A New York City mother found her 7-year-old daughter choking in the kitchen after she walked away.
The child played one of her usual pranks but this one was fatal. Precise Tucker tied one end of a bathrobe belt around her neck and the other end to the refrigerator handle, on March 21. Her mother, Purity Baldwin, told her to knock it off and then left the room, the New York Post reported.
But Precise continued with the stunt while she ate potato chips. Precise’s 15-year-old brother came back in and found her choking. He called Baldwin and they tried to clear chips from Precise’s throat and administered CPR, according to the Post.
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Neighbors also tried to help revive Precise before the ambulance arrived. One of them, a former EMT, said the prank isn’t the reason she choked.
“That was a prank. The thing was loose,” Debi Pawluk told the Daily News, referring to the bathrobe sash. “The brother cut it off. There’s absolutely no marks whatsoever on this girl’s neck.”
“[EMTs] put her on a stretcher and rushed to the ambulance,” neighbor Jose Rivera told the Post. “They were pushing on her chest as they ran.”
Precise began breathing on her own again after CPR, but it was too late.
“They called in a brain specialist last night and she failed every test,” Precise’s aunt told the Post. “He’s saying she’s brain-dead.”
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The girl’s father arrived home after the ambulance had gone.
“He ran in the apartment. I saw him taking the carriage with the little one out of the apartment,” Rivera told the Post. “I said, ‘What happened?’ He didn’t answer. He just got in his car and took off.”
A neighbor spoke fondly of the little girl.
“She is a sweet little girl. I’ve known her from the time she was born,” Dennis Mandoros told the Post. “When I see her, I’d say, ‘Hello, little girl.’ She said hello back.”
Precise was pronounced dead two days after the prank, according to the Post.
“Her mom said she had done other pranks on the family in the past that involved her being physically injured or appearing to be deceased,” a police source told the Post.
Police are investigating. According to a source, the family has no history of abuse, the Post reported.