8-year-old girl from Boynton Beach dies months after drinking boiling water

Girl's cousin dared her to drink boiling water out of straw, DCF says

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - An 8-year-old girl from Boynton Beach died shortly after midnight Sunday, months after she drank boiling water after being dared to do so by her cousin, the Palm Beach Post first reported.

The Florida Department of Children and Families said in a report that the girl, who relatives identified to the Palm Beach Post as Ki'ari Pope, came out of her bedroom shortly before 11:30 p.m. Saturday and told her mother's boyfriend that she was having trouble breathing.

DCF officials said the man went to find something to help the girl, but when he returned to her room, she was unconscious.

Emergency responders tried to revive Ki'ari, but she died at a hospital 40 minutes after arriving, the DCF report said.

DCF officials said the child suffered burns to her mouth and throat in March after drinking the boiling water.

Ki'ari's aunt said that her niece was a "bright and spunky little girl" who was always up for a challenge and a dare. 

"Do not dare her, because she's going to show everyone in the room she's not a little punk. You're not going to punk her," Johnson said. "They saw the boiling water challenge and wanted to attempt it."

According to a GoFundMe page set up to help with Ki'ari's funeral expenses, the child had experienced several incidents of stridor, which led to her having an emergency tracheotomy.

The GoFundMe page stated that the surgery caused her to have chronic respiratory problems and left her unable to talk for some time.

DCF records show that the family has had nine other allegations of abuse or neglect involving Ki'ari since her birth. Five other reports involved allegations of domestic violence between the mother and her boyfriend.

DCF records show that there was at least one verified report of either abuse or neglect within 12 months of the child's death, so a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team will conduct a review.

"The loss of this child is truly devastating and our condolences go out to all those who loved her," DCF secretary Mike Carroll said. "We have opened a child death investigation to examine the circumstances surrounding her death and will deploy a critical incident rapid response team to review all interactions this family has had with Florida's child welfare system. We will also continue to work closely with law enforcement to support their continued efforts."

DCF officials said they did not have any open investigations with the family when Ki'ari died. 

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