An 11-year-old girl was taken to a hospital unconscious and not breathing after an after school fight in Long Beach on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.
While family and friends mourned the loss of an 11-year-old girl who died mysteriously hours after a fight on Friday, police continued to investigate the cause of the scuffle.
Updated Article: Girl's Death Ruled Homicide
Long Beach police officers responded just before 6 p.m. Friday to a local hospital after being notified that Joanna Ramos, who was unconscious and not breathing, had been brought into the emergency room by her family.
“I want to know what happened,” said Joanna’s mother, Cecilia Villanueva, through tears.
She was taken in for surgery, placed into intensive care in critical condition, and died just before 9 p.m.
Police said she had no visual signs of trauma to her body.
Joanna and a fellow student from Willard Elementary School had been in a fight after school in an alley.
With seven others looking on, the girls took off their backpacks, put their hair in a bun, said “Go” and started hitting each other.
The fight lasted a minute. It did not involve weapons and no one was knocked to the ground, police said.
Once the fight was over, both girls left the area and went their separate ways.
Later, Joanna had a bloody nose and wasn't feeling well so she was taken to the hospital, her family said.
"It was too late," her mother said. "She was in a coma."
Several classmates of both girls told NBC4 that the girls were fighting over a boy. Joanna's friends said the two simply could not get along.
Marco Castellanos, Joanna’s cousin, said Sunday that Joanna’s father, Israel Ramos, who lives in Mexico, was notified about his daughter’s death on Friday night.
“He was so devastated, he went crazy,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos, himself a former student at the school, questioned why the after-shool program that Joanna was in that day did not keep track of her.
He said that when he attended the school, if he tried to leave campus, he wouldn’t be allowed to go back to the program because at the time the program’s staff was responsible for a student’s whereabouts.
“How come they couldn’t manage the program?” Castellanos said.
Long Beach police declined to comment on Sunday, saying they were awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Detectives have interviewed the other classmate and onlookers. They were also trying to identify other witnesses and anyone who knows what led to the fight.
No arrests have been made.
While the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office will determine the cause of death, police will continue to do interviews.
Officers will present their findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which will review the case and determine if any charges will be filed.
Police said no one has alleged or suggested that Joanna was being bullied.
None of the students interviewed told detectives that school officials were made aware of the impending fight.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Long Beach Police Department Homicide Detail at (562) 570-7244.