Community Asks for Donations for Funeral of 8-Year-Old Rockville Girl
The community is pulling together to raise money to help pay for the funeral of Meadow Hall Elementary School student Stephanie Benitez.
The 8-year-old died suddenly July 22 after swimming at the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center pool off Martin’s Lane. Her aunt, Veronica Diaz, said Stephanie loved soccer and she loved swimming.
“She was just a happy little girl,” Diaz said.
According to police, Stephanie had jumped from the diving board into the deep end of the pool and swam to a nearby ladder about 2:30 p.m. on July 22. When she reached the ladder she didn’t have the strength to pull herself out of the water and began making what were described as unusual movements, according to Bauer. Lifeguards pulled the girl from the pool and began treatment but the victim was unresponsive and remained unconscious, Bauer said. Stephanie was flown to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Diaz said Stephanie was at the pool with her grandmother and her two brothers, ages 11 and 6.
“She did not that we know of.. have never been detected something wrong with her. She plays a lot of sports and never had a problem,” Diaz said, speculating that her niece may have had a heart issue that contributed to her death on July 22. An autopsy is being performed to determine why she died, according to Lucille Bauer, spokeswoman for Montgomery County Police.
An online fundraiser has been set up to pay for funeral expenses. In addition Meadow Hall Elementary, in collaboration with Meadow Hall PTA, will be collecting donations on behalf of the family.
Donations can be made via this site or dropped off at Meadow Hall Elementary School (951 Twinbrook Parkway Rockville, MD 20850) by July 31st.
The monies collected will be donated to: Francis Collins Funeral Home and Gates of Heaven Cemetery, according to the fundraising website.