TIMELINE: Raniya Wright death investigation

TIMELINE: Raniya Wright death investigation
RaNiya Wright, 10, died March 27, two days after a fight at her elementary school in Walterboro.

WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - The wait for answers in the death of a 10-year-old Colleton County student may be over Friday when investigators hold a news conference in Walterboro.

Here is a timeline on the death of Raniya Wright, a fifth grader at Forest Hills Elementary.

Authorities responded to a fight between two students at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro on March 25. (Source: Live 5)
Authorities responded to a fight between two students at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro on March 25. (Source: Live 5)

March 25

RaNiya Wright, 10, died at MUSC in Charleston, two days after a fight at her Walterboro elementary school. (Source: Ash Wright)
RaNiya Wright, 10, died at MUSC in Charleston, two days after a fight at her Walterboro elementary school. (Source: Ash Wright)

March 27

  • Wright dies at 9:39 a.m. at MUSC.

March 28

  • The Colleton County School Board makes its first public statements on Wright’s death following a closed-door meeting during which board members hear from deputies about the investigation. School District Board Chairman Tim Mabry reads a prepared statement after the board came out of executive session, stating that the district is cooperating fully with investigators. He also asks the community to remain patient while the investigation continues. Colleton County School District Superintendent Dr. Franklin Fuller also makes brief remarks, extending condolences to the Wright family and asking the community to help in “preventing the spread of rumors and speculations.”
  • That evening, members of the community gather for a candlelight vigil to remember Wright and a second person, 22-year-old Derek Smith, who was shot and killed in an unrelated incident by a Colleton County deputy on March 22. The feeling among many at the vigil is that they are hurting and they want answers.

March 29

April 1

  • Wright's family announce funeral plans for that Wednesday and thank the community for their "many thoughts, prayers and expressions of kindness."
  • Jermain Van Dyke, the father of Raniya, holds a news conference that morning saying he is looking for justice for his daughter. Van Dyke’s attorney, Mark Peper, says his team spoke with the teacher who was in the classroom and alleges a “pattern of behavior” over the last four or five years and that the school was aware of other “altercations” in the classroom.
Sen. Margie Bright Matthews said on the Senate floor April 2 that Raniya Wright was not kicked or attacked by several students. (Source: SCETV)
Sen. Margie Bright Matthews said on the Senate floor April 2 that Raniya Wright was not kicked or attacked by several students. (Source: SCETV)

April 2

  • State Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, who represents Walterboro, speaks about the incident on the Senate floor in Columbia, saying she has spoken to Wright’s family and others. She says the incident initially appeared to be a “simple back and forth” between two young girls, describing it as only “a small scuffle.” She says Wright "was not kicked or attacked by several students and did not bang her head during the incident, apparently in an effort to quell rumors on social media.
  • Attorneys representing RaNiya Wright’s mother release a statement saying that they are “disappointed” with what Matthews’ public remarks.
  • Attorney Mark Peper, representing Wright’s father, issues a statement stating he is glad Matthews “has been able to at least find out some relevant information because no one from the Sheriff’s Office has bothered to call the father of RaNiya.”
  • The Colleton County School District releases a statement in reaction to Matthews' comments, stating it understands members of the community "may have questions and concerns" but say it is important for the district to ensure the investigation is complete before they make comments on the incident.
  • School district officials say Forest Hills Elementary students who wish to attend Wright’s funeral the following day will have an excused absence.

April 3

People were dropping off flowers, balloons and stuffed animals as part of a memorial to Raniya Wright, a fifth-grade student at Forest Hill Elementary who died following a fight at the school. (Source: Live 5 News)
People were dropping off flowers, balloons and stuffed animals as part of a memorial to Raniya Wright, a fifth-grade student at Forest Hill Elementary who died following a fight at the school. (Source: Live 5 News)

April 5

  • Forest Hills Elementary School holds a remembrance day for Wright.

April 6

April 8

  • Sen. Matthews releases a statement on her remarks the previous week on the incident, saying she did not mean to “minimize or trivialize the altercation between the girls,” adding that she was “simply sharing that by all accounts, this was not a gang fight.”
  • Ashley Wright, in an interview on “Good Morning America,” claims her daughter hit her head on a bookshelf at some point prior to her death.
The Colleton County School Board held its second meeting since Wright's death Tuesday night. (Source: Live 5)
The Colleton County School Board held its second meeting since Wright's death Tuesday night. (Source: Live 5)

April 16

April 18

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