South Carolina fifth-grader who passed away after school fight died of natural causes, prosecutor says

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South Carolina fifth-grader Raniya Wright — the student who died last month after a fight at her elementary school — died of natural causes, and there’s no evidence the fight contributed to her death, prosecutor Duffie Stone said Friday.

“There was no evidence of trauma on or inside her body … that would indicate that any fight (of) any magnitude contributed to her death,” Stone, the area solicitor, said at a news conference.

“There will be no criminal charges brought,” he said.

Stone, as well as Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland and Richard Harvey, the county coroner, announced at the news conference their initial findings in the investigation of the 10-year-old’s death.

It’s not clear what led to the confrontation between Raniya and another student at Forest Hills Elementary in Walterboro, about an hour’s drive west of Charleston.

Raniya’s father, Jermaine Van Dyke, and his attorney, Mark Peper, were scheduled to meet with the solicitor Friday morning before the news conference.

An attorney for Raniya’s mother, Ashley Wright, could not be reached on Thursday.

Raniya suffered serious injuries from what authorities say was a fight on March 25. The fight did not involve weapons, according to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said they stopped the fight, and Raniya was taken to the school nurse’s station.

She was unconscious when paramedics arrived and transported her to a nearby hospital, according to a sheriff’s department report.

Raniya was later airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where she died on March 27.

Speaking to “Good Morning America” earlier this month, Wright said Raniya’s friends told her that a bully had been baiting the 10-year-old into a fight and caused her to hit her head on a bookshelf before she died.

Continuing coverage here. 

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