Family: Girl who prompted GRPD youth policy dies after COVID-19 fight

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 14-year-old Grand Rapids girl named Honestie who previously inspired a new policy for police interacting with children has died due to complications from COVID-19, her family says.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to support her family, it all began on Honestie Hodges’ 14th birthday, Monday, Nov. 9.

Her grandmother, Alisa Niemeyer, who helped organize the GoFundMe, said Honestie was taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19 and was later sent home.

Later that day, Honestie was rushed back to the hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. She was immediately given an iron transfusion, a blood transfusion and put on oxygen, but her condition continued to worsen.

After spending the next five days battling complications from contracting coronavirus, Honestie was placed on a ventilator Nov. 14, according to Niemeyer.

The family then launched a social media campaign in which family, friends, and supporters could post a picture of Honestie as their profile pictures with a frame around the image titled, “Faith over fear.”

Over the next couple days, it seemed as if Honestie was making progress. Her blood pressure was returning to normal but she was still on medication for her blood sugar and potassium levels, according to the GoFundMe page.

“Please, please keep the prayers coming, they are working,” Niemeyer said via an update on the GoFundMe page on Nov. 17. “The power of prayer is amazing!! Know that all prayers and donations are greatly appreciated!!”

However, the next day, Honestie’s condition began to take another turn for the worse. Doctors told the family they were unsure if she was going to make it and asked whether they wanted to talk to the hospital chaplain.

More bad news came Saturday, when Niemeyer asked for more prayers for her granddaughter and said that Honestie was dealing with problems related to her brain.

Then Sunday, family said Honestie had died.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have to tell all of you that my beautiful, sassy, smart loving Granddaughter has gone home to be with Jesus,” Niemeyer wrote on the GoFundMe page Sunday morning.

News 8 has reached out to Spectrum Health, but hospital staff said they were unable to comment on the patient’s condition.

News 8 reported Saturday that a child who was being treated at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital had died from multi-system inflammatory system in children — more commonly known as MIS-C — that developed after COVID-19. The hospital did not provide any information about that patient’s identity.

Honestie’s name became well-known in Grand Rapids in late 2017, when at the age of 11 she was held at gunpoint by Grand Rapids police officers, handcuffed and placed in a cruiser.

The incident prompted community outrage, which was amplified after police released video footage of the detention in which Honestie could be heard screaming in panic.

The officers involved did not face discipline, as the Grand Rapids Police Department determined they had not violated any policies.

But the community backlash led GRPD to launch a new Youth Interactions Policy in 2018. It offered more guidelines for interacting with children based on factors including age, size, severity of the crime involved and apparent mental capacity.

In July of this year, News 8 reported that Honestie and her family were headed to mediation with GRPD over the incident.

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