Probe into girl’s death ongoing

Staff Writer

Ruby Ramirez

Ruby Ramirez

San Benito police continue to investigate the death of 7-year-old Ruby Ramirez despite authorities, citing preliminary autopsy results, indicating that she may have succumbed to asphyxiation by choking on a balloon.

When asked about developments in the investigation, San Benito Police Department Assistant Operations Chief Michael Galvan deferred all questions to school district officials.

Ramirez, a first grade student at Sullivan Elementary School in San Benito, collapsed near the campus playground on Monday, Jan. 28, at about the time her mother arrived to pick her up from school that afternoon. Jay De La Cruz, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Fuego De Dios (Fire of God Christian Church), has spoken on behalf of Ramirez’ family, reporting that the girl, who he said had no preexisting conditions nor was on any medications that required the administering of pills, began to cough up blood following her collapse and had to be revived at one point before reaching a local hospital. School district officials have also stated that a nurse on the scene performed emergency aid while waiting for EMS technicians’ arrival.

Ramirez died Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 11:59 a.m.

Galvan did confirm that the police department is proceeding with a full investigation and will be forwarding the case, once completed, to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Attorney Kevin O’Hanlon of O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath, the firm representing San Benito CISD, said that the school district is cooperating with the police department to determine where Ramirez may have acquired the balloon.

“The coroner will deal with that,” O’Hanlon said. About whether Ramirez’ death could be ruled accidental, O’Hanlon said, “That’s the medical examiner’s job. We are fully cooperating with the police department. They’ll do what they need to do. We’re trying to be as open and transparent as we can.”

The investigation into Ramirez’ death has sparked more questions following developments that a balloon was discovered to be the likely cause of death.

As reported on Wednesday via, an autopsy was performed at approximately 9 a.m. and lasted until 12 p.m. Wednesday, according to police.

“All signs point to lack of oxygen or oxygen depletion,” Galvan said in a previous interview about the preliminary autopsy results. “Right now it looks like asphyxia due to internal occlusion of airway by a balloon. We did seize the balloon, which looks like a regular party balloon; it was found in her airway.”

Read this story in the Feb. 3 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

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1 comment

    • Fedup on February 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm
    • Reply

    This morning (Valentine’s Day), my wife, who is an elementary Teacher in SBISD, walked out the door with many balloons in her hand. I went outside to remind her that balloons are not allowed in school, only in classrooms for educational purposes. She was surprised when I told her this, stating this is the first she had heard of such rule.

    So what might look good on paper to appease the public surely needs to be communicated to the frontlines. Another example of extremely poor communication from our administrators.

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