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April 26, 2018
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International Czech and Slovak Romani community rocked by mysterious death of nine-year-old girl in England

10.1.2018 10:16
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Romani community members have been using Facebook to vigorously discuss the mysterious death of a nine-year-old girl named Janička who, on 2 January 2018, is said to have died of suffocation while playing in her room. Allegedly she remained lifeless for 40 minutes before medical aid was given to her.

The little girl was a resident of Sheffield, England along with her family, and she is said to have been playing in an attic room with her younger siblings and the children of her other relatives. For reasons unknown, she is said to have wrapped the belt of her bathrobe around her neck and to have strangled herself.

Reportedly the girl showed no signs of life for 40 minutes, at which time the ambulance services revived her and connected her to life support. The damage done to her, however, was so serious that the doctors recommended her family not continue the artificial life support.

Her relatives then used online social networks to ask for donations to hire a lawyer to aid them with negotiating with the hospital to keep the girl on life support. Their request, involving a live broadcast on Facebook from her hospital room, received a big wave of prayers and support from the community in response.

Romani community members immediately began organizing financial collections to assist the family. Several days later, however, the family decided to heed the doctors' assessment and to discontinue the girl's life support.

That decision sparked another wave of reactions, this time accusing the family and disagreeing with their decision. Many community members are convinced that the family is hiding information from their supporters.

Various versions of the story of how poor Janička died are making the rounds online. Some people are blaming either the alleged boyfriend of her mother or the mother herself for the death.

Romani community members from the Czech Republic and England - specifically, Jaroslav Ferenc, Marek Fráter and Patrik Vosmik - have joined forces to raise money for the transportation of the girl's body back to Slovakia for a dignified burial. They have emphasized that their aim is not to help the family financially, but to arrange a dignified funeral for the girl in her native country.

The money raised by them is meant to be paid directly to the company that will arrange to transport the girl's body to Slovakia. "The money will not go to the family, but directly to pay for the transportation and the headstone," the men have explained in a video they have posted to Facebook.

Many matters are not yet clear about the little girl's death. Her family insists it was an unfortunate accident that happened as the children were playing.

According to Romani community members who have been actively involved with the entire case, the family is currently waiting for a forensic expert to give an assessment and for the results of the court-ordered autopsy, which may take several weeks. The police investigation is still ongoing.

Stanislava Ondová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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