Officials say a school yard fight did not lead to the death of a Delaware County boy.
Doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have been conducting an in-depth study of 12-year-old Bailey O’Neill’s brain for more than a month.
O’Neill had to be placed into a medically-induced coma after suffering a series of seizures following a January 10 fight at Darby Township School in Darby Township, Pa., according to investigators.
The boy’s parents say he was bullied on the school yard and punched in the face during the fight, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head. O’Neill, who was 11 years old at the time, was treated for a broken nose and a concussion. Two weeks later, Bailey began suffering seizures and entered into the coma. He eventually died from complications.
While Bailey’s parents allege he was bullied, investigators say they have found no evidence of bullying.
Officials held a press conference Monday afternoon after a neuropathologist finished analyzing the boy's brain. According to the autopsy, there was no correlation between the school yard fight and the seizures that the boy eventually suffered.
The District Attorney's Office say the fight lasted about 20 seconds in the school yard before the staff broke it up. Investigators also say the other boy threw two to four punches. Finally, they say, Bailey did not fall to the ground and his head did not strike the ground. Instead, they say, he dropped to his knees to cover his face. Investigators say he did not suffer any broken bones and that he returned to class after getting an ice pack from the school nurse.
"We have no evidence to charge homicide in this particular case," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. "However, we will file a petition for simple assault because of the fight in the school yard and because the punches that were landed were documented and there was visible bruising after the fact."
Officials also say the fact that Bailey tried to walk away from the fight and was not the aggressor contributed to the assault charges. Whelan also says he spoke to Bailey's parents who were disappointed by the news.