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Family Remembers 4-Year-Old Mankato Boy Who Died After Accidental Hanging

March 20, 2017 10:14 PM

The mother of the 4-year-old boy who died after accidentally hanging himself while alone in the changing room of a Mankato thrift store Saturday described her son as a playful child.

According to the Mankato Police Department, the boy, identified as Ryu Pena, apparently got the hooded sweatshirt he was wearing caught on a hook attached to a wall.

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Denise Gonzalez, Ryu's mother, said her son enjoyed jumping off things.

"It was a game to him," Gonzalez said. "It was an accident. He was playing, doing what he loved best."

Authorities said the boy was with his grandmother Julia Gonzalez. She was trying on clothes in a dressing room as Ryu waited just outside the door.

"I call on him and he said 'Yes grandma. What grandma,'" Julia Gonzalez said.

But her grandson grabbed a stool and took it to play on in the dressing room next to hers.

After his sweatshirt got caught on the hook, he didn't reach the ground. He was dangling and slowly dying, but no one knew it.

"I was going around the store looking for him," his grandmother said. "He was always hiding in racks."

A worker found Ryu hanging from the hook unconscious. Emergency responders performed CPR, but Ryu died.

His funeral is tentatively scheduled for Thursday. 

Relatives have started an online fundraising effort to cover funeral and burial expenses.

Credits

Beth McDonough

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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