SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The family of a 10-year-old girl, who police said died of an apparent suicide, continued their nine-day prayer vigil Wednesday night.
“We want people to remember who she was,” Alicia Miranda, her aunt, said. “And not think that she was a sad little girl who was in some horrible depression, because that wasn’t the truth.”
Allison Wendel, a fifth grader at Hazard Elementary School, was found dead in her family’s Santa Ana home on Sunday.
Police have focused their investigation on the girl’s social media accounts and have shown up at her school to look into allegations of bullying, but her family said they do not believe bullying was a factor in her death.
According to the family, Allison was the victim of a single bullying incident one month ago, but they said the incident was addressed.
“I didn’t like the fact that they started saying it was because of bullying, because we don’t want to point fingers right now,” Bonnie Mesinas, a family member, said. “We don’t want someone to feel guilty for something that we don’t know it was for sure.”
Allison has been described as an outgoing and funny child who loved to dance and roller skate.
“We are hoping this is an accident,” Miranda said. “We are hoping that this is just her being funny and playing around and maybe something went wrong.”
Mesinas said Allison was looking forward to a planned family trip to Six Flags prior to her death.
“To know that she’s not here, and that I won’t be able to do that anymore, it breaks my heart,” Mesinas said. “The last time she spoke to me, she gave me a big hug and I said, ‘I love you.'”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for funeral expenses and to help cover the cost of therapy for Allison’s younger sister.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained counselors are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help.
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email email@example.com.