Girl mysteriously dies of sepsis after visiting Disneyland for her 5th birthday

“Her heart stopped in the ambulance and they couldn’t restart it,” mother Holly Middleton said.“I thank God that I was there when she passed. Her last words were,‘I want my mommy'"

                            Girl mysteriously dies of sepsis after visiting Disneyland for her 5th birthday

For her fifth birthday, little Scarlett Middleton, along with her family had made the short trip to Disney Springs in Florida to celebrate. During the joyful day, Scarlett sported a Little Mermaid costume and had the time of her life at the most magical place on earth. But little did her parents know that little Scarlett was “practising to be a princess in heaven a few days later.”

According to a report by People, Holly Middleton, of St. Petersburg, Florida, says her daughter began vomiting and came down with a fever on July 9, just a day after they returned home from their Orlando visit. Scarlett frequently battled colds and even suffered mild febrile seizures — which she took medication for — so Holly says she expected her daughter’s latest symptoms to pass.

“She threw up and we noticed she had a fever,” Holly says of that night. “The second day she had a fever, so I called our doctor and I took her in. She was so lethargic I had to carry her into his office. [The doctor] thought it was a stomach virus, so he gave us zofran and we took her home.”

By July 12, things started looking up, Holly says. Scarlett's fever went down and she seemed “normal.” The mother of four was pleased, but couldn’t help but notice that her daughter had become bloated.

“I put Scarlett down for a nap and was laying next to her when I noticed she started burping. Her stomach got really big and she was burping a lot,” she recalls. “I called her doctor … I said please call me back. When I hung up the phone, I saw her eyes roll back.”


Holly quickly called an ambulance and carried Scarlett out to the vehicle when the medics arrived. When she climbed into the ambulance with her daughter, paramedics assumed Scarlett was having a seizure. Then, the situation took a turn for the worst. 

“Her heart stopped in the ambulance and they couldn’t restart it,” Holly says, noting that doctors worked to save her when they arrived at the hospital. “I thank God that I was there when she passed. I was talking to her when they were trying to resuscitate her. Her last words were, ‘I want my mommy.’"

Holly’s husband, Aaron Middleton, a 37-year-old Marine, returned home immediately. The cause of death was determined to be sepsis, but what caused it still remains a mystery. “We really want to know how she got sepsis. How did this happen? Is this possibly genetic? We have three other children, we don’t want to lose our other babies,” a worried Holly said to People magazine.


Holly and Aaron are parents to Magnolia, 3, Trott, 7, and 10-month-old Kelvin. The death has been hard on Holly’s 7-year-old son Trott Middleton, who she says was very close with his little sister.

“He lost his best friend. He was a great big brother to her,” she says of Trott. “He’s cried a lot. He talks about her often. I know he misses her a lot. There’s a tree planted at the school they went to. He went there last week and told all his friends, ‘This is my sister’s tree.’ And they all comforted him.”

“I miss everything about her. I miss her sweet voice, her sweet stutter," Holly said in an emotional moment. "I miss the way she played with her 3-year-old sister Magnolia, they were best buddies. Every single thing about her, I miss.”

A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family. Holly has also launched Scarlett’s Sunshine, an initiative to inspire random acts of kindness. Holly often travels around her community, handing out flowers to people to spread Scarlett’s “sunshine.”