Family files claim against school district after boy with Down syndrome suddenly dies

LA PUENTE, Calif. -- The family of an 8-year-old boy with special needs is demanding answers after his sudden death during his second day of summer school in La Puente.

"Something happened to him. I know something happened to him," Lizbeth Murillo said.

Murillo is talking about the death of her little brother, Moises Murillo.

"They told her he fell and his lips were turning purple or something like that, but then that was one of the ladies that called my mom that told her that. But then the principal said something else," she said.

The incident happened at Sunset Elementary School on May 31. She said two hours after her brother was picked up by a school bus, her family received a call and rushed to the hospital.

"When I walked in the room with her and my dad, I just see him on life support and I'm like what? What happened?" she said.

She said when the family arrived to the emergency room, the school principal was already there. When the family asked for an explanation, Murillo said the principal could not give them an answer.

Murillo said the principal said it was unclear if Moises had a seizure or if he had fallen from his wheelchair.

The family said the second-grader, who had Down syndrome, suffered extensive damage to his nervous system and a fracture to his neck. He was transferred to Children's Hospital of Orange County, where he was placed on life support before he died on June 4.

It is still unclear what happened in the classroom that could have led to his injuries and sudden death.

The one thing the family said they are sure about is that he could not have fallen back on his wheelchair.

"If he would have fell backwards the way that (the principal) said, (Moises) has neck support. His chair was specially designed that that thing it has in the back would hit the floor first before he even hits the floor," Murillo said.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District released the following statement:

"Our school community has experienced a tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Murillo family. We have shared our condolences with the family and we hope you will join us in respecting their privacy during this difficult time."

The family hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the school district alleging neglect.

"I'm not going to stop until I found out what happened," Murillo said.

The family would not talk about the specifics of the claim filed against the school district, but said they are currently waiting on an autopsy report.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.