An 8-year-old girl from Boynton Beach died on Sunday, months after she burned her mouth and throat drinking boiling water on a dare, authorities in Florida say.
Ki’ari Pope told her mother’s 29-year-old boyfriend that she couldn’t breathe late on Sunday. Minutes later, the girl was unresponsive and the boyfriend called 911.
A rescue crew rushed Ki’ari to a hospital. The emergency crew tried to revive the girl for 40 minutes, but she was pronounced dead just past midnight on Monday. The medical examiner has not yet determined the cause of death, said Boynton police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater.
Marquisia Bonner, the girl’s 22-year-old mother, told the Sun Sentinel that she was at a store when Ki’ari lost consciousness. When she returned, she saw police near her home.
“I knew there was something going on with my daughter,” she said.
Ki’ari drank boiling water through a straw on a dare from her eight-year-old cousin. They watched a YouTube video where someone appears to do it. No charges were filed in that case.
The burns Ki’ari sustained after drinking the boiling water led doctors to perform a tracheotomy. The girl went to an emergency room twice since the surgery because she couldn’t breathe, her mother said. Ki’ari also had trouble talking.
Ki’ari was in third grade at Washington Elementary School, liked music, dancing, and played basketball. She was due for a check up at her doctor’s office on Friday, Bonner said.
“She was just a little girl full of life,” Bonner said. “Everyone loved her.”
The girl’s family set up a page to raise funds for the funeral scheduled for Aug. 12.
Florida’s child-welfare agency is investigating the death. According to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reports, there are a series of cases involving the girl since 2009, five of them involving domestic violence between the mother and her boyfriend.
The reports are redacted, so it is unclear if the same boyfriend was involved in each case.
“The loss of this child is truly devastating, and our condolences go out to all those who loved her,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in an emailed statement.
Caroll added that a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team has been deployed to investigate the family’s interactions with Florida’s child welfare system. DCF officials took Bonner’s three other children away on Thursday afternoon, the mother’s cousin said.
The girl’s mother photographed the girl when she was in the hospital and posted a picture on Facebook on March 27. The photo shows Bonner holding the girl’s hand while she lies in bed hooked up to monitors.
“Lords know i havent felt this kinda pain since my daddy died it hurts so much … yall pray for my baby kiari and plz dont ask what happened!” the caption on the picture said.