A Black family in New Jersey is grieving the loss of an 8-year-old child whose alleged suicide is under investigation, the NJ Advance Media reported. Imani McCray, of Newark, was found unresponsive in her bedroom in her family’s South Orange Avenue apartment on December 10, authorities said. Family members performed CPR, and she was later pronounced dead at 3 p.m., approximately 40 minutes after arriving at University Hospital, officials explained.
As the investigation gets underway, authorities believe McCray’s death may have a connection to Ashawntey Davis, a 10-year-old Colorado girl who reportedly died in a hanging suicide after being bullied in November. There is a possibility that McCray saw the news about Davis’ death on social media before her death, according to police, and may have committed an imitation suicide. However, McCray’s death has not been officially ruled a suicide or accidental, with Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly having declined clarification on Wednesday. “The manner and cause of her death are pending a medical examiner’s autopsy,” Fennelly said. Preliminary autopsy results suggested that the child did not have visible injuries at the time of her death, the prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.
Many online users are wondering just what exactly happened to both McCray and Davis, whose deaths shed light on many other young Black children who die mysteriously. McCray’s family, who are left with the biggest questions, took to social media to express their sadness. A person who identified herself as the girl’s grandmother posted a heartbreaking message.
Other officials are grappling with the tragedy as well. “It’s tragic … it’s just a horrible, horrible thing, no matter what the circumstances were around it, anytime an 8-year-old child is dead is just horrible,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said when questioned by a reporter at an event Wednesday, NJ reported. “My heart goes out to them. I hope it’s not bullying, I hope it isn’t a copy cat, I hope it’s not none of those things. … We just have to do better, you know all of us, as a community, as a society, we just have to do better.”
Tragedy Strikes: 10-Year-Old Colorado Girl Commits Suicide After Bullying