Wellston Police Chief G. Thomas Walker stated, “It was a game, and they would run up and one would punch the other one in the chest and run off.”
Sometime around 1 p.m. Marquez was hit in the chest by a friend in the cafeteria. Witnesses stated that Marquez said: “Oh yeah, I can take that. That didn’t hurt,” and then immediately collapsed, Walker said.
CPR was used to try to revive the student by the school resource officer and nurse, but he didn’t respond. Wellston Paramedics were able to revive him en-route to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He regained consciousness, but later died at 6:42 p.m.
With the exception of a few bouts of asthma a few years ago, Marquez had no known medical conditions, according to family members.
The boy who hit Marquez in the chest, age 14, was a long time friend and played together all the time, according to Janette Oliver, Marquez’s stepmother. The boy who struck Marquez, whose name has not been released, was processed at the Wellston police station and released the same day, Walker said.
Dr. Saadeh Al-Jureidini, director of cardiac catheterization at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, speculates the death was caused by unlucky timing of the blow to the chest, rather than the force. Commotio cordis, a rare cardiac event most commonly seen in baseball players who’ve been struck in the chest by a ball, occurs when the heart receives a blow during a 30-millisecond window of the cardiac cycle which causes the heart to short-circuit.
The case is still under investigation.