BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) Ki’ari Pope was only weeks from starting the 3rd grade when the 8-year-old reportedly died from injuries she suffered taking part in the “Hot Water Challenge.”
In March, Ki’ari and her cousins were watching YouTube videos when they came across several videos showing people taking part in the “Hot Water Challenge,” according to Pope’s family.
On a dare from her cousins, family members say Ki’ari used a small plastic pipe to drink boiling hot water from a cup. “They dared her and she said, ‘OK, I’m going to show y’all I’m not scared, I’m going to do this,’” said Diane Johnson, Ki’ari’s aunt.
Ki’ari suffered burns to her mouth and throat, and had been recovering ever since. On July 30, Pope was at her home on Northeast 13th Avenue in Boynton Beach when she reportedly started having trouble breathing. She was rushed to an area hospital by paramedics, but later died. “
Tell your kids about these challenges, these challenges are horrific,” Johnson said.
A quick search of “Hot Water Challenge” results in many videos on YouTube, some with millions of views.
Johnson said Pope was expected to make a full recovery and is devastated to now be planning her funeral.
“Parents, talk to your kids about these challenges,” she said. “Don’t just give them your phone and let them go by. Watch what they are doing.”
Pope’s family plans to hold a vigil outside their home Friday at 7 p.m. They have also set up a Go Fund Me page to help with funeral costs.
A funeral for her is planned for Aug. 12 at Johnson’s Memorial Chapel on North Federal Highway.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is currently investigating Pope’s death.
“The loss of a child is truly devastating and our condolences go out to all those who loved her,” said DCF secretary Mike Carroll said. “We will also continue to work closely with law enforcement to support their continued efforts.”
The DCF has received multiple reports involving Pope’s family between 2009 and 2017, including four just this year. Among those four was the March report of the burns Pope suffered as part of the “Hot Water Challenge.”
However, none of the DCF reports suggest any wrongdoing by Pope’s family. Johnson said all of the cases were closed without incident.
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