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Before she passed out on the family’s couch, she told her mother an 11-year-old girl had punched her in the head but refused to say more, Mrs. Villanueva said previously.

The death shook the school community at Willard Elementary, located in a working-class neighborhood just a few miles from a more affluent area of homes that front a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Joanna, a bubbly girl who loved soap operas and curling her long, dark hair, would have turned 11 on March 12. In her honor, the family went to a local amusement park as she had requested for her birthday party, Ms. Urbina said.

“We’re taking it day by day,” she said. “I just miss her being here.”