An 8-year-old Florida girl who drank boiling water through a straw on a dare several months ago has died.
According to NBC Miami, Ki’ari Pope was rushed to hospital Sunday after she complained about problems breathing before losing consciousness.
Citing Florida Department of Children and Family (DCF) records, NBC reported the child was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Monday morning.
Pope’s mother told The SunSentinel she was at a store when her daughter fell unconscious just before midnight. Marquisia Bonner, 22, told the newspaper she saw police outside her home when she returned from the store and “and I knew there was something going on with my daughter.”
The child was suffering from complications for months as a result of drinking boiling water on a dare by her cousin, The SunSentinel reported. Pope was dared to drink the water after seeing someone doing it in a YouTube video. The child required emergency surgery on her windpipe to clear scar tissue so she could breathe. Bonner told the newspaper Pope’s tracheotomy left her with difficulty talking and breathing.
Pope suffered from burns to her mouth and throat as a result of the dare, NBC reported. The DCF investigated the incident and nine other allegations of neglect or abuse involving the child over eight years. At least five of the investigations involved allegations of domestic violence between the child’s mother and her boyfriend.
In a statement to both The SunSentinel and NBC News, DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said an investigation into the child’s death had been launched.
“The loss of this child is truly devastating and our condolences go out to all those who loved her,” Carroll said. “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. We will also continue to work closely with law enforcement to support their continued efforts.”
Bonner set up a GoFundMe page with the hope of raising $10,000 to help cover costs of her child’s funeral.
“On July 31 2017 my 8 year old daughter Kiari Pope gained her angel wings. Kiari was dared to drink hot boiling water by a cousin that was the same age as her, they seen a video from YouTube,” reads a posting on the GoFundMe page. “After several occasions of rebounds and stridor which lead her to have an emergency surgery to receive a tracheostomy which caused her to have chronic respiratory problems, her unable to talk and her death. She leaves behind a young devoted mother, father, sisters, and brothers.”
As of Friday morning, just over $3,000 had been raised.