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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Elementary School Girl's Death Ruled a Homicide [UPDATED]

The coroner's office said she suffered from blunt force trauma to her head.

[UPDATED | 12:50 p.m. February 28, 2012 The Los Angeles coroner's office has ruled the death of 10-year-old Joanna Ramos a homicide Monday.]

Friends and family placed rememberances for 10-year-old Joanna Ramos. (Photo courtesy ATVN)
Friends and family placed rememberances for 10-year-old Joanna Ramos. (Photo courtesy ATVN)

After classes ended at Willard Elementary in Long Beach,  Ramos got into a fight with an 11-year-old classmate in an alley by their school on Friday. A few punches and shoves were exchanged, but the fight was over within a minute. Police say there were several witnesses and neither girl was knocked to the ground. Just six hours later, Ramos was dead.

On Tuesday, the trauma surgeon who treated Ramos said she went into cardiac arrest at the hospital four times before she was pronounced dead.

While officials had originally cautioned linking the fight to the girl's death, Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles coroner's office, confirmed her death was a result of blunt force trauma to her head.

Ramos had returned to school after the fight with a bloodied nose, complaining that her head was hurting. Some time later, she vomited and her mom was called to pick her up.

From there, she was taken to the hospital where she went into surgery for a blood clot in her brain. She was pronounced dead shortly before 9 p.m. following efforts to revive her.

"I could see her lips turning purple and I got so scared. I tried to do CPR. I tried my best, but when we got to the hospital they said her heart was stopped. They tried, they tried so hard," said Ramos' mother on Tuesday.

The principal of the elementary school distributed a letter to the parents. Students are placing flowers and notes in a memorial dedicated to her outside the school. Crisis management counselors will be at the school Monday to help students.

Ramos told her mother only one punch was thrown but doctors claim one punch could not have left the amount of trauma Ramos endured.

Before she lost conciousness, Ramos told her mother she and the 11-year-old were enemies. Classmates said the fight was over a boy.

As of now, no arrests have been made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

this is so sad. why her birthday is today and sois mine. happy birthday joanna wishes and many kisses. R.I.P joanna ramos. please stop such tragedy to this little girl huges and kisses hun.

This is such a tragedy people must realy start doing sumthing more at primary schools the poor girl had her hole life ahead of her and man I don't have any words condolences to famly

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