Two basketball coaches from Atlanta have now been charged with murder after one of their players, 16-year-old Imani Bell, died from a heatstroke in 2019.

Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer of Clayton County have been charged with second degree murder and second degree cruelty to children in a grand jury indictment handed down on July 1. 

"The point of the case is the prosecution, not just the charges," Justin Miller, an attorney for Bell’s family said, ABC11 reported

On Aug. 13, 2019, Bell, a former student at Elite Scholars Academy, was participating in outdoor conditioning drills for the girls’ basketball team when she collapsed after running up the football stadium steps. According to a lawsuit filed by Bell’s family against the coaches, the temperature (Fahrenheit) was in the high 90s and the area was under a heat advisory.

“Miss Bell attempted to run with the girls for the last lap but was unable and did a fast paced walk,” an autopsy report states, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “One of the coaches noticed Miss Bell was tired, so he started walking the last lap with her and encouraged her.”

“A coach was with her, encouraged her and may have physically assisted her up the stairs,” the report continues. "As Miss Bell neared the top … (she) leaned into the rail and then went limp.”

The school violated district policy that requires all athletic activities that are taking place outside to be suspended if the heat index goes above 95 degrees. The day of Bell’s death, the heat index reached a staggering 106 degrees.

The indictment states the coaches are responsible in the teen's passing by "conducting outdoor conditioning training for student athletes in dangerous heat, resulting in the death of Imani Bell due to hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis.” According to American Family Physician, rhabdomyolysis, which translates to striated muscle dissolution or disintegration, is a potentially life-threatening syndrome resulting from the breakdown of skeletal muscle fibers with leakage of muscle contents into the circulation.

From 2004-2018, an average of 702 heat-related deaths (415 with heat as the underlying cause and 287 as a contributing cause) occurred in the U.S. annually. Natural heat exposure was a contributing cause of death attributed to certain chronic medical conditions, alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses, according to a June 2020 report from the CDC.

“We just want closure in this whole situation,” Imani’s mother Dorian Bell said during a February news conference announcing the lawsuit. “We need that. That’s a part of our healing.”