SC 5th-grader RaNiya Wright died of ‘natural causes,’ investigation determined; family ‘we’ll go forward’ with private investigation

“If we have to go further than this, we’ll go further than this,” the grandfather said. “Natural causes did not cause my granddaugther to die.”
Updated: Apr. 20, 2019 at 11:10 AM EDT
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WALTERBORO, SC (WIS) - Officials with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colleton County Coroner’s Office have released their findings on the death of a fifth-grader.

The 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffy Stone said that no charges will be filed in the death of RaNiya Wright, that the fight she had with a fellow student did not contribute to her death, and that she died of natural causes due to a pre-existing health condition called arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. AVM is defined as a rare condition and happens with the twisting and eventual rupture of a vein or artery. The condition presents themselves in the form of headaches and dizziness caused by pressure or a rupture of the malformation.

"In this case, the science is very clear. Science showed us her death was natural,” Stone said.

The location of Wright’s AVM was in the back-left portion of her brain.

WATCH: Investigators to hold Friday press conference on death of SC 5th-grader RaNiya Wright

Stone said that Wright went to the doctor 13 days before the event complaining of headaches and had been seen by a doctor seven times in the last two years with those symptoms. A pathologist said Wright had this condition since birth.

Stone said the coroner’s office will release the full autopsy report on Monday and the cause of death will be listed as natural causes.

Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland dispeled some rumors, stating that the teacher was in the classroom the entire time of the incident, that an SRO was in the classroom quickly, and the fight between her and another student amounted to nothing more than “petty child things." He said the fight lasted five to 10 seconds.

Wright was taken to the principal’s office when she complained of a headache and was taken to the nurse’s office - 10 minutes after being separated from the fight. She got sick and vomited in the nurse’s office twice before becoming unresponsive, the sheriff’s office investigator said.

An attorney for Wright’s mother gave a statement afterward saying the family has started a private, independent investigation in what happened with the fight. She said a friend told the investigator that the student involved with the fight with RaNiya began taunting her verbally during their P.E. class, where the student claimed that the other student called RaNiya “ugly,” “you momma is broke,” and “you like girls,” among other things.

According to the student interviewed, Wright and the other student involved with the fight had a history of incidents for the last two years.

The family’s spokesperson said that the other student spoke frequently to other students throughout the day that she said she wanted to fight RaNiya and would that day. She says that the student involved has been reported as “having too much anger inside" and listed a myriad of other incidents with other students found in their private investigation.

The attorney and spokesperson says a reporting student told their private investigator the student attacked Wright from behind, put her in a headlock and punched her repeatedly in the head, then slammed her into bookshelf where an object fell on her head.

“What was the trigger for the rupture if she had this preexisting condition?” asks the family’s attorney. They plan to press for answers from medical professionals.

Ashley Wright, RaNiya’s mother, gave an emotional and heated statement outside of the sheriff’s office saying she will never be able to hold her daughter again and clapped back at internet bullies and a South Carolina state senator who claimed the fight was just a “small scuffle.”

She said by the time she got to her daughter at the hospital, she was unable to speak to her daughter because she was unresponsive.

The distraught mother also said she was not aware of any pre-existing conditions, and said she was a happy and healthy girl who played basketball. She said that RaNiya did not want to go to class, despite loving school, because of the bullying of the student involved in the fight.

RaNiya Wright’s grandfather, Ernest, said the investigation’s findings are the result of a cover-up.

“If we have to go further than this, we’ll go further than this,” the grandfather said. “Natural causes did not cause my granddaugther to die.”

WATCH LIVE: Family of RaNiya Wright give statement after investigation findings are released >>>

Posted by WIS TV on Friday, April 19, 2019

During a 3 p.m. press conference, the school district spoke to their part in the investigation and how teachers gave both RaNiya and the other girl warnings throughout the day.

Documents released by

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