The 10-year-old, who was identified by family members as Allison Wendel, is rumored to have been the victim of bullying, according to officials. Her body was found Sunday at her Santa Ana home by her 9-year-old sister, KTLA reported.
“She was a beautiful little girl full of happiness, and she was always smiling,” cousin Bonnie Mesinas told the news station.
Authorities are now delving into the girl's social media in the hopes of learning what drove her to allegedly take her own life, Santa Ana Police Department Public Information Officer Anthony Bertagna told People.
“Obviously, it’s not often that you get a 10-year-old that, at this point, appears to be a suicide,” Bertagna said. “There were some rumors of bullying. We have nothing to substantiate that at this point."
He added that they're interviewing friends and relatives in addition to reviewing the girl's online interactions.
Allison was reportedly a student at Hazard Elementary School, where she was in the fifth grade. In a statement, the school district said it was "deeply saddened" by her passing and urged people not to jump to any conclusions.
"While the media has reported rumors of bullying, SAPD has not yet concluded its investigation. … We are working collaboratively with SAPD, awaiting the results of their investigation. … Hazard Elementary School has a longstanding PBIS [Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports] program and takes a proactive approach to promote a positive school culture.”
A GoFundMe campaign to pay for the girl's funeral has raised more than $14,000.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help can be found at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free and anonymous crisis support in the U.S. from the Crisis Text Line.