Officials investigate death of 13-year-old LaPorte girl

2014-04-15T16:58:00Z 2014-04-16T00:15:23Z Officials investigate death of 13-year-old LaPorte girlStan Maddux Times Correspondent
April 15, 2014 4:58 pm  • 

Lisa Brown was giving her 13-year-old daughter, Janna, over-the-counter medication for what she thought was a bad cold or the flu but the girl collapsed suddenly and later died.

What caused the girl to die is still not certain, but it might have something to do with one of her main arteries rupturing in a car accident four years ago, Lisa Brown said.

"Her lungs and spleen were five times the normal size," she said.

Janna Brown died Thursday, the same day paramedics found her without a pulse inside her Pulaski Street home.

According to police, Janna was taking over-the-counter medicine that's supposed to alleviate chest congestion and coughing.

Her 15-year-old brother, Joshua, told investigators she was in her bedroom not feeling well all day and fell to the floor.

She wound up being flown to Memorial Hospital in South Bend where she was pronounced dead.

The LaPorte School Board started Monday night's meeting with a moment of silence for the Kesling Middle School girl.

"There's been a lot of outpouring of love and support for her friends and her family and her fellow students. Our hearts go out to them," said Mike Kellems, School Board president.

Lisa Brown said Janna suffered a ruptured aorta in a 2010 car accident that claimed the life of her father, Ricky, west of South Bend.

She said a bacterial infection may have developed where the rupture was repaired, but nothing concrete has been determined.

Nancy Pemberton, St. Joseph County deputy coroner, said she could not disclose the possibilities being looked into because test results are still pending and won't come back for probably six to 10 weeks.

She did say no obvious causes turned up during the autopsy and homicide has been ruled out.

"It's nothing that anybody did," said Pemberton, who would not be more specific.

"It could be a number of things," Pemberton said.

Lisa Brown said Janna was always looking to help others and one of the things she enjoyed most was playing video games, going out for walks and playing with the other kids in the neighborhood.

Janna didn't play sports because of the major injury she sustained in the car accident.

"She was just such a loving, caring person. She saw the good in everybody and wanted to give everybody hugs," she said.

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