An 8-year-old Boynton Beach girl died months after she drank boiling water through a straw on a dare. Ki’ari Pope died from respiratory complications on Monday.
Ki’ari's adult cousin, Latoya Johnson, said Ki’ari and her younger cousins viewed a Youtube.com video about drinking boiling water through a straw in March.
Johnson said another cousin dared Kiara to do it.
“Oh, I’ll do it," Ki’ari reportedly said at the time.
“She felt like she was so fierce and could do everything,” said Johnson.
After drinking the boiling water, Ki’ari was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with severe burns in her throat and esophagus (the digestive tube leading from her throat to her stomach).
Doctors inserted a tracheostomy tube down her throat and hooked her up to a ventilator machine in the intensive care unit.
She couldn’t speak but she could still smile, Johnson told a reporter.
At some point, the doctor made an incision in Ki’ari's throat to insert a small tracheostomy tube so she could be released from the hospital and return home with her 21-year-old mother.
Her cousin said Ki’ari couldn't speak but she was slowly getting her voice back and seemed to be doing okay.
Then Ki’ari attended a cousin's birthday party on Sunday.
“It was her cousin’s birthday party then she went home and went to sleep and they said she woke up and couldn’t breathe,” Johnson said.
Her mother's boyfriend said Ki’ari was unconscious and unresponsive.
She was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial on Monday.
The hospital reported the earlier incident to the Florida Department of Children and Family records in March. The agency investigated nine other incidents of abuse involving Ki’ari 4 of the incidents occurred in 2017.
But Ki’ari's mother denies the reports of abuse.
A friend of the family set up a GoFundme account on behalf of Ki’ari's mother.
But many question the reports of abuse in the home and whether or not the mother should profit from her daughter's death.
Marquisia Bonner, who created the account on behalf of Yolanda Johnson, said the insurance company refused to pay for funeral arrangements because Ki’ari had a tracheostomy (a surgical hole in her neck) "which caused her to have chronic respiratory problems, unable to talk and her death."
The DCF's Critical Incident Rapid Response Team is investigating Ki’ari's death.
Critics say the DFC dropped the ball by not removing Ki’ari from the home and placing her in Foster care in March.