News

Federal Way girl, 11, found hanging on playground equipment is now recovering

By PHILIP PALERMO

The Mirror

An 11-year-old Federal Way girl found unconscious and hanging from a piece of playground equipment is currently in critical condition at the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, a police report stated.

The release stated officers and members of South King County Fire responded to a June 18 call at the Laurelwood Garden apartment complex in the 29400 block of 21st Avenue South.

The girl was found hanging, unconscious and not breathing. Paramedics at the scene managed to obtain a heartbeat after the girl was released from the playground equipment.

After being transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the girl was moved to the children’s hospital.

Lucy Gehring, a resident whose townhouse borders the playground, said she was awoken about 10:30 a.m. June 18 when a neighbor knocked on her door.

“She was really shaking,” Gehring said.

The neighbors ran out to the playground where they saw the girl hanging by what looked like black wire around her neck.

“It doesn’t look like a cloth or anything,” Gehring said. “It looked like a cable wire.”

Gehring said when police arrived, a small crowd started to form.

“While we were watching, everybody from the complex came out,” she said.

Gehring also said her children had played with the girl the day before.

“They were playing with her that Saturday,” she said.

The report stated the child was hanging by a tied loop of material that was already attached to a sliding bar on the playground equipment. That loop allows smaller children to use the sliding bar.

A preliminary investigation indicated the victim was playing alone at the time, and no criminal activity is suspected so far.

The report adds accidental strangulation is a possibility and police have found no indications the girl was suicidal.

Investigators are trying to determine the circumstances that led to the hanging, said Stacy Flores, public information officer for the Federal Way Police Department.

Contact Philip Palermo at ppalermo@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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