Body of child found in container after hide-and-seek game

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by Catherine Holland and Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 13 at 10:01 AM

Map: 37th Drive between Broadway Road and Southern Avenue

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PHOENIX -- Police say a game of hide-and-seek turned deadly in one South Phoenix home.

Officers were called to a home off of 37th Drive between Broadway Road and Southern Avenue Tuesday morning where they say a 10-year-old girl was found dead in a container inside the home.

The girl had been playing the popular children's game with her 3-year old-sister. The last time the girl's guardians -- her aunt, uncle and grandmother -- saw her was around 1 a.m. That's when they went to bed.

"The youngest child that was still awake was 3 years old," said Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department. "We believe when she couldn't find her [older sister] she, too, went to bed."

The body was found hours later by the girl's family. They reportedly tried to perform CPR, but were unsuccessful.

Witnesses, including some children, told officers the girl, who would have turned 11 this month, might have crawled into the box, dozed off, and then asphyxiated in her sleep.

"The victim in this case has taken a lot of pride in the past, in difficult hiding locations and remaining there even after parents were looking for her," Crump said.

Police describe the container as being small and plastic with a hinge-top. Officials said it's 2-1/2 feet long by 1-1/2 feet wide and about a foot high.

Police have not released any other details about the girl or her family.

Police have concluded their portion of the investigation, ruling it a "death unknown."

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy and determine an exact cause of death. Charges could be filed against the family, but that is unlikely.

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