Missing 15-year-old girl, Clinton High School sophomore, found dead

A 15-year-old Clinton High School sophomore was found dead in a small body of water behind a grocery store plaza in her hometown on Sunday afternoon, according to authorities and the girl’s mother.

Mackenzie Hohl, of 38 Webster St., was walking on railroad tracks behind the Hannaford Supermarket plaza on Brook Street late Friday night, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said in a statement. According to a preliminary investigation, she fell between 20 and 30 feet from a wall and landed in the water. No foul play is suspected.

The girl’s mother, Katie Hohl, said her daughter had gone missing on Friday.

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“She was a beautiful, bright, intelligent, wonderful, wonderful girl,” Katie Hohl said in a phone interview Sunday night. “I’m still in shock. She’s too young. This is not happening. This is not happening. She’s still my baby.”

Hohl, who said that Mackenzie had a 12-year-old sister and a 1-year-old brother, said that the girl’s father died in 2010. Hohl described the father as a “good friend,” but said that she and the father were never married.

In 2011, a year after her father’s death, Mackenzie Hohl wrote an open letter to her father that was published in The Clinton Item.

“It’s been a year now daddy and I’m beginning to understand life less and less every day,” the girl wrote. “People used to tell me I was going to go places, that I was the one who was actually going to be somebody....Now it is as if my life has taken a 180-degree turn around the sharpest corner of life. I am so confused on everything. I am now beginning to question all of my goals and aspirations in life that I had once set for myself. Life is getting too complicated for me. I’m to the point where I am just living day by day.”

“I miss you so much, daddy,” the letter concludes.

Mackenzie Hohl’s body was found shortly before 2 p.m. on Sunday by a Clinton man who was looking for her, the district attorney’s office said. The plaza is about two miles from her home.

Katie Hohl said that family and friends had been circulating pictures of her daughter online since her disappearance. Word that she was missing had spread on social media sites and through the town, Early’s office said. Clinton, located about 15 miles northeast of Worcester, has a population of roughly 13,600.

The Clinton Item reported that hundreds of people turned out for a candlelight vigil at the high school football field Sunday night.

The state’s chief medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death, Early’s office said.