UPDATED: Santa Ana Police Department investigators ruled out bullying Wednesday as the cause behind the suicide of Allison Wendel.
SANTA ANA — Police in Santa Ana are investigating the apparent suicide of a 10-year-old girl to determine if her death was a result of bullying.
The girl was discovered October 13 by her 9-year-old sister, according to Santa Ana Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
“As part of the investigation, detectives heard the rumors at her school that there may have been some bullying involved,” Bertagna told Q Voice News Friday. “At this point, we don’t know what happened.”
Bertagna said the department’s investigators are coordinating with the Orange County Coroner Division to determine the events leading up to her death.
“Obviously, it’s not often that you get a 10-year-old that, at this point, appears to be a suicide,” Bertagna said. “We’ve collected all the electronic devices in the family. We’re looking through social media, interviewing her friends, interviewing her neighbors to see what occurred and if bullying was part of that.”
The girl’s family identified her as Allison Wendel.
A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School District told Q Voice News that Wendel was a student at Hazard Elementary School in Santa Ana and school staff was assisting police detectives, but would not make further comment.
The school district released a statement to the media earlier this week, which read in part, “Hazard Elementary, as well as the district as a whole, are committed to our district’s goal of developing personal skills in students, which includes their socio-emotional wellness and a warm and welcoming climate at school.
“Recently, the district launched a Choose Wellness Campaign aimed at increasing awareness and ensuring all students, staff, and families have access to mental health and wellness support.
“Our district … is committed to ensuring all students have a safe place to turn for emotional support.”
The district spokesperson told Q Voice News that crisis counselors are on hand to assist students and staff.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise funds for Wendel’s funeral and counseling for her 9- year-old sister.
Editor’s Note: If you or a loved one or friend is feeling distressed or suicidal, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255. The hotline provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.