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2-year-old dies after dental work

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 21:01:27-05

YUMA, AZ (KXNV) - Zion Gastelum, a 2-year-old boy, died after visiting a dentist. The question now is how?

Zion's uncle said on Dec. 16, Zion's parents took the child to Kool Smiles to get a crown and filling.

What happened next remains unclear. Zion's uncle said while at the office, it appears Zion stopped breathing. 

Yuma Fire and Yuma Police confirmed they responded to a medical issue at Kool Smiles last month.

Zion's family said Zion was taken from the dentist to Yuma Regional Medical Center and eventually flown to Maricopa County, where he died on Dec. 20.

Officials said the cause and manner of death are pending.

Citing HIPAA and other privacy laws, a Kool Smiles spokesperson wouldn't comment further but emailed the following statement: 

The Kool Smiles family expresses our sincere, heartfelt sympathy to the family of Zion Gastelum. Our hearts are breaking for Zion’s family at this very sad time. Since Kool Smiles’ founding nearly 20 years ago, we have safely and compassionately provided needed dental care through more than 19 million patient visits. Our dedicated dentists, anesthesiologists and the rest of our Kool Smiles family join the community to mourn this tragic loss.

 Zion's grandmother Norma Yarrito remembers such a bright light in such a small body. 

"Zion was a very happy, joyful, peaceful and humble little boy," she said. 

Her advice to other parents: "When they take their kids to doctors or dentists, they need to be present at all times. Just love your kids with all your heart because you never know what's going to happen."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Zion's family cover funeral costs.

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