Death Of 9-Year-Old Tulsa Girl May Be Tragic Playground Accident


Friday, November 11th 2011, 2:27 pm
By: News On 6


A playground game gone terribly wrong may be to blame for the death of a 9-year-old Tulsa girl, according to Tulsa Police.

Hannah Marie Todd's body was found in the sandbox surrounding a swing set Friday afternoon. Her friends are leaving messages in the sand for a girl taken too soon.

Police were called to Penney Park, near the intersection of West 7th Street and South 49th West Avenue, just after 1 p.m.

We are told that citizens found her, and she may have been playing with other children in the sand around the park swing set.

The girl's body didn't have any signs of injury.

Police are reporting that the death may be the result of an playground accident. A man whose children play at the park said the kids sometimes play a game where they bury each other in the sand.

"Really I'm kind of in shock. My son is just a grade ahead of her. He knew her in school," said Patrick Pitman, neighbor.

Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley said they are aware of the game but do not know if it played a role in Hannah's death.

"The kids do utilize this park. The sandbox to cover each up, bury each other. So we don't know if maybe it was a group of kids playing, didn't realize they had actually caused this accident, or if it was foul play," Ashley said.

It didn't take long for Hannah's parents and extended family to get to the park, where a Tulsa Police chaplain comforted them through the nightmare.

"Help them with their initial shock. A lot of times there's anger, there's disbelief," said Tulsa Police Captain Steve Odom.

Police initially released the victim's name as Hannan but later corrected the error.

Hannah's mother told The News On 6 that her daughter went to play at the park at 11:30 a.m.

Hannah Todd was a student at Mark Twain Elementary School, 541 South 43rd West Avenue. Mark Twain is on a continuous learning calendar, and students are currently on break.

Tulsa Public Schools issued a statement by Superintendent Keith Ballard.

"We are grief-stricken to learn of the death of Hannah Todd, a student at Mark Twain Elementary School. Hannah's family and friends are in our prayers as we struggle to make sense of this tragic news," Ballard said.

"Please know that Tulsa Public Schools will do everything we can to be supportive of her family. As students at Mark Twain return to school on Monday, we will have counselors on site to help. Our sincere condolences go out to Hannah's family."

Police are now asking anyone who may have seen Hannah in her final hours to step forward with what they know.