What happened to 8-year-old Drake Ray? Coroner says autopsy is not likely to say his death was natural causes

Mother said 8-year-old choked to death on popcorn

What happened to 8-year-old Drake Ray? Coroner says autopsy is not likely to say his death was natur

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A redheaded 8-year-old with blue eyes, Drake Ray lived with his 10-year-old brother, his mother – Dacoda Ray, and his great grandparents in Ridgeland on April 25.

That morning should have been a normal school morning, but something went terribly wrong.

Drake Ray (Source: Breeland Funeral Home)
Drake Ray (Source: Breeland Funeral Home)

“April 25, about 8:30 a.m., I was contacted about his death," said Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland. "It was at University Hospital.”

Drake’s mother, 33-year-old Dacoda Ray, told family and friends that he had choked on a piece of popcorn. After dying at the hospital, authorities felt that Drake’s death merited another look.

"The death is still under investigation, so we certainly did order an autopsy to help us determine the cause and manner of death,” Breeland said.

Dacoda Ray was arrested over the weekend on a charge of sexual battery.

Dacoda Ray arrested on sexual battery charges two months after son dies. Source: Madison County Detention Center
Dacoda Ray arrested on sexual battery charges two months after son dies. Source: Madison County Detention Center

So far it’s not clear who exactly her alleged victim was, and whether that charge was related to the child’s death.

“Well there was a report about a month or so ago about a juvenile that had passed and we investigated it and found that we thought there had been some foul play," said Ridgeland Assistant Police Chief Eric Redd. "It’s still ongoing, but we made an arrest.”

The nature of the “foul play” is also not clear. Given the nature of the investigation, police are holding back that information as well.

But one thing Breeland is fairly sure will be ruled out.

“The death will not be ruled natural, I’m fairly certain of that," he said.

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