Family mourns death of Steamboat teen

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS -- News about 17-year-old Adele Dombrowski's death spread across Steamboat Springs in a series of cell phone rings. By evening, more than 50 teenagers had gathered at the home of Kris and Jim Stouffer, Adele's mother and stepfather, to talk about the life of the girl everyone wanted to be.

The popular Steamboat Springs High School senior passed away in her bed during the night Friday. Rebecca Timmerman found her body at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when she came to pick Adele up for tennis practice.

"Rebecca said she was having a hard time waking Adele up," said Adele's mom, Kris Stouffer. "When I walked into her room, I knew she had been gone for some time."

Stouffer tried to give her daughter CPR until police arrived.

Adele's father and brother were in Denver for a hockey game when they heard the news.

On Friday night, Adele was in Craig celebrating the Steamboat football team's close victory against Moffat County. What happened during the night is unclear. An autopsy of her body will be complete today, and until then, the cause of death is unknown.

On Sunday, Adele's room sat empty. The bed where she died was made. Photos and newspaper clippings of three years of tennis, six years of hockey and five years of volleyball covered one wall.

Upstairs, teenagers, family members and family friends filled the house as they shared their memories. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.

"(Adele) loved everybody," Kris Stouffer said. "Parents would always comment to me that they came to the school and Adele was the only one who said hi to them.

"Gracious is the word a lot of people used, even as far back as her first-grade teacher."

The Adele people remembered would never gossip behind anyone's back. Instead, she stood up for the underdog. "She always saw the good in people," Kris Stouffer said.

Adele was the one on the hockey team who looked out for the younger players.

Jake Dombrowski, Adele's 16-year-old brother, watched as his older sister befriended the entire school. "She didn't have one best friend," he said. "Everyone knew her. No one talked bad about her."

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