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Father, stepmom charged with child neglect after daughter’s unexpected death

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — A Henrico father and stepmother were arrested and charged in connection to the unexpected death of their middle school-aged daughter Avianca Rana.

Avinaya Shemera Rana, 46, and Sulakchhana Basnet, 37, both of Glen Allen, were charged with child neglect following their July 20 arrest.

“On July 8, 2018 Henrico Police and Fire responded to the 400 block of Kingscote Lane for a medical emergency,” a Henrico Police spokesperson said. “Henrico Fire transported a juvenile female to a local hospital where she died. Basnet and Rana were charged with child neglect. The investigation is continuing.”

Neighbors remembered seeing an ambulance and police cars at the couple's home on July 8 and then more officers again over the weekend. Many had heard Rana's daughter had passed away, but were unaware of the latest charges.

Sulakchhana Basnet and Avinaya Rana (PHOTOS: Henrico Police)

An email sent to parents from Hungary Creek Middle School confirmed Avianca was a rising 7th grader.

"It is with great sadness that I come to you this morning to announce the passing of a rising 7th grade Cougar, Avianca Rana. Avianca passed away this week due to complications from Diabetes. She was a fun loving student who was a member of the A/B honor roll in all advanced classes at HCMS and will be greatly missed," the letter read.

However, a follow up email to parents read, "After additional conversation with Mr. Rana and updated information, he is stating that Avianca passed away from general medical complications."

Sabina Pradhan, who said she was a friend of the family, said Avianca's birth mother had passed away due to pancreatitis several years ago.

"Avianca was a normal little kid and an extremely good swimmer," Pradhan recalled. "I remember her late mom talking about her all the time saying 'I'm taking Avianca to swimming classes. I'm in complete shock."

Rana had recently remarried and moved in to their Kingscote Lane home with his children and Basnet about two years ago, according to neighbors.

No further details into the circumstances of the child’s death have been released.

Avianca's funeral was July 13 at the Bennett Funeral Home West Chapel on West Broad Street in Glen Allen, according to the letter.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips, photos, or video here.