News of the death of a young Lakota girl is hitting the Pine Ridge Reservation hard, especially at the Red Cloud Indian School. Students on the close-knit campus have been emotionally impacted by the realization that one of their own is no longer in class.
Oglala Sioux Police Chief Ron Duke says a pack of dogs attacked and killed Jayla Rodriquez late Tuesday afternoon while she was sledding near a housing complex.
The eight-year old was a student at the Red Cloud Indian School – where superintendent Ted Hamilton says students and faculty are shocked by her passing.
“She was a third-grader at Red Cloud,” Hamilton explains. “A member of our dance club and she…she’s always gone to Red Cloud…from kindergarten to third grade. She was a good student…real nice young girl. Just a…a good family. I mean, all of her family just doted on her and loved her.”
Hamilton notes that students in kindergarten through fourth grade were given Wednesday off to allow their families to address the incident and to provide counseling for Red Cloud faculty. Counselors from Red Cloud and other reservation schools are also available for student and their families.
Ted Hamilton says initial reports of what happened to Jayla Rodriguez varied.
“We aren’t sure,” Hamilton advises. “I’ve heard two stories. One is that she may have hit something…struck something. And then the other story is that there were some animals involved…were attacking her.”
According to F.B.I spokesman Kyle Loven, the Bureau received the following report.
“We received information that a child was outside and some wild dogs attacked the child,” Loven advises. “Now when our personnel arrived at the scene…the child was deceased. And…so…because of the violent nature of the death and the circumstances surrounding the death…we are looking into the circumstances and the facts to determine what exactly occurred here.”
Kyle Loven says the F.B.I. is working with tribal authorities to piece together details of the incident.