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No charges in fight fatal to girl, 10
‘Tragic results,’ but no crime by other girl, 11
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Prosecutors Wednesday announced they had decided not to press charges against an 11-year-old girl who fought with a 10-year-old schoolmate hours before the younger girl died.
The death of Joanna Ramos, which attracted national attention and sparked a debate on school violence, came after a “fight between two children that ended with unintended and tragic results,” but no crime was committed, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement.
Police referred all inquiries to the district attorney’s office. District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said her office could not comment on the decision because the case involved a juvenile.
Joanna was pronounced dead on Feb. 24, about six hours after she tussled with another girl in an alley near her elementary school after classes ended.
Her mother, Cecilia Villanueva, said officials met with the family Wednesday morning, but she still knows few details about the fight and chose not to ask because it was too painful.
“There’s nothing they can do that’s going to bring my daughter back; nothing. There’s nothing I can do,” she said, choking back tears.
Mrs. Villanueva said she felt for the other girl.
“Her life is not the same anymore. I’m not angry because it could have happened to the girl instead of to Joanna,” she said.
The name of the other girl has not been made public.
Joanna’s family previously told the Associated Press that she underwent emergency surgery for a blood clot on her brain and was resuscitated several times before she died.
Joanna’s older sister, Vanessa Urbina, said Wednesday she was disappointed about the decision. The family knows little more about what prompted the fight than they did when it happened nearly two months ago, she said.
“There’s nothing we can do, but I want charges on her,” said Ms. Urbina, 17. “She killed my sister. She didn’t mean to kill her, but she meant to hurt her.”
The fight near Willard Elementary didn’t appear to be especially violent; no weapons were used, and neither girl was knocked to the ground, police have said.
Joanna had a bloody nose when she returned to her after-school program, according to witnesses, and had to be picked up early by a relative because she didn’t feel well.
By the time Joanna got home, she was complaining of a headache and vomiting.
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