Coroner's office, sheriff's department investigate death of Ridge Farm girl
RIDGE FARM — Officials from the Vermilion County Coroner's Office and the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department say they are investigating the possibility that bullying may have been a factor in the suicide death of a 10-year-old Ridge Farm girl over the weekend.
Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson said Ashlynn R. Conner, 10, of Ridge Farm was pronounced dead at 8:51 p.m. Friday at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville.
Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said the death is being treated at this time as a suicide.
"It is a suicide as far as we are concerned," Hartshorn said.
Johnson said an autopsy was performed on Saturday by a pathologist, but it will be at least six weeks before her office will have the final cause of death while it waits for the results of toxicology tests.
Johnson said the preliminary autopsy results will be released today.
"There are all kinds of aspects of this death to look into," Johnson said Sunday afternoon. "Bullying was brought up to us as a piece of the investigation, and we are still finding out information."
Johnson said the reported bullying may have been both in person or by way of Twitter, e-mail or cellphone.
"Since the bullying issues were brought up, we need to investigate them," Johnson said.
"We have not yet uncovered any evidence of bullying going on," Hartshorn said Sunday afternoon.
School officials said Saturday night that grief counselors would be available at Ridge Farm Elementary School today for students who want to talk about Ashlynn's death.
The district said its four counselors will be available as usual and an outside agency specializing in crisis debriefing will be at the school today. Classes throughout the district will begin at normal times.
In addition, the school board will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. todayprior to its regular meeting at 7 p.m. to discuss future counseling needs for students.