Allison Wendel, of Santa Ana, was found dead by her 9-year-old sister at home Sunday afternoon, KTLA reported. Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, who did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment, said her death appeared to be a suicide.
Bertagna said police “have heard the rumors that there may have been some bullying involved” and added, “Obviously we need to investigate that. At this point, we don’t know what happened.”
“They’re collecting electronic devices, scouring social media, talking to her friends to see if there was something in her life that led her down this path,” the officer said, adding they also plan to interview the girl’s friends.
Students at Hazard Elementary School reportedly said they knew the child was being bullied because of posts they saw on the internet. Bertagna told the local Patch he “can’t think of a time we’ve had a 10-year-old commit suicide.”
Allison was described by her cousin, Bonnie Mesinas, as “a beautiful little girl full of happiness, and she was always smiling.”
The Garden Grove Unified School District, where Allison was a student, recently posted on Facebook about a wellness program that encourages “our students and staff to create safe, welcoming, and inclusive climates around our district.”
In a statement, school district officials said they were “deeply saddened by the tragic passing of one of our students” and said they have “a plethora of mental health resources and is committed to ensuring all students have a safe place to turn for emotional support.”
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).