By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
Local police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 7-year-old San Benito girl, a Sullivan Elementary School first grader, after she reportedly collapsed on campus Monday.
The student was identified as Ruby Ramirez early Tuesday evening by Pastor Jay De La Cruz of Iglesia Cristiana Fuego De Dios (Fire of God Christian Church), where the child’s family attends church.
“Right now we have no idea,” De La Cruz said when asked if the family has been informed of any possible causes of death. “Doctors do not know.”
San Benito Police Department Assistant Operations Chief Michael Galvan said authorities are investigating the incident as per the request of school district officials.
“The school district asked us to take over the investigation, which is normal,” Galvan said. “It’s very noble that they’re opening their doors to us and operating with transparency.”
Galvan said the police department will contact Child Protective Services and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office with its findings, noting further that authorities are currently conducting interviews and requesting surveillance footage from the campus.
“I have two investigators assigned to the case, and they’re gathering all the information possible to get a clear picture of what happened,” Galvan said.
When asked if Ramirez had experienced any signs of illness or if she expressed as much while at school on Monday, Galvan said, “From what I do know, it happened very suddenly. That’s what I’ve been told. They’re still actively out there, talking to people and trying to piece it together. We owe it to the family.”
It also remains unknown whether the child suffered from any preexisting conditions – information the assistant operations chief said investigators will attempt to learn from the family. “We’ll reach out to them and see what they want to tell us,” Galvan said.
De La Cruz, who’s serving as the family’s spokesperson at this time, said Ramirez’ death came without warning. “She was a healthy kid,” De La Cruz said, further remarking that, according to his knowledge, Ramirez did not suffer from any life-threatening medical conditions nor was she taking any medication that required the administering of pills. “That just makes it tougher on the family.”
Regarding the nature of her collapse on Monday, De La Cruz said Ramirez began to “vomit blood” and may have expired at one point before she was revived while en route to a local hospital. “She also had a heart attack in the process,” De La Cruz said Tuesday. “She had a fever this morning, her heart wasn’t strong enough, and at 11:59 a.m. she passed.”
In a statement released Tuesday by San Benito CISD Community Relations Director Celia Longoria announcing that the district was currently in a state of mourning, Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón offered words of comfort to Ramirez’ family. “Counselors at Sullivan Elementary are assisting students, teachers and staff that are having a difficult time coping with the loss of this young life,” said Limón. “We extend our most sincere and deepest condolences to the child’s family and ask that you keep them in your prayers.”
As previously reported by the San Benito News via sbnewspaper.com, Ramirez was transported to a local hospital by ambulance after collapsing on campus at the end of the day Monday. School district officials also reported that the student was with a parent when she collapsed and “required prompt medical attention.”
“The school nurse began administering emergency aid until emergency medical personnel arrived,” Longoria said in a statement on Monday.
Those wishing to help Ramirez’ family with funeral expenses can call her brother, Stuart Ramirez, at (956) 399-5998.
Read this story in the Jan. 30 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.