Investigators say RaNiya Wright died of natural causes, not classroom fight

Colleton County News

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – New information was revealed Friday in the death investigation of 10-year-old RaNiya Wright.

The Forest Hills Elementary School student was airlifted to MUSC on March 25th after suffering some sort of medical emergency following a classroom fight.

Wright was pronounced dead two days later.

For the first time since that initial incident, investigators released details about what happened that day and the cause of death.

What is now being called a “slap-fight” happened in the classroom at Forest Hills Elementary last month. But the fight was not the cause of death, according to the Solicitors office. Instead, they say Wright died of natural causes and that the fight had nothing to do with it.

“There was no evidence of trauma on or inside the body of RaNiya Wright that would indicate any fight at any magnitude contributed to her death,” said 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffy Stone at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Stone said Wright’s autopsy shows the trauma in her brain was the result of a neurological condition known as AVM, and that Wright was likely born with it.

“Normally a human being will have arteries and veins going through their body—they will be separated and connected by capillaries,” he explained. “In this rare instance, the arteries and veins are tangled and intertwined. That causes pressure on the artery and vascular walls. That pressure will eventually lead to rupture.”   

Stone says medical records show Wright had been to the hospital at least seven times with complaints of headaches and that pathologist could not find a link between the rupture and the altercation at school.

“There were no bruises, no cuts, no scrapes,” he said.

Because of that, Stone will not be bringing criminal charges in the incident.

Members of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office also said their investigation found no indication that the incident was handled improperly or involved bullying.

“The teacher was in control of the classroom, she was present, she was at her desk and she immediately responded to the situation to separate the children and notify administrators,” said an investigator with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.

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