Mother of SC 5th grader conducting independent investigation into her death

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Shortly after the 14th circuit solicitor and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office announced the initial findings of their investigation into Raniya Wright’s death, her mother and her attorney offered a different side to the story.

Solicitor Duffie Stone said Wright died of natural causes from Arteriovenous malformations that had been there since her birth. Wright’s mother and her attorney have hired their own unnamed private investigator to look into the case.

“While we appreciate the efforts and initial findings that have been presented to us today, we certainly know that this is not where the story ends," Attorney Margie Pizarro said. “This is just the very beginning.”

Unlike the sheriff’s office’s statements, Pizarro said Raniya Wright had an ongoing conflict with the same girl for the past two years. She added that Raniya’s mother, Ashley, went to Forest Hills elementary and complained and also called the teacher on several occasions

“We aspire to the philosophy trust but verify and that’s what we’re doing, that’s why we’re doing our own independent investigation,” Pizarro said. "I think we would be doing a disservice to Raniya Wright and to this community if we did not make our own independent investigation so we can help bring closure to this to the community.

Pizarro added that their private investigator spoke to two students who were in the classroom that day. She then went on to read two of the investigator’s reports which stated Raniya had two separate altercations with the student which she eventually was involved in the fight with.

“This is not right,” Pizarro said. “Students should not be left to defend other students. Where is the accountability?”

The reporting student told the investigator that they saw the other student in the fight holding Raniya by her hair and slamming her into a bookshelf, which conflicts directly with Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland statement that it was a 5 to 10 second slap fight.

“We said trust but verify," Pizarro said. “Some of the information that we have is certainly corroborated by the investigation, some of it may not be, and its our job to fully vet all the information that we have and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Outside the school minutes later, Ashley Wright spoke at length for the first time about the incident saying she had no idea about any medical issues before the incident. She added that Raniya had asked her not to go the school about any alleged bullying because she was afraid of being teased.

“I just want to know the truth,” Wright said. “I just want the answers that haven’t been given to me since day one.....Y’all don’t have to give me one dime. I want my child back. I want my child back in my arms.”

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