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Ten-year-old Haitian earthquake survivor dies after fall from roof

CLEARWATER — Ten-year-old Anais Jean made it out of one the world's worst natural disasters, a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people and crippled her Caribbean nation of Haiti.

Her father hoped they could rebuild in Clearwater, where they settled after the quake. But tragedy has stricken the Jean family once again.

Anais died May 3, four days after she fell from the roof of Mike and Mary Campbell's Chateauwood Drive home, Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said on Monday.

Mike Campbell, 54, said he met Anais and her family while visiting Haiti two years ago.

In addition to her father, Anais leaves behind three siblings, including twin sister Anabelle. All of them attended the Clearwater Academy on Drew Street.

Anais was staying with the Campbells on April 29 when she climbed a ladder and followed Mike Campbell onto the roof, Watts said.

"She was going to help whatever he was doing," Watts said. "I'm not sure what (he) was doing."

About 7:50 p.m., Anais fell off the roof and through the pool screen, hitting her head. She was transported by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where she died.

"The cause of death is complications from blunt head trauma," said Bill Pellan, director of investigations for the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office.

Watts said Anais' death "appears to be accidental." She said the department would not make a report public because an investigation remains open.

Bay News 9 profiled Anais' family in February. Her father, Reggie Jean, said he was working to extend his children's visas beyond 90 days so they could continue their education at the Clearwater Academy. He said it was too soon for them to return to Haiti.

"They made friends just like that," he said at the time. "Everybody here loves them and I'm so happy for that. They like it a lot. They don't want to go back."

In a brief interview with the St. Petersburg Times late Monday, Mike Campbell would not discuss the April 29 fall or provide details about Anais and her siblings. He said he was "bound by the father's wishes to respect their privacy."

Campbell was featured in a December 2008 Tampa Bay Informer article in which he was described as one of three Scientology volunteer ministers who went to Haiti in November 2008 to feed thousands. They also provided educational tools developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to "assist them in reversing their unprecedented rate of economic decline," the article stated.

"I've been to Haiti four times," Campbell said Monday. "Reggie's my friend."

The Clearwater Academy, which Anais was attending, opened in 1998 and uses study methods created by Hubbard.

Campbell said the Jean family has relatives in Tampa and Miami. He said he was coping with Anais' death as best he could. "I'm being as effective as I can in order to help the family," he said.

Eternal Rest Funeral Home in Dunedin was handling burial arrangements, owner Charles Scalisi said.

"It's very tragic," he said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Ten-year-old Haitian earthquake survivor dies after fall from roof 05/10/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 10:18pm]
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