Published On: Mon, Feb 27th, 2012

10-year-old girl’s death after fight with classmate ruled homicide

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LONG BEACH, CALIF.—The coroner’s office ruled Monday that the death of a 10-year-old U.S. schoolgirl after a fight with another female student was a homicide.
A photo of Joanna Ramos, 10,with a note, is left at a memorial outside Willard Elementary school in Long Beach, Calif. on Monday.Girl dies after fight
Blunt force trauma killed Joanna Ramos, who collapsed at home after a fight on Friday, coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral says Monday.
The girl’s older sister said Joanna died after surgery for a blood clot on the brain after the fight in an alley with an 11-year-old girl.
Joanna Ramos’ mother rushed her to the hospital Friday evening after the girl began vomiting and complained of a headache, said Vanessa Urbina, 17, who was at the hospital with her sister.
Joanna was unconscious by the time she arrived at the emergency room, but hospital staff revived her three times before she went into surgery for the blood clot, Urbina told The Associated Press.
“They did surgery on her brain because she had a blood clot, and after surgery the doctor said she was still alive, and then a few minutes later he comes back and tells us that her heart stopped and they couldn’t bring her back,” Urbina said, crying as she sat on the steps of her school near a memorial of flowers and balloons.
In the hospital, “She was covered up, you could only see her face,” Urbina said.
Joanna was pronounced dead at Friday evening, about six hours after she and another 11-year-old girl had a pre-planned fight near the school.
No arrests have been made.
The circumstances left family, friends and authorities seeking answers.
There were seven witnesses to the fight, which lasted less than a minute, police said. It didn’t involve any weapons and no one was knocked to the ground.
Detectives have interviewed family and friends of both girls, but there is no indication that Joanna was bullied, police said.
“I personally don’t hear of 11-year-old fights like this, especially girls. I can’t say they never happen but I think everyone was completely caught off-guard by this event,” police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said Sunday.
Joanna returned to her after-school program after the fight, where her friend saw her with blood on her knuckles from wiping at a bloody nose, said Cristina Perez, the friend’s mother.
Perez and other mothers outside the school said their children told them the fight was over a boy.
“They took off their backpacks, and they put their hair in a bun, and then that’s when they said ‘go’ and that’s when they started hitting each other,” Joanna’s friend and classmate Maggie Martinez, who watched the fight, told KNBC.
Martinez and other friends said they tried to stop the fight, but were held back by boys who were watching and wanted it to continue.

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