13-year-old boy dies of COVID-19 in Missouri

WASHINGTON, Mo. — A 13-year-old Missouri boy died over the weekend of complications related to COVID-19, according to officials in the School District of Washington.

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Peyton Baumgarth, an eighth-grade student at Washington Middle School, is the first person under the age of 18 to die of COVID-19 in Missouri, KMOV reported. In a letter sent to parents, school district officials said he died after being hospitalized for symptoms of COVID-19.

Lori VanLeer, superintendent of the School District of Washington, said in the letter that Peyton last attended school on Oct. 22. District officials learned four days later that he had been quarantined.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and ask that the public respects their privacy. His family deserves nothing less,” VanLeer wrote. “The family also asks that we all remember to wear masks, wash hands frequently and follow guidelines. COVID-19 is real and they want to remind students and parents to take these precautions in and outside of school.”

Peyton’s uncle, Wayne Franke Jr., told KSDK that Peyton’s mother, who was close with her son, also tested positive for COVID-19.

“I can’t imagine what she’s going through,” Franke said. “Nobody should ever have to deal with that.”

On a GoFundMe page launched to support Peyton’s family, the 13-year-old was remembered as “a wonderful young man, who always had a smile to share with you.”

“He was so very sweet and caring and FUN,” the campaign’s organizer wrote on GoFundMe. "He loved Christmas, video games, and enjoyed making YouTube videos, playing Pokemon GO, playing football and being with his family.

“Peyton, buddy, you are forever in our hearts. We love you endlessly and will never forget you.”

As of Monday morning, more than 188,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across Missouri, leading to 3,031 deaths, according to state health officials.

The U.S. continues to lead the world with the most number of coronavirus cases and the highest number of deaths. As of Monday, more than 9.2 million people nationwide have been diagnosed with the viral infection and over 231,000 people have died, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Globally, more than 46 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported, causing over 1.2 million deaths.