Bullying ruled out in 10-year-old Santa Ana girl’s suicide

Allison Wendel

Santa Ana detectives said Wednesday that bullying didn’t play a role in the suicide of 10-year-old Santa Ana gir, Allison Wendel. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help pay her funeral costs. Photo: GoFundMe photo.

SANTA ANA — A 10-year-old Santa Ana girl didn’t commit suicide because she was bullied by classmates, police said Wednesday.

Santa Ana Police officials announced they were investigating Allison Wendel’s death on October 15, two days after the girl was found dead in her Santa Ana home by her 9-year-old sister.

Wendel was a student at Hazard Elementary School in Garden Grove, and police investigated rumors that she had been bullied by students.

Detectives concluded that Wendel wasn’t bullied after they interviewed more than 50 students at the school, along with more than 30 adults, including school staff, family members and friends, according to a news release the department issued Wednesday.

Investigators said they also examined more than 2,500 videos and social media posts from Wendel’s classmates.

While police uncovered posts they described as mean-spirited, they said none of them rose to the level of bullying or criminal conduct.

Detectives say they haven’t identified a triggering event that led Wendel to take her own life.

The Garden Grove Unified School District assisted in the investigation, and is collaborating with police in providing resources to students and families affected by the death.

Police also said in the release that Wendel’s death “tragically affected our community and impacted the lives of numerous small children.”

A GoFundMe campaign set up to raise funds for the 10-year-old’s funeral and counseling for her 9-year-old sister, who police say found the body, has exceeded its $30,000 goal.

Editor’s note: If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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