By Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Police say a 7-year-old Fremont girl had been face-down in a beanbag chair in her special education classroom for about five minutes before she was found unresponsive.

Kira Hales died at a hospital two days after she was found unresponsive on Dec. 8 in the classroom at Milliken Park Elementary, the Omaha World-Herald ( ) reported. An autopsy was conducted but more tests are being conducted to determine Kira’s cause of death.

Kira, who had a genetic disorder called nonketotic hyperglycemia, used a wheelchair but frequently spent time in a beanbag chair at school, according to her father, Jerrad Hales. He said many children with Kira’s condition die as infants.

“She was always happy, a strong fighter,” Hales said. “That infectious smile of hers is going to be with me for the rest of my life.”

Fremont Police Detective Brandon Lorenson told the newspaper he is trying to determine if Kira suffered a seizure that caused her to flip over or if she turned herself and suffocated. The investigation could take weeks.

Lorenson said he hasn’t ruled out considering charges. The detective said other students and at least one teacher were in the classroom before the incident. Hales said cameras should be added to the classrooms for more accountability.

Fremont Public Schools superintendent Mark Shepard and the school’s principal, Susan Farkas, referred questions about Kira’s death to police, citing the ongoing investigation. But Shepard said that after the investigation, he plans to “evaluate our processes and procedures and see if there are some things that we can strengthen or do differently.”


Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

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