In March, Ki’ari Pope drank boiling water through a straw after she and her cousin watched a video of someone appearing to do it on YouTube and her cousin dared her to try. Early Monday, the Florida 8-year-old was pronounced dead after months of medical issues related to the tragic stunt. Ki'ari underwent emergency surgery to clear scar tissue on her windpipe so she could breathe; after the tracheotomy, she continued to have difficulty breathing (requiring two trips to the ER) and also talking. She had a doctor's appointment set for Friday to be checked. But on Sunday night, she told her mother's boyfriend she was struggling to breathe; she lost consciousness within minutes and was pronounced dead about an hour later, at 12:15am Monday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
The Medical Examiner's Office is still determining Ki'ari's cause of death, and Florida's Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident. There have been at least 10 other DCF cases related to the family since 2008, the Palm Beach Post reports, five of them involving alleged domestic violence between Ki'ari's mother and her boyfriend; it's not clear whether the boyfriend who called 911 after Ki'ari lost consciousness is the same one from those reports. At least one of the DCF cases resulted in verified proof of abuse or neglect, but details aren't available. DCF isn't saying whether the girl's mother or other family members are under investigation, but a woman identifying herself as the mother's cousin says DCF officials took Ki'ari's three siblings away Thursday. Ki'ari's family is raising money to go toward funeral costs on GoFundMe. (Read more child death stories.)