A 15-year-old girl’s life has tragically ended in the part of Manhattan known as Hell’s Kitchen. The tragic incident reportedly happened at 4:26 p.m. Friday in the alleyway of 699 10th Avenue. Police and emergency medical services arrived to find Natalya Jimenez unresponsive and unconscious. Despite being rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital immediately, she was pronounced dead on arrival. It is believed that she had been jumping from rooftop to rooftop, perhaps accompanied by others, one of whom may have made the 911 call at the time of her fatal fall, according to ABC News.
Agatha Mangano, the victim’s mother, described Natalya as a good girl and student who was deeply loved and part of a large, close-knit family, the youngest of her three children.
“They took my baby girl, she was a good girl, she never got into trouble, she was happy, she was funny, she made everybody laugh. Smart, honor student, she was in her first year at Hudson High School.”
The girl’s grandfather added that she was “number one in her school.” Jimenez was the granddaughter of the owner of Ray’s Pizzeria, a popular hangout in Hell’s Kitchen. It is unknown who the girl’s mother is referring to when she stated “they took my baby girl.”
It is believed the victim fell five stories and died soon after impact. A witness to the event, Jessica Soto, described the resuscitation attempt of Jimenez.
“Once the girl stopped breathing, her hand came out of the blanket, and then they started giving her CPR.”
Police investigators say that Jimenez and two friends, both 14 years old, were running across rooftops and jumping from building to building when the accident occurred. Although buildings are fairly close together, there remains about a four foot distance between them, large enough for someone to easily misjudge or stumble and suffer the fate that Jimenez did. Police say a resident saw the game the girls were playing and told them to stop and get down. The girls seemed to have complied, but as they were leaving, somehow Jimenez fell between buildings. The other two girls were unharmed.
Magnano, the mother of Jimenez, does not believe the investigator’s description of events and offered her reasoning for why she did not.
“My daughter was afraid of heights; she’d never been on the roof here. She wouldn’t even go on the fire escape, so I think foul play is involved and I want justice.”
Soto, the witness to the scene, said she saw the two girls huddled together and crying immediately after the fall.
“The two girls who were with her, they were crying, they were blaming each other and crying like, ‘Oh it’s my fault, it’s my fault.'”
Developmentally, teenagers tend to have a mindset that they are able to take risks without anything bad happening to them, and research has also proven they are more likely to participate in dangerous activities when they are part of a peer group engaging in similar activities.
According to the New York Times, Jimenez lost her footing and fell into an enclosed airshaft, which had been covered with flimsy black netting. After she fell, there was a gaping hole in the black netting that her body had made.
Although rooftop-jumping is not a condoned activity in New York City, it happens frequently among young people, as does rooftop and fire-escape sitting and socializing, which has caused other deaths in New York City. In some of those cases, alcohol was a factor, but this does not seem to be the case in the death of Jimenez. The investigation is ongoing.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]