The Latest: Family disputes official account of girl’s death

WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the death of a 5th grader who died after a fight at her South Carolina school (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The family of a 10-year-old South Carolina girl is disputing authorities’ account that the 5th grader died from natural causes after a brief “slap fight.”

Margie Pizarro is an attorney for the family of Raniya Wright, who died two days after the classroom fight March 25. Pizarro told reporters Friday a private investigator hired by the family interviewed one student who said Raniya was attacked from behind, punched several times in the head, and pushed into a file cabinet and a bookshelf.

She spoke after the sheriff and lead prosecutor for Colleton County told a news conference the girl died from rupturing blood vessels caused by a birth defect. They said an autopsy found no external or internal injuries from a fight.

Pizarro said the family is conducting its own investigation.


11 a.m.

A South Carolina prosecutor says the investigation into the death of a 5th grader last month was due to natural causes and not a fight with another student.

Solicitor Duffie Stone said at a press conference Friday that 10-year-old Raniya Wright died of a congenital condition called an arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain. The child had repeatedly complained of headaches in the days and weeks before her death.

Stone said that pathology and other scientific reports showed no evidence of trauma to the body that would have indicated the child died of injuries sustained in a fight on March 25.

The child’s family had maintained that another fifth grader at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro had hit or pushed the girl.

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