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San Benito Student's Death Under Investigation

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Posted: Jan 30, 2013 6:19 PM

Updated: Jan 30, 2013 8:52 PM

SAN BENITO - Police are investigating the death of a Sullivan Elementary School student in San Benito.

The girl, Ruby Ramirez, collapsed near the school's playground Monday afternoon. She died Tuesday morning.

An autopsy revealed the 7-year-old died from choking on a balloon.

Ruby's mother is not convinced with the official cause of death.

Maria del Refugio Ramirez said she was on the playground when her daughter collapsed.

Ramirez said another child screamed her daughter's name.

"I turned and my daughter was face down," Ramirez said.

Ruby was taken to Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen where she died.

"She didn't have a balloon in her hand when I hugged her," Ramirez said. "She didn't have it in her hand or her mouth. Where did the balloon come from?"

Ramirez said nobody at the hospital saw the balloon either. VBMC officials would not discuss the case.

The San Benito Police Department has stepped in to investigate the death.

"We still have to rule every single thing out. ... Everyone is looking into this. The school district police department has been very cooperative. The staff at the school has been very cooperative," San Benito Police Assistant Chief Michael Galvan said.

Investigators said the cause of death stands. They are waiting for toxicology reports as part of the investigation.

Still, police said reality can be difficult to assimilate.

"It's very hard for any parent to absorb. It's very hard for any parent to understand what it means completely that this is happening to them," Galvan said.

"I don't want to blame anyone. I just want the truth," Ramirez said.

Ramirez said she will not stop asking questions about her daughter's death.

Topics: ruby ramirez, maria del refugio ramirez, michael galvan, san benito, sullivan elementary

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