1A BOX Family, community mourn 7-year-old who choked on hotdog

By Dawn Schuett

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

KENYON — An affectionate little girl with an independent streak, Jasmin Cruz was the daughter her parents always had wanted.

Tragically, the 7-year-old died from choking on food last week.

Jasmin loved dogs and horses, Bratz dolls, and Christian music. At every family party, she would be the first to get up and dance. As a second-grader at Kenyon-Wanamingo Elementary School, she hugged teachers and told each that that person was her favorite.


"She meant the world to us," Jasmin’s mother, Teresa Cruz said Monday of her only daughter. Cruz and her husband, Reymundo, of Kenyon have three sons, twins age 12 and a 6-year-old.

Teresa Cruz, an assistant teacher in the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District’s English as a Second Language program, said she returned home April 21 after being recertified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation to find Jasmin choking on a piece of hot dog.

Family members, along with Kenyon police and first responders, tried but couldn’t dislodge the food from Jasmin’s airway. She was pronounced dead at District One Hospital in Faribault, and her funeral was Friday in Kenyon.

"It really, really shocks a community of this size, of any size, but especially a small town" in which everybody knows one another, said Kenyon Police Chief Lee Sjolander, whose daughter attended school with Jasmin. "It’s a tragic loss for our town."

Classmates mourning Jasmin’s death picked flowers during recess and put them on her desk. Many more flowers, sent in sympathy by relatives and friends, fill half of the family’s living room.

"Every day, you wake up and hope it was just a bad nightmare," Teresa Cruz said. "You think she’s still alive."

The tragedy highlights the importance of CPR and first-aid training to know how to help someone who is choking, said Sarah Schuck, executive director of the Goodhue County chapter of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross chapter offers adult and infant/child CPR and first-aid classes once a month in Red Wing and at other times and locations upon request. It’s working to schedule a class in Kenyon in the near future in response to Jasmin’s death.


"I just encourage everybody to get trained, be prepared for any type of emergency, whether it be health-related or disaster-related, and we’re here to help people do that," Schuck said.

  • A fund has been established to help the Teresa and Reymundo Cruz family following the death of their daughter, Jasmin. Donations may be sent to the Cruz Family Benefit Fund, Security State Bank of Kenyon, P.O. Box G, Kenyon, MN 55946.
  • For more information about CPR and first-aid classes in Goodhue County, contact the Goodhue County chapter of the American Red Cross at (651) 388-9166 or 1-866-388-9166.
What To Read Next
Get Local