Autopsy shows kindergartner died while playing on school monkey bars



COVINGTON, Ga. - An autopsy completed Monday showed a 5-year-old girl died from asphyxiation while playing on the playground at a Covington elementary school.

Parents, grandparents and the Covington community are in shock over the tragic loss of the Newton County Theme School kindergartner.

Police say Andrea Tyrah Debruhl was playing on the monkey bars at school around 1 p.m. Monday when she slipped and asphyxiated herself.

It happened during school hours with other children playing nearby. Police say teachers found her hanging from the bars, unconscious.

A vigil was held Wednesday night at the First United Methodist Church in Covington.

"She leaves a rich legacy behind, a legacy of love, a legacy that the community came together on her behalf," said Gwendolyn Green, who attended the service.

More than 100 people joined in song and prayer on Debruhl’s behalf.

"I am so full at this very moment. My heart goes out to the family," Green told Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus.

"They need prayer. They need love. They need friendship, and it's just constant God's love is what they need. I could only imagine in a time of loss like this. It just breaks my heart," said Marshall Atha, who also attended the vigil Wednesday night.

A number of children were also present during the vigil.

"The children must know that life must go on. God is a wonderful God. He makes no mistakes. I love God, and he has the answer for what happened," Green said.

The district said 10 teachers and paraprofessionals were on the playground supervising at the time. They say they are devastated by the tragedy and counselors will be in place at the school for as long as needed to provide support to anyone emotionally affected by the little girl’s death.

The coroner said the death has been ruled accidental, but the investigation is not over. He said they are now trying to determine how the child got in the position she was in on the monkey bars.

Police say they don’t anticipate any criminal charges in this case, but it will be up to the district attorney.

Channel 2 Action News

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