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Boy, 4, Dies In Accidental Dressing Room Hanging

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) -- It's a tragic accident that's hard to imagine.

A young boy died after catching his hoodie on a coat hanger in a changing room at a thrift store. Ryu Pena, 4, was alone when he accidentally hanged himself.

His grandmother had brought him to the Again Thrift and More in Mankato. WCCO's Angela Davis talked with the little boy's family.

"He loves being really active. Jumping on the couches and doing flips and he would try to break dance and do little moves. He was such a daredevil," Denise Gonzalez said.

Denise Gonzalez says her 4-year-old son, Ryu, was an active child.

"He was playing. That's the only way I can describe it. He was playing because he's very curious, adventurous, and it all just happened so quickly," she said.

Saturday evening while shopping with his grandma at a thrift store in Mankato, Ryu slipped away, unnoticed. Police say it appears the child went into a dressing room, closed the door and climbed up on a bench.

"We believe that he got himself caught up on a coat hook within that dressing room area and couldn't free himself from it," Commander Jeremy Clifton with Mankato Public Safety said.

Ryu's hooded sweatshirt got tangled in a coat hanger. Police say it appears he suffocated because his feet couldn't reach the floor. His grandmother and others searched for him inside and outside of the store.

"It wasn't until she came back inside that she saw somebody carrying him out and he was hanging so you didn't see his feet under there," Gonzalez said.

Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

"You just have to be super aware of where our children are all the time and that these instances can happen in the blink of an eye," Clifton said.

The family says they need help paying for Ryu's funeral so they've set up a GoFundMe account.


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