Police in California are investigating the role bullying may have played in the death of a 10-year-old girl, who died by apparent suicide on Sunday.
The girl was discovered in a home in Santa Ana by her 9-year-old sister, Santa Ana Police Department Public Information Officer Anthony Bertagna tells PEOPLE.
As part of an investigation into her death, authorities are reviewing her social media interactions amid claims that there were “some rumors” of bullying.
“Obviously, it’s not often that you get a 10-year-old that, at this point, appears to be a suicide,” Bertagna says. “There were some rumors of bullying. We have nothing to substantiate that at this point. We’ve collected all the electronic devices in the family, we’re looking through social media, interviewing her friends, interviewing her neighbors to see what occurred and if bullying was part of that.”
The victim’s family identified her as Allison Wendel to CW affiliate KTLA.
“She was a beautiful little girl full of happiness and she was always smiling,” cousin Bonnie Mesinas said.
Mesinas also organized a GoFundMe page for Wendel’s family that has since raised more than $6,000.
“On October 13 we lost a great little angel,” she wrote. “We would now like to ask for your support to raise funds for the funeral expenses for Allison Ruth Wendel.”
Wendel was a fifth-grade student at Hazard Elementary School, which had crisis counselors on hand Tuesday, a spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of one of our students,” the Garden Grove Unified School District said in a statement. “Santa Ana police have informed us that they are assessing any and all factors that may have contributed to this tragedy. While the media has reported rumors of bullying, SAPD has not yet concluded its investigation … We are working collaboratively with SAPD, awaiting the results of their investigation … Hazard Elementary School has a longstanding PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program and takes a proactive approach to promote a positive school culture.”
The district also noted the recent launch of its “Choose Wellness Campaign,” which is aimed at ensuring all students, staff and family members have access to mental health and wellness support.
Should a police investigation find evidence of bullying, Bertagna told KTLA that any potential charges would depend on the age of those involved.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.