12-year-old JMS died of ruptured brain aneurysm, officials say (updated)

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A 12-year-old seventh grader at Jemison Middle School died Monday from a ruptured brain aneurysm, according to police and school officials.

Christoper Rico was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham on April 12, after Jemison Rescue responded to his family’s residence at 9:26 p.m., according to a press release from Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer.

The boy died about 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to the release.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden and Coroner Randy Yeargan confirmed Rico died of an apparent ruptured brain aneurysm. Hayden, Yeargan and Fulmer all said the death was not the result of a physical altercation or any other incident at school, which had been speculated about on online social media sites.

The JPD release reads:

“When this tragic incident occurred, we conducted a thorough death investigation, and we are very confident that no foul play was involved while at school or at the child’s home that contributed to his death. There is no evidence at this time that would lead us to believe that this death was caused by anything other than natural causes. We have been in constant contact with the medical personnel at Children’s Hospital who treated the patient, the Department of Forensic Sciences, the Chilton County Coroner’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, family members, adults and other students who had contact with the child during school hours and until he arrived at his home on [April 12]. We have concluded our investigation, and based on the facts, we have found no evidence that any type of physical altercation occurred that would have been a contributing factor to his death.”

Yeargan and Hayden offered accounts similar to Fulmer’s.

“He had health problems and he did not die from being beaten,” Yeargan said.

Hayden also released a statement:

“Most of us will never know the difficulty the family is now enduring so we should respect their privacy at this time. One would think that it need not be said that the family should be given this respect; however, this has not been the case thus far. As this young man lay in the hospital, there were a few individuals that spread untruths about his situation. Many of these untruths were hurtful to his family and his classmates at school. Some people derive a sense of power by spreading false information in public, on Facebook or elsewhere, yet these same people claim they care about children and the community. I am asking everyone to do what is right for a grieving family and for all of our students.”

Fulmer also offered sympathy for Rico’s family in his release.

“This is a very tragic loss for this family, and we offer our condolences to them. The family has heard many rumors about their child since this terrible incident, and those rumors are simply not true. We would ask that the family be respected as they mourn and deal with this tragic loss.”