South Carolina school girl died of natural causes

Raniya Wright (WDRB)

WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP/NBC) — A South Carolina prosecutor said Friday that the investigation into the death of a fifth grader last month was due to rupturing blood vessels caused by a birth defect and not a fight with another student.

Solicitor Duffie Stone said at a press conference that 10-year-old Raniya Wright died of a congenital condition called an arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain. The child had repeatedly complained of headaches in the days and weeks before her death.

Stone said that pathological and other scientific reports showed no evidence of trauma to the body that would have indicated the child died of injuries sustained in a fight on March 25. Raniya died two days later.

"In this case, the science is clear," Stone said.

No criminal charges will be filed in the case, he said.

The child's family has maintained that another fifth grade girl at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro had hit or pushed the girl.

Ashley Wright told reporters that she wasn't aware of any birth defects or conditions that led to the rupture until after Raniya was hospitalized.

"My daughter was in good spirits that morning. She didn't complain of a headache," Wright said.

An attorney for Wright said that a private investigator hired by the family interviewed one student who said Raniya was attacked from behind, punched several times in the head, and pushed into a file cabinet and a bookshelf.

"This is not where the story ends. This is merely the beginning," attorney Margie Pizarro said.