Lives can be changed forever in only a matter of minutes


When you stop and think about it, in probably less than five minutes, the lives of potentially dozens of people – or more – can be changed forever.

It can be that flight you don’t make, that train you didn’t catch, that job you didn’t get or the person you happen to meet at a party who ends up as your spouse.

Sometimes, though, those life-changing moments are tragic. Take the case of Julie Stiller. The Spring-Ford senior was set to walk with her graduating class in a matter of weeks and then come fall she was supposedly headed to Penn State.

Those things aren’t going to happen now because her boyfriend – a former student in the Perkiomen Valley School District – allegedly stabbed her to death Saturday night. Tristan Brian Stahley admitted to stabbing Siller, 17, and hiding her body in woods along the Skippack Trail not far from his home where they’d begun arguing, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said.

Mercury reporter Frank Otto wrote that according to a statement released by the Perkiomen Valley School District, Stahley is a former student of the district who withdrew from school in February.

“We cannot share additional details of the student’s withdrawal from our school due to the investigation being conducted at this time by local law enforcement,” the statement said.

According to an affidavit in the case, Stahley’s mother told police he’d recently been treated “for a narcotics addiction and was currently taking anti-depressant medications.” Stahley admitted to stabbing Siller and hiding her body in woods along the Skippack Trail not far from his home where they’d begun arguing, the DA’s office said.

Often rivals on the sports fields, Perkiomen Valley offered its condolences to the Spring-Ford Area School District Sunday, Otto wrote.

“The Perkiomen Valley School District was deeply saddened to learn Sunday of the death of a Spring-Ford Area High School student following an alleged knife attack in Skippack,” the statement said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of this child.”

Stahley is charged with murder of the first and third degrees as well as criminal possession of a weapon. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 4.

Violence knows no boundaries these days. It happens in suburbs like it happens anywhere else. It happens to people you don’t know and to people you do know. In this case, my daughter was a fellow dancer with Siller at a local dance studio. She knew her fairly well and the news left her shaken.

Our kids are just that – kids. They see this stuff on television but don’t ever dream it can happen here or to them or to people they know. But it does. And now the families of both of these kids are changed forever.

For the Siller family, their daughter is gone. And the worst part is because it is allegedly at the hands of someone she called her boyfriend. And for the family of Stahley, their son is likely going to spend most of the rest of his life in prison.

Two lives changed in an instant. If only…

— Andy Hachadorian


About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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One Response to Lives can be changed forever in only a matter of minutes

  1. Courtney says:

    As someone originally from the area, it shocks and sickens me that depravity of this sort has found it’s way into teenagers of Montgomery county. Not only are these two families lives changed, but the classmates, friends, teachers, and neighbors also effected.
    Thanks for the interesting write up. I hope your daughter is processing the events in a healthy way!

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