LONG BEACH (CBS) — The death of a fifth-grade Long Beach student has been ruled a homicide following a fight with a fellow female student, the Los Angeles County Coroner determined Monday.
The coroner’s office said Joanna Ramos, 10, died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Ramos, 10, died Friday night following an after-school fight in an alley with a classmate, Long Beach Police said. Fellow students at Willard Elementary School say the fight was over a boy.
“It was determined that after school, the two girls, and approximately seven onlookers, walked to a nearby alley to engage in a pre-planned fight,” police said.
The fight only lasted about a minute and didn’t involve any weapons.
“She did not hit her head. The other girl just punched her in the face. She started bleeding from the nose,” according to Joanna’s witness and friend Maggie Martinez.
After the fight, Ramos complained of a headache and left an after-school program early, officials said.
The victim’s mother, Cecilia Villanueva, talked to CBS2 about the disturbing final moments of Ramos’ life.
“When I get there Joanna was laid down by the driveway, on the cement. I asked her what happened. She said, ‘I don’t feel good, mommy,’” Villanueva said. “The only thing she told me was, ‘A girl hit me in my head,’ and then she began vomiting more and more.”
Villanueva, who is a medical assistant, brought her daughter home, where she lost consciousness. She and her husband transported Ramos to the hospital and Villanueva performed CPR on her in the car.
Ramos wasn’t breathing and was unconscious when she was brought into an emergency room at approximately 5:50 p.m. Friday, police said.
Villanueva said doctors had to “bring her back to life” several times that night. Ramos underwent surgery, but, 10 minutes out of the procedure, at about 8:50 p.m., the 10-year-old’s heart stopped for the last time.
“There are times when words do not convey the sense of sadness and loss that we feel, and this is one of those times,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said.
Ramos’ family said their daughter kept a journal on her iPod about being bullied at Willard Elementary School.
Police say there is no evidence that points to bullying as the cause of death for Ramos. No arrests have been made and authorities are determining if they will file criminal charges against the unidentified student.
The Long Beach School District is conducting a disciplinary investigation.
Grief counselors were on hand Monday for students at Willard Elementary School where a memorial to Ramos has been set up.