Report In On Suffocation Deaths

by Copyright 2005 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. | Aug 2, 2005
Report In On Suffocation Deaths The official report into the suffocation deaths of three Camden boys in June says police and family members searched a car five times without looking in the trunk for the missing children.

"We've been working diligently on the report," said Camden County prosecutor Vincent Sarubbi. "We wanted to meet with the families. We provided them copies this morning and reviewed highlights."

The deaths of 11-year-old Anibal Cruz, 6-year-old Daniel Agosto and 5-year-old Jesstin Pagan have been ruled accidental. An autopsy showed they may have been alive for up to 33 hours.

The report's overall conclusion, said Sarubbi, was that "the trunk and passenger compartment of the Toyota should have been thoroughly searched by family members and by police officers in the early stages after the boys disappeared."

Police and family members searched the trunk five times before the three boys were found dead, Sarubbi said.

The boys were reported missing on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 22.

The family searched that Wednesday night, Sarubbi said, before police arrived. Soon after, police also looked inside the car but didn’t enter the car or check the trunk.

At 3 a.m. Thursday, June 23, police officers again banged on the car and called the names of the children, Sarubbi said. The Camden County medical examiner concluded during the investigation that the children may have been unconscious at that point.

Then, on Thursday afternoon police and a family member looked inside the car at separate times.

The boys' bodies were then discovered around 6:45 p.m. Friday by two relatives in front of people who had arrived for a vigil for the boys.

Sarubbi said that while the children's shoes were inside the car, there were other items that obscured them from plain view of searchers.

Information that Anibal Cruz, one of the deceased boys, had previously played in the car trunk was not made available to police members until after the boys died, Sarubbi said.

He also said the police investigators had not asked that question to family members during the search.

The report notes that Camden police never adopted search procedures recommended in 1998 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That advice states that, in cases of missing children, police should immediately search confined spaces such as refrigerators and car trunks.

The report also states that search dogs brought to the area the day after the boys were reported missing should have been on the scene the night that police were called.

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Author: Copyright 2005 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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