Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cops describe 11-year-old’s death as accidental hanging

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD Rehanna Briggs’s love for dancing may have led to her death at her family’s home on Friday evening.

Relatives believe Rehanna was dancing when she became entangled in clothing hanging from a line.

Police officers thus far have described the standard four pupil’s death as an accidental hanging. 

An autopsy is expected to be done tomorrow.

Even as Rehanna’s mother, Angela Briggs—who suffers from high blood pressure—remained sedated at hospital yesterday, other family members were in shock at their Dyer’s Village, Williamsville home.

Rehanna’s cousin Wanda Campbell said she was trying to get the image of the little girl’s motionless body out of her mind.

“It happened so fast, so sudden. She was playing right there. I wish I didn’t see (her body) ... I can’t wrap my mind around ... I can’t believe she gone. She was the baby in the family ... No more Hanna,” Campbell wept.

Rehanna was the youngest sibling to two brothers and three sisters.

The last time Campbell saw the child alive was on Friday morning when Rehanna told her she was gong to a nearby parlour before she headed to the Hardbargain Government Primary School.

Hours later, a relative was trying to save Rehanna’s life.

Campbell said that around 5 p.m. Rehanna was playing with a family member who left to take a bath.

A short while later, Campbell said her sister-in-law, Laura, went to get ice and juice for the children when she found Rehanna’s body inside a partially constructed section of the house.

She screamed for help, telling Campbell that it seemed Rehanna’s neck was broken.

Campbell made her way across the road. Another relative arrived and emergency personnel were also contacted.

Paramedics gave directions over the phone while Campbell’s brother-in-law administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but the child was unresponsive.

When the ambulance arrived, Rehanna was hooked to machines but Campbell said her vital signs were not recording.

Rehanna was rushed to hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police officers believed Rehanna was dancing and twirling when she became entangled in a piece of clothing. 

“You read about these things and hear about it but it hit home now ... We have no more Rehanna ... With my two sons, they play and people say I am overprotective but I want to see them in front my eye.”

Rehanna was yesterday remembered as a “tomboy” who would often play with her cousin.

Campbell said, “What hurts me is she was alone and death came and take her ... She was jolly, a happy child, always smiling ... She liked to go to church and sing and dance ... She wanted to dance.”

She said the 11-year-old girl had also won several medals for track and field and she had encouraged Rehanna’s mother to help her excel in the field.  

Relatives were preparing for the child’s wake yesterday. Campbell said it was three years ago that the family had lost another member when her grandmother passed away.