Sol Pais, the Florida 18-year-old who was reportedly obsessed with the Columbine school shooting and caused that school and many others to go on lockout last week when she flew to Colorado and bought a gun, was likely dead before the lockout even occurred, authorities say. Pais flew from Miami to Denver on Monday, bought a pump-action shotgun and two boxes of ammunition near Littleton, then took a rideshare to Mount Evans. A massive manhunt ensued after her parents reported her missing and police warned of apparent threats indicating she could be targeting Columbine as the 20th anniversary of the school shooting approached; she was ultimately found dead Wednesday. But the local undersheriff now says she likely killed herself on the remote mountainside Monday night, and that that was likely her intent all along.
No credit card purchases or cellphone pings indicate the high school senior left Mount Evans once she was dropped off late Monday afternoon. Even if she didn't kill herself that night, police say she was cut off from the outside world with no cell signal in the area and no transportation. "She had no idea what occurred from late Monday afternoon to Tuesday when a search for her began and to Wednesday when her body was found," Clear Creek County Undersheriff Bruce Snelling tells the Denver Post. "The logical likelihood was she was here to end her journey. ... This poor, mentally ill girl needed help and probably never got it." Police followed footprints in deep snow on the mountain and found her body, which appeared to have been dead more than a day, about three-quarters of a mile from a lodge. An FBI agent in the Denver office notes that while agents considered her a credible threat, she had never made a specific threat against a specific school. (More on the "red flags" she raised here.)