A 4-year-old boy in Minnesota is dead after accidentally hanging himself in the changing room of a thrift store.
Ryu Pena was alone in a changing room at Again Thrift & More when the hood of his sweatshirt became caught on a coat hanger, according to WCCO. By the time police arrived at the store, the 4-year-old was dead.
“We believe that he got himself caught up on a coat hook within that dressing room area and couldn’t free himself from it,” explained Commander Jeremy Clifton with Mankato Public Safety.
Ryu was shopping in the store with his grandmother when he went off in his own direction. It is believed that he wandered into a dressing room and, after closing the door, climbed onto the bench. That’s when his hoodie snagged on the hanger.
“He was playing. That’s the only way I can describe it,” Ryu’s mother, Denise Gonzalez, told WCCO. “He was playing because he’s very curious, adventurous, and it all just happened so quickly.”
“He loves being really active,” she continued. “Jumping on the couches and doing flips and he would try to break dance and do little moves. He was such a daredevil.”
Ryu’s grandmother searched for him all over, including outside the store, to no avail.
“It wasn’t until she came back inside that she saw somebody carrying him out and he was hanging so you didn’t see his feet under there,” Gonzalez said.
Clinton reminded parents how quickly tragedies like Ryu’s can occur. “You just have to be super aware of where our children are all the time and that these instances can happen in the blink of an eye,” he said. Police do not suspect any foul play. An investigation into Ryu’s death is ongoing.
A GoFundMe set up in Ryu’s name has raised over $12,000 since March 19, exceeding the family’s goal of $11,000.
“No mother or father should have to go through something like this and lose their child so we are trying to raise enough money for his funeral,” the page reads.
“The money raised will all go to his funeral and expenses, so we [want to] make sure the funeral is covered with his flowers and all, and [make sure he] gets the funeral he deserves.”
The page goes on to describe Ryu as a “sweet boy with a gorgeous smile and a unique little personality.” He had an older sister, Glory, and had just recently become a big brother to Rolando Jr., who is now 4 months old.
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