Update: Sammamish Girl Dead from Apparent Strangulation Was 4 Years Old

A Sammamish girl who died Tuesday night after apparently accidentally strangling herself with a jumprope at Samantha Smith Elementary, was 4 years old, not 7, as originally reported, the King County Sheriff's Office said.

Update, 12:50 p.m. Aug. 29: 

The following information was provided by the King County Sheriff's Office:

King County Sheriff’s Detectives said the girl that died as the result of a possible accidental strangulation at a school playground was actually 4 years old and not 7 years old as originally reported.

Police responded to the Samantha Smith Elementary School in the 23300 block of NE 14th St. at around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening after a 911 call was received.

The victim and her twin brother were at the school playground with an adult, live-in caretaker. The victim had reportedly been playing with a jump rope sometime before the incident happened.

At some point the caretaker and the 4 year old boy went to a nearby location to pick blackberries. The girl stayed on the playground to play. When the caretaker and boy returned to the playground, they found the girl on the slide with the rope around her neck.

Due to a significant language barrier, police are still working to confirm what position the child was in when she was found, Sgt. Cindi West said.

Police said foul play is not suspected and the initial indication is that the death was an accident. The King County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine cause of death.

The King County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting an investigation as is the protocol for child deaths.

Detectives said there was a substantial language barrier during the initial investigation, and the caretaker was extremely distraught, making it difficult to get information. 


Original story: Police and paramedics responded Tuesday evening to  where a 7-year-old girl died from an apparent accidental strangulation by a jumprope.

The girl was playing at the school with a babysitter, the babysitter's mother, and her 5-year-old brother around 7 p.m. this evening. The girl had been playing with the jumprope around her neck, the boy told police.

The two adults and the boy went to pick berries, and when they returned, found the girl face down halfway down the slide with the jumprope tightly wrapped around her neck, KCSO Sergeant Cindi West said.

The child was pronounced dead at Overlake Hospital. The death appears to be accidental, but the King County Sheriff's Office is investigating.


Editor's note: This story was revised on Aug. 29 to include additional details from the King County Sheriff's Office.

CT August 29, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Children should be watched all the time - all the time. We used to have an adult watch the kids when we played although we all used to keep any eye on each other and our little siblings and it was a very safe, large home and a joint family.
sandy banks September 02, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Who lets a child play on playground equipment while having a rope or scarf or anything that can get caught up in the equipment? What a waste.
dorimonsonfan September 02, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Children need to gain independence gradually as they grow older. You can't be a helicopter parent and hold their hand every second until they are 17 and 364 days old. This was a freak accident, and at least her parents cared enough to take her to the playground instead of plopping her in front of a tv with cailou or the lorax. To sit back and criticize her parents during this horrible time is both cruel and ill informed. Rip to this little angel, and I hope her parents can one day find peace and somehow put this unfortunate tragic accident behind them.
Melody LaPier September 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM
It was the baby sitter who had her at the park. and this may have been an accident but a very preventable one. What adult, and in this case 2 adults, walk off and leave a child alone while they go pick blackberries. And a 4 year old child at that! That is absolute negligence and child endangerment and they should be charged with that. And they should feel guilty for the death of this child. If just one of these adults had been with this child they could have saved her.


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