Authorities: Dowagiac fifth-grader’s hanging death accidental

Published 5:41 am Monday, February 16, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Authorities ruled Friday's death of Patrick Hamilton Middle School fifth grader Danielle Marie Quinn, 10, who accidentally hung herself with a jump rope, the result of asphyxiation.
Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood Jr. reported deputies were called to her Leach Road residence north of Dowagiac in Silver Creek Township in regards to a child not breathing.
Officers, along with Sister Lakes and Dowagiac ambulance services, responded to the scene, transporting the child to Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel at approximately 12:55 p.m. Sheriff's detectives, along with investigators from the Michigan State Police, Dowagiac Police Department, Family Independence Agency and the Cass County Prosecutor's Office immediately opened an investigation into the incident.
The sheriff said it is now believed that the child was playing in her bedroom with her 4-year-old nephew when the jump rope they were playing with got caught on top of the bedroom door.
The child, who was standing on a chair in the bedroom, had the rope around her neck.
When she attempted to remove the rope from the door, the chair she was standing on toppled over, causing the victim to essentially hang herself.
Her father, Steven Quinn, 36, of Dowagiac, was in the room next to Danielle's bedroom along with other family members. He came into her bedroom a short time later after being alerted by the 4-year-old boy that something was wrong.
He immediately got the rope off of her and began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while family members, including the girl's mother, Pamela Quinn, called 911. Investigators and crime scene technicians were immediately dispatched to the scene after the victim was transported to the hospital.
Their investigation, along with results of an autopsy performed Saturday, Feb. 14, resulted in Cass County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Knox of Edwardsburg, ruling the cause of death as accidental asphyxiation. McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.