Details are emerging in the death of a 10-year-old girl on Friday who was brought to a hospital unconscious hours after an after-school fight with an 11-year-old girl near an elementary school. The victim, Joanna Ramos, died of injuries from blunt force trauma to the head.
Trauma surgeon Mauricio Heilbron Jr. said the girl wasn't breathing and was brought to the emergency room with the "lifeless eyes of a little child's doll," reports the Long Beach Press-Telegram. A CT scan showed severe bleeding inside her skull from an epidural hemorrhage — a buildup of blood between the skull and the brain.
Heilbron called the trauma a "nightmare situation" because brain hemorrhages may not be discovered for several hours based on the speed of the bleeding. The medical team worked for three hours to save the 5th-grader.
What has been reported so far:
- The incident took place in an alleyway near Willard Elementary in Long Beach.
- About seven children witnessed the fight which lasted approximately one minute.
- No weapons were involved.
- Witnesses said the girl grabbed Ramos by the hair and kneed her in the forehead.
- Ramos was witnessed bleeding from the nose and lip, but showed now visible signs of injury by the time she arrived at her after-school program.
- She was sent home nauseous and vomiting from the program.
- Ramos' mother, 41-year-old Cecilia Villanueva, said she her daughter told her "her enemy" punched her in the head.
- Ramos underwent emergency surgery at St. Mary Medical Center and died in intensive care approximately six hours after the fight.
- Police have not released the identity of the other girl, 11, whose name is reportedly known at the school and in the community
- The fight was over a boy, according to family members. Officials are investigating the claim.
- Claims that 11-year-old planned the fight and was goading Ramos are also being investigated.
- There was no indication that school officials knew of fight ahead of time.
- No previous problems were known to exist between the two girls .
- The coroner's office labeled her death a homicide.
- No arrests have been made.
Preliminary information reportedly indicated it was not likely the 10-year-old girl would be charged with murder, according to legal experts, reports the Press-Telegram. She could, however, face a serious felony filing that could see her incarcerated until she turns 25, if found to be true in juvenile court, they said. If the girl was found to be fit for the juvenile system, she could be tried as an adult.
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