Vigil for Peoria first-grader who died suddenly

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There was vigil on Wednesday evening for 6-year-old Luke Smith, a first grade student who died suddenly on Tuesday from a respiratory illness.

The death of the child led to a health scare at Vistancia Elementary in the Peoria Unified School District. Many parents kept their children out of class.

According to Smith's uncle, the child was sick with two different viruses. He came home from school on Friday feeling a little sick. On Saturday he had a sore throat, cough and fever so his parents gave him ibuprofen. By Sunday morning, he was so sick that his father, a nurse, decided to take him to the emergency room. He was on life support by noon on Sunday.

"We got the email Monday night and he was bawling and very upset," said parent Dory Reynolds of her son Carson. "He wanted to see him. He wanted to play with him one more time. As a kid it's hard to lose a friend. They don't quite understand."

Without an official diagnosis parents have been pulling their children out school all week. There is concern Smith may have had the enterovirus, which has been the focus of a nationwide health alert.

"It's very scary to even think that it came from just a simple sore throat that you get so many times a year to not even being here anymore," said Reynolds.

The Smith family said samples have been set to the Centers for Disease Control to determine exactly what caused the death. The results are expected in 10 days.

Smith has 4-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother. The family said those children are not showing any signs of respiratory illness.

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