MADERA - — Authorities are trying to determine why Madera South High School student Graciela Martinez, 14, was found dead inside a car at the campus.
Madera police detective Sgt. Robert Salas said Thursday investigators are still waiting for her autopsy to be completed to determine how she died.
Graciela’s brother found her in the car. He told officers they had ridden to school together that morning, and she had stayed in the car while he attended an early class.
Salas said her death may have been caused by heat, a medical cause, or a possible mechanical issue with the vehicle, such as being unable to exit because she was locked inside.
Detectives are looking at all "possible possibilities" to determine how she died, he said.
"This is very, very troubling and very puzzling for us to try and determine what actually happened," Salas said.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Madera Unified School District Superintendent Edward Gonzalez offered condolences to the girl's family but provided few additional details about her death.
Gonzalez warned about the dangers of staying in a vehicle on hot days. Temperatures in Madera on ednesday reached the high 80s. The superintendent said counselors were at Madera South High on hursday to help students and staff deal with the tragedy.
Salas said Martinez comes from a farmworker family and paying for her funeral will be difficult for them.
Anyone interested in contributing toward the funeral can contact Salas at (559) 675-4291 to reach the family, he said.