2-year-old Indiana child dies after suspected tick bite

An Indiana family is waiting on autopsy results to confirm whether a tick bite caused a 2-year-old's death.

A friend speaking on behalf of the family told WISH Kenley Ratliff loved spending time outdoors with her family. If she was bitten by a tick, they're not sure where it may have happened.

She was taken to the emergency room twice for strep throat and released, but when the fever didn't come down she was admitted to the hospital.

Cell phone video provided by family shows Kenley so full of life. She was a bubbly and happy little girl who enjoyed taking Snapchat videos with her mom.

"Her mother and father cannot believe that she is gone, that their baby girl is gone now," said Nichol Kirby, a family friend.

Kirby says Kenley was admitted to Riley Hospital for Children last Tuesday after her high fever didn't break.

"She had a 104-degree fever and that fever remained about a 103.8 all week long up until her untimely death on Saturday morning at 2:45," Kirby said.

Kirby says Kenley was given an antibiotic and placed on a breathing tube while doctors tried to diagnose her. She had a brain infection, swollen hands, and rashes all over her body.

"She had purple rashes splotches all over her body and uniform pattern just all over little tiny purple spots big purple patches," Kirby said.
Kirby says doctors treated Kenley for Rocky Mountain spotted fever as best as they could.

"Just the condition of this poor baby laying there the way she was... it's a mother's nightmare, a father's nightmare," Kirby said.

Kirby says Kenley's mother just wants to get the message out there to other families to always check for ticks.

"She would be devastated to see this to happen to anyone else and I think she would just, she would just everyone to know how much she loved her baby girl that was her angel," Kirby said.

Right now, more than $4,000 has been raised to help the family pay for the funeral.

A celebration of life for Kenley is happening on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hazelwood Christian Church.

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