Kaylee and family were approximately one-half mile from the campground near the lower falls when a rock from a cliff about 20 feet above them came loose, according to Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn. It fell and struck Kaylee in the head, Blackburn said.
The rock was roughly 8 inches by 2 to 3 feet and weighed around 50 pounds, he said.
“It wasn’t anyone’s fault,” the sheriff said.
Big Horn County Dispatch received the call at 1:25 p.m. At 1:26 p.m. Big Horn deputies and Search and Rescue were dispatched to the scene. Lovell police dispatched the Lovell Volunteer Fire Department and North Big Horn Hospital EMTs.
Deputies were already working the scene of a motor vehicle crash, so two deputies were on the scene by 1:39 p.m.
“We were maybe 9 miles from them,” Blackburn said.
An investigation determined that no one was hiking above when and where the incident occurred. Kaylee’s parents, Jennilee and Kacey Spomer, were not endangering their daughter at the popular spot.
“It’s a very safe area,” Blackburn said. “The family was doing absolutely nothing wrong.”
The rock’s displacement was an act of nature. It was senseless.
“It wasn’t anyone’s fault,” Blackburn said. “It was a freak, tragic accident.”
People with medical training were at the Five Springs area and went immediately to aid the child before emergency responders arrived. Lovell firefighters arrived as did hospital EMTs. Kaylee was transported by ambulance to the hospital, Blackburn said.
She died about two hours later at North Big Horn Hospital, he said.
People already on the scene, as well as emergency responders and hospital staff, did everything they could to save her, but Kaylee’s injuries were too severe, Blackburn said. Bystanders, Big Horn County deputies and Search and Rescue members, Lovell firefighters and hospital personnel are to be commended for their dedicated efforts to save the young girl, he said.
“They (emergency responders) did everything they could,” Kacey said. “We know that.”
“We really do appreciate everyone’s help,” Jennilee said.
“I just want everybody to understand, this accident was a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the family,” Blackburn said.
Kaylee was cute as a button, her parents said. When she was decked out in a pretty dress, her eyes glowed.
“She loved dressing up,” Jennilee said. “She was very outgoing,” Jennilee said.
“There was no stranger in her eyes,” Kacey said.
Kaylee made friends with the college girls living in their apartment building. That was a good thing, too. One day, while Kacey and Kaylee were fishing, they caught toads.
Pretty soon Kaylee had a passel of toads in her possession.
“We had to have caught about 20 that night,” Kacey said.
Somehow, those toads wound up in the college girls’ shower. The coed who found the toads was a little peeved until she discovered it was her little friend pulling the prank, Kacey said.
Kaylee became a real prankster after that, Mom said.
Kaylee loved her brother, Alex, also 4, just six months older. She also loved her new sister, who is 1 month old.
“She was so excited to be a big sister,” Jennilee said.
Funeral Mass services for Kaylee will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the St. Barbara’s Catholic Church, 115 E. Third St. in Powell. A death notice is in today’s paper.
Memorial funds in Kaylee’s name are at First Bank of Wyoming and in Kacey’s name at Wells Fargo in Powell to help with funeral expenses.