An 8-year-old Florida girl died about four months after she was severely injured while drinking boiling water through a straw—in an incident that officials are saying was a dare gone wrong.
Ki’ari Pope began having trouble breathing on the night of July 30, telling her mother’s boyfriend who then called 911, CBS reported. Later, she lost consciousness, the Department of Children and Families said.
Ki’ari was taken to a nearby hospital where she died there 40 minutes later.
In March, she drank boiling hot water through a straw on a dare. Ki’ari’s aunt, Diane Johnson, told WPEC News that the girl’s cousins had dared her to drink the water.
“They dared her and she said, ‘OK, I’m going to show y’all I’m not scared, I’m going to do this,'” Johnson said.
The girl and her cousins had watched the “hot water challenge” on YouTube, showing someone apparently drinking boiling water with a straw.
The Florida Department of Children and Families launched an investigation into the girl’s death, according to WJXT.
“We have opened a child death investigation to examine the circumstances surrounding her death and will deploy a critical incident rapid response team to review all interactions this family has had with Florida’s child welfare system,” DCF secretary Mike Carroll told the station. “We will also continue to work closely with law enforcement to support their continued efforts.”
The department told CBS that it received multiple reports involving the girl and her family from 2009 to 2017.
A GoFundMe set up for the family’s expenses says that Ki’ari had to undergo emergency surgery, and doctors had to remove scarred tissue from her windpipe. She had breathing issues after that, leading to an emergency tracheotomy.
Johnson said that parents should monitor what their kids watch on YouTube.
“Parents, talk to your kids about these challenges,” she told CBS. “Don’t just let it go by and just give them your phone and let them be. No. Watch what they’re watching.”
Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater told CBS that the local medical examiner is working to determine the girl’s cause of death.