Texas fourth-grader, 9, dies in her sleep three days after she tested positive for COVID-19 despite mild symptoms
- Makenzie Gongora, 9, had been tucked into bed by her mom Kristle on February 1 and never woke up
- Makenzie’s aunts said she died in her sleep on February 2, her father’s birthday
- The girl had tested positive for COVID on January 29 after having a bad headache with vomiting at her after-school program
- The girl’s family said that they are not aware if she had any underlying conditions
- Her family has requested an autopsy to determine her cause of death
PUBLISHED: 19:32 EST, 8 February 2021 | UPDATED: 19:32 EST, 8 February 2021
Makenzie Gongora, 9, had been tucked into bed by her mom Kristle in the early hours of Feb. 2 and never woke up, her family told TODAY.
Makenzie tested positive for COVID on January 29 after having a bad headache with vomiting at her after-school program.Read More
Staff at the after-school program took Makenzie’s temperature and found she had a fever and she was taken by her mom to Brooke Army Medical Center.
Makenzie was tested by doctors for strep throat and the flu, but tests came back negative. She tested positive for COVID-19.+5
Makenzie Gongora, 9, died earlier this month after testing positive for the coronavirus+5
Makenzie, center, is pictured with her parents Nathan, left, and Kristle, right+5
Makenzie’s family has said they were unaware of any underlying medical conditions before her death+5
The family has ordered an autopsy to determine her cause of death, which they believe to have been caused by COVID-19
Doctors told Kristle Gongora to take her daughter home to ‘make her comfortable’ and ‘monitor her fever,’ said Makenzie’s maternal aunt Victoria Southworth.
‘Kenzie did not have any respiratory issues,’ Southworth, 37, told the outlet.
‘There was nothing major going on. All the symptoms were mild.’
Makenzie’s aunts wrote in a GoFundMe that the young girl ‘seemed to be recuperating over the weekend with waves of symptoms coming and going.’
But Makenzie started to feel tired and went to bed early on February 1.
‘My sister-in-law later checked on her at night and realized that she was no longer breathing and could not find a pulse,’ said her paternal aunt Erica Gongora.
Makenzie died in her sleep on her father’s birthday, and just three days before her mother’s birthday.
‘She was small, petite, kind of like a little pixie fairy, but very protective and sweet and loving and just very affectionate,’ Southworth said. ‘Wanted to be everybody’s friend. Leaves a huge hole in our hearts, that’s for sure.’
The girl’s family said that they are not aware if she had any underlying conditions but noted to TODAY that Makenzie was small for her age.+5
A GoFundMe started for Makenzie’s family to pay for her funeral expenses has raised nearly $70,000
Both aunts told the outlet that Makenzie’s body has been sent to a lab in Dallas, Texas, to be examined and an autopsy is still pending.
The family has not yet received confirmation that Makenzie died from COVID-19. But Southworth told the San Antonio Express News that her family strongly believe it was caused by the virus.
‘We’re waiting for the medical examiner report; but our family suspects it, though, because we don’t know of anything else that could have caused this,’ Southworth said.
‘COVID knows no age limit – my niece was 9, hadn’t even hit double digits yet. COVID IS AWFUL.’
Makenzie attended Scarborough Elementary in Northside Independent School District, according to the Express News.
The school district has notified the families of her classmates about the death and had additional counselors available for students and staff mourning her loss.
‘Our thoughts are with her family during this very difficult time,’ Scarborough administrators said in a statement.
Kristle is a front-line essential worker in the medical field and had been vaccinated because she works with vulnerable patients.
Nathan Gongora, Makenzie’s dad, is in the Army National Guard and also tested positive for the virus with the couple’s other daughter, Sophia.
The family is currently grieving while quarantined, which will delay Makenzie’s funeral, outlets reported.
The GoFundMe has since raised nearly $70,000 to pay for her funeral expenses. Makenzie’s body will be sent back to San Antonio after the autopsy and she will be buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.