Friday, May 21, 1999

Fairfield child found dead in bed


Cause unknown; autopsy planned on 7-year-old girl

BY MICHAEL D. CLARK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD — Police are investigating the death of a 7-year-old girl whose mother reported finding her deadin bed early Thursday. Arielle Franklin of Reswin Drive in Fairfield was discovered by her mother, Angie Barrett, about 7:45 a.m., said Fairfield Police Sgt. Ken Colburn.

        The South Elementary School student had vomited, but Sgt. Colburn said investigators do not know how she died.

        Though police have not ruled out foul play, there were no initial signs, Sgt. Colburn said.

        “Any time there is a dead body without an obvious cause or reason, we investigate thoroughly,” he said.

        The Butler County coroner's office is to do an autopsy today, and investigators are awaiting the report.

        A neighbor, Rafael Salem, described the girl as a joy to be around.

        “She was very nice. Always polite. She'd play with my nieces and nephews,” Mr. Salem said.

        The principal of South Elementary, Diane Thornton, sent home a note Thursday with students to their parents informing them of Arielle's death.

        “Today was a sad day for South School,” Ms. Thornton wrote. She explained in the note that counselors were made available to Arielle's classmates to help them deal with her death.

        “The best thing we can do is to make sure they have honest information — in a way they can understand and deal with — and that there are caring adults they can talk with who can listen to their feelings and answer their questions about death and dying,” she said.

       



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