NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - Families in Newton County are shaken after a little girl died in a freak accident on a playground on Monday. On Wednesday, the county coroner ruled her death "accidental".
Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl, who was just 5 years old, was playing on the monkey bars on the school playground when her body became wedged between the bars, her feet dangling. The child's oxygen was cut off due to the position of her body on the playground equipment. An autopsy revealed she died of accidental asphyxia, a lack of air. It happened during recess at the Newton County Theme School. School officials and responding officers performed CPR on the child. DeBruhl was rushed to a nearby hospital, but she was later pronounced dead.
School officials released a written statement saying 10 teachers and paraprofessionals were actively supervising students on the playground when the accident occurred, and offered their condolences to the girl's family.
First Covington United Methodist Church held a vigil for the child's Wednesday night. Several area churches took part. Dozens of people turned out to unite in grief and prayer for the kindergartener. A church representative said neither the pastor of the little girl's family nor the pastor at First United Methodist wanted to comment publicly.
While an investigation into DeBruhl's death is ongoing, Covington police said they don't expect charges to be filed in the case.
The Newton County School District released the following statement on Wednesday:
"We are struggling to comprehend the heartbreaking accident that occurred Monday afternoon and are grieving over the loss of such a beautiful little girl. Out of respect for the privacy of the student and her family, we request that questions regarding this terrible accident be directed to local law enforcement, who is investigating the case at this time.
"As we reported to investigators, numerous adults—10 teachers and paraprofessionals, were actively supervising students on the playground when this accident occurred. Teachers provided medical assistance to the child and Newton County 911 was called. Officers and emergency medical personnel arrived at the school very quickly. We were devastated when we learned that she had passed away later that afternoon.
"We are focused on supporting the students and staff at Newton County Theme School as we navigate through this terrible tragedy. Counselors have been and will continue to be available to anyone at the school who needs assistance. The heartfelt support the children and employees at the school have received from the Covington/Newton County community has been overwhelming and is truly appreciated.
"We extend our sincerest condolences to this family as we know they are in a state of shock and unbelievable grief."