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Child’s death ruled accident at Dearborn Heights center

Mark Hicks, and Candice Williams

The death of a 3-year-old girl at a Head Start site in Dearborn Heights has been ruled accidental, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said Saturday.

The girl died as a result of blunt head trauma, according to the Saturday statement. She was identified Monday morning as Lilliana Kerr.

Dearborn Heights police said a table that folded into a wall fell on the girl while she played at recess in the gym at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church on Friday.

Mia Cupp, a spokeswoman for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, which runs the program, said Friday that teachers and other children were present in the gym when the accident occurred. The staff “did everything that they could” and “are just grieving and in shock.”

“We’re going to close the site indefinitely and figure out options for the families,” said Cupp, adding the agency’s first priority is the families and children of the center in the city’s south end.

Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko called the death an “unthinkable tragedy” and urged members of the community to keep the family in their thoughts.

“I call for all the people in the area to think of the family and offer their prayer to them,” he said.

In a statement Friday, the community action agency said staff provided CPR to the child and first aid until EMS arrived. The girl was rushed to Oakwood Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn where she was pronounced dead.

“We learned that despite all efforts the child passed away at the hospital,” the statement read. “Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the family. We have been working with law enforcement who are continuing their investigation. They have told us that staff took the appropriate actions and this again was a tragic accident. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.”

The agency has also arranged for grief counseling services for the families.

St. Albert officials did not respond Friday to phone or email requests for comment. A message on the church answering machine said the office was closed and a prayer group would not take place as planned.

The Associated Press contributed.