Monticello child dies, body sent for autopsy

Published 5:28 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

Authorities are investigating the death of an 11-year-old Monticello girl in Walthall County Wednesday night.

Layla Russell, a student at Rod Paige Middle School in Lawrence County, died in the ambulance before a medical helicopter could arrive, said Walthall County Coroner Chris Blackwell.

The girl’s body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy, he said. Results are pending and the death remains under investigation by Blackwell’s office and the Walthall County Sheriff’s Office.

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Blackwell said the girl lived with her father in Monticello, but was staying with her mother and stepfather in Jayess in Walthall County. Her mother called 911 around 11 p.m. and the girl was pronounced dead in the ambulance.

A post on social media appeared Friday morning from Layla’s school that said, “Rod Paige Middle School administration, faculty, staff, and student body is deeply saddened by the loss of our student, Layla Russell. We offer our deepest condolences to her family as we all have been greatly saddened by this unexpected loss.”

Arrangements are incomplete with Riverwood Family in Brookhaven.