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Investigators have concluded that the death of Raniya Wright, 10, was due to natural causes.

Prosecutors say congenital condition, not fight, caused girl's death at South Carolina school

April 19, 2019
Raniya Wright, 10, died last month, 2 days after a fight with another student at a school in Walterboro, S.C.

A fifth-grade girl who died last month at her South Carolina school died of natural causes and not because of a fight with another student, prosecutors say.

CBS News reports that investigators have concluded that 10-year-old Raniya Wright died of a congenital condition called an arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain. 

Duffie Stone, solicitor of South Carolina's 14th Judicial Circuit, announced at a news conference 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.

The girl fought with another student at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro on March 25 and died two days later.

No criminal charges will be filed in the case, Stone says.

An investigation found that the child had repeatedly complained of headaches in the days and weeks before her death.

The child's family has maintained that another fifth-grade girl had hit or pushed Raniya. Officials described the altercation as a brief  "slap fight" and said the girls were immediately separated. They said there was no indication of bullying or any previous reported incidents between the two girls.

But Margie Pizarro, an attorney for Raniya's mother, Ashley Wright, disputed that account. Pizarro says other students in Raniya's class told her family that the other girl involved in the fight had been bothering Raniya all day.

She says Wright had previously reported numerous bullying incidents by the same student with Raniya over the course of several years.

Pizarro says that during the fight in question, the other child put Raniya in a headlock, punched her in the head repeatedly, and pushed her into a shelf, from which a brick-sized object dislodged and fell on her head.  
The attorney also says Wright had no indication her child suffered from a medical condition. She described the medical findings disclosed by prosecutors as "initial" and says the family will consult with medical professionals to determine whether the altercation could have contributed to the girl's death.

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