SIOUX CENTER—A 7-year-old described as “a radiant and joyful little girl who was full of sunshine” died Tuesday, July 2, after a broken tree branch struck her.
Mya Jean Sneller, the daughter of Ryan and Jenna Sneller of Sioux Center, had been sitting on a swing attached to a tree branch at a Sioux Center residence when it broke and struck her, according to Sioux Center police chief Mike Halma.
The call came in at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday.
Mya was transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to Sioux Center Health, where she died.
“It’s unfortunate,” Halma said. “It’s a tough one.”
He noted how unlikely the situation was.
“It was a good-sized branch,” Halma said. “You look at and you don’t think this is one that would break. But you can’t see the inside of it, and apparently, there were some weakened spot in there that broke. Again, very unfortunate.”
There will be a memorial service for Mya at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6, at First Reformed Church in Sioux Center.
Mya’s parents have asked for fellow students from Kinsey Elementary in Sioux Center and friends of Mya to go to the church before the service to color the sidewalks with chalk drawings in her honor.
Burial will be at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Sioux Center, under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in Sioux Center.
In addition to her parents, Mya leaves behind two younger sisters, 3-year-old Ruby, and 7-month-old Layla.
Mya called Ruby “her best friend forever” in a video produced for the Sioux Falls-based Ronald McDonald House of South Dakota.
The Snellers were closely involved with the charitable organization that provides housing for families whose children have taken ill.
Jenna Sneller spent a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House after giving birth to Mya, who was born at 28 weeks.
She weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces, at birth and was 14 inches long. Jenna did not meet her until she was two days old.
Mya spent the first 86 days of her life at the newborn intensive care unit, or NICU, at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD.
As a thank you the Ronald McDonald House for their support, the Snellers collected pop tabs and would deliver them to the facility every year on Mya’s birthday, May 22.