BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) – State authorities have opened an investigation after a South Florida girl died four months after accepting a dangerous dare where she drank boiling water after seeing it online.
Eight-year-old Kiari Pope died on Monday, one day after she told her mother’s boyfriend that she couldn’t breathe. She then fell unresponsive.
Officials said Pope died after she drank boiling water through a straw in March. Police said she and her cousins saw a YouTube video about doing that, and the children dared each other to try it.
“She’s so fierce in doing everything that she’ll be like, ‘I’ll do it,'” said Pope’s cousin Diane Johnson. “She was just a happy kid. She made joy in whatever situation she was in.”
Last Sunday, Kiari went to her cousin’s birthday party and seemed just fine. “And she went home and went to sleep,” Johnson said. “When she woke up, she couldn’t breathe.”
Pope was then transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital with severe internal burns. An hour of CPR couldn’t bring her back.
According to doctors, the boiling water burned her throat and mouth. Kiari underwent a tracheotomy, which left her deaf and with chronic respiratory problems.
The family has previously been investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families for at least nine other allegations of abuse or neglect since the child was born, and officials have now opened a child death investigation.
State authorities investigated four allegations of abuse or neglect involving Pope this year alone.
Those close to the family said the calls to DCF are nonsense and came from people who were trying to hurt the child’s mother. “If DCF felt this child was in complete danger and the mother was neglecting the child, why didn’t you come and take the child then?” said a family friend.
DCF continues to investigate Pope’s death.
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