Death of California teen ruled an ‘accident,’ died from ‘blunt head trauma’ after school fight

Mar 28, 2024 | Political News

The death of a California teen who died 10 days after she was filmed in a brutal fight at school has been ruled accidental in a preliminary autopsy report.

16-year-old Shaylee Mejia was seen on video being attacked inside a Manual Arts High School bathroom in Los Angeles on March 5, according to the New York Post. Her mom said that this was at least the second time her daughter was beaten by bullies.

Four days later Mejia collapsed at a party and was taken unconscious to a hospital. She died on March 15.

A preliminary autopsy report states that her death was an “accident,” with the cause being listed as “sequelae of blunt head trauma,” or the result of a prior head injury.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office did not elaborate on what caused this head injury, and the case remains “open.”

An LAPD spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the agency responded to two calls related to Mejia, the first on March 9 for a victim who fell, and the second on March 10 for a “lost juvenile found at a local hospital.”

Mejia’s mother, Maria Juarez, told the outlet she believes the fight in the bathroom led to her daughter’s death, and places blame on the school district for not protecting her daughter.

“As a mother, I had full confidence in leaving her at the school and knowing everything would be OK,” Juarez told the outlet in Spanish. “I’m in shock. I have another child who is 3 years old now. How will I send him to school? I will just be thinking that I am sending my child to his death again.”

Juarez had enrolled her daughter in the school eight months ago after the family moved to a new apartment. She said she became a single mother to protect her children from abuse at the hands of a former partner.

“I didn’t know the enemy would be the school itself.”

Disturbing footage of the bathroom fight showed Mejia hitting a bathroom stall before tumbling to the ground. She complained of a headache but still attended classes for several days before being hospitalized.

Juarez and her attorney, Luis Carrillo, have disputed reports that Mejia fell downstairs at the party, noting that the party was held in a one-story building.

Juarez said the school’s assistant principal dismissed her concerns when she approached the official about a December fight.

A GoFundMe was set up by a friend of Mejia, which has received over $25,000 as of Thursday afternoon.