannon.
“We called Hillary the crew director,” said her aunt, Lauren Jane Lev. “I told her she should wear a visor and carry a clipboard and whistle everywhere she went.”
Tragically, Hillary will not see her brother and sister turn 15. The effervescent girl died Wednesday, Sept. 13, after collapsing in her Tustin bedroom.
Autopsy results were inconclusive, Orange County Supervising Deputy Coroner Daniel Aikin said Friday, Sept. 15. More tests are being performed to determine the cause of her death.
Lev said the autopsy ruled out meningitis or a brain aneurysm.
Hillary made local news in 2015 when Michelle Obama quoted her in a speech. As part of a history class assignment, Hillary sent the then-first lady a letter praising her “Let’s Move” campaign to inspire exercise and healthy eating.
“It’s not just her family — even Michelle Obama could see how extraordinary Hillary was,” Lev said.
Around 800 people attended Hillary’s funeral service on Sunday. She was interred at Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park in Costa Mesa.
Three buses brought kids who knew Hillary through their Jewish leadership program, said close friend Marissa McKenzie, also a Beckman junior. Hundreds of school mates showed up, as well.
“Literally everyone loved her,” Marissa said. “She was very kind and outgoing – always the one to start conversations. No one felt ignored when Hillary was around. We’re devastated.”
Beckman English teacher Nicole Belz agreed.
“She would bound into a room, a huge smile on her face, and inquire about everyone around her,” she said. “She was a great listener and full of helpful advice for her friends. Hillary didn’t have a negative bone in her body.”
Hillary awoke Sept. 12 with a low-grade fever, Lev said. But the honors student went to school anyway to take a test in her AP history class.
“She didn’t feel 100 percent, but other than that, it was a normal teenager day,” Lev said.
That night, Hillary felt well enough to eat dinner and Facetime with friends.
But after she didn’t appear for breakfast the next morning, Hillary’s father Mitch Moss found his daughter unresponsive. Never regaining consciousness, she died later that…