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5th Grader Raniya Wright Died Of 'Natural Causes' — Not Bullying, Authorities Say

No criminal charges will be sought in connection to the death of the South Carolina 5-grader, who passed away last month after a classroom fight.

By Dorian Geiger
Raniya Wright

Raniya Wright, the 10-year-old South Carolina girl who reportedly passed away following a classroom fight with another student, died of natural causes, according to prosecutors and police. 

Initially, it appeared that Wright, who allegedly had a history of being bullied, died following injuries sustained in a physical altercation with a classmate at her Forest Hills Elementary school in Walterboro, S.C. on March 25. The school had suspended the other student while authorities investigated the incident. 

But in a press conference on April 19, Duffie Stone, solicitor for the 14th Judicial Circuit, along with Colleton County law enforcement, laid out the findings of a medical examiner report, which concluded Wright died from a “brain rupture” and condition known as “arteriovenous vascular malformation” (AVM).

“The cause of death, the manner of death was natural,” said Stone. “This fight did not contribute to her death.”

Prosecutors said they will not pursue criminal charges in the matter.

“There was no evidence of trauma on or inside the body of Raniya Wright that would indicate that any fight of any magnitude contributed to her death,” Stone added. “There were no bruises, no cuts, no scrapes, no busted lips, no black eyes. Internally, the tissue that was tested also did not show of other trauma. The only trauma was limited in scope to the rupture that took place in the brain.”

Stone said that the fifth-grader had a “history” of medical complications related to her condition. Wright had been to the doctor 13 days before she died, he said, and beginning in 2017, had been to the doctor seven times.

AVM is a condition which can lead to hemorrhaging and brain bleeds. Each time a person with AVM experiences a brain bleed, “the risk of death” is “10 to 15 percent," according to the American Stroke Association.

“Normally, arteries carry blood containing oxygen from the heart to the brain, and veins carry blood with less oxygen away from the brain and back to the heart,” according to the American Stroke Association. “When an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) occurs, a tangle of blood vessels in the brain bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins.”

However, shortly after Raniya’s death, her mother Ashley Wright told “Good Morning America” her daughter had a history of being bullied by the student who she was involved in an altercation with, according to ABC.

"I'm very upset with the school system, starting out, only because of the fact that I've been complaining about the person that she fought numerous times to them," said Ashley Wright. 

“She did not want to go to school these last couple of weeks,” she added. “I felt like the situation at school was getting worse."

Oxygen.com couldn’t reach Ashley Wright for comment. But in a previous statement to Oxygen.com, Ashley Wright’s family friend, Angela Carr, admitted she also knew of the bullying Raniya allegedly endured. 

“She has been to the school about her daughter being bullied before,” Carr said.

Forest Hills Elementary School will discuss the autopsy findings with students, staff, administration, and the community at a press conference later this afternoon.

This story is ongoing. 

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