Boy Mauled at Zoo Lunged Forward: Witnesses
Maddox Derkosh's mother won't be charged in 'tragic accident'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 29, 2012 4:35 AM CST
Updated Nov 29, 2012 5:55 AM CST
Jason Derkosh holds his wife, Elizabeth, at the funeral of their 2-year-old son, Maddox, at Saint Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, Pa., on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Justin Merriman)

(Newser) – The mother of a 2-year-old boy who was mauled to death after falling into an exhibit of wild African dogs won't be prosecuted, but authorities are still investigating the zoo for possible criminal negligence. The district attorney said yesterday that Maddox Derkosh's death at the Pittsburgh Zoo was a "tragic accident." The boy had vision problems and wore glasses, and that's partly why his mother, 34-year-old Elizabeth Derkosh, had lifted the boy on a railing to view the pack of African painted dogs in early November, the DA said.

He noted that witnesses described the boy lunging forward, as if he thought there was some sort of clear barrier to stop him. The boy fell and the animals immediately pounced on him. The DA also said he was concerned about an internal zoo memo from October stating that there would be no security guard at the zoo from 7am to 3pm during weekdays. Maddox died on a weekend, but the investigation is continuing and will review whether the zoo was guilty of criminal negligence or endangering the welfare of children, and what changes need to be made to prevent future accidents, the official added.

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Showing 3 of 44 comments
crankydude
Sep 13, 2013 12:25 AM CDT
Despite the unanimity of these comments this motion by the zoo will be denied and before the action goes to trial the zoo will settle with the parents, knowing that a jury hearing the evidence (a far cry from reading these news reports) would rule in favor of the parents. Other than the zoo and commenters here, no one else mentioned in the articles is vilifying the parents. The DA did not; neighbors did not. If these are mindless predators (they are NOT) but if they ARE then it should not have been humanly possible for any child of any age to end up inside with them by any means including a mom of a child with vision problems lifting him up for a closer look. After the occurrence the exhibit was closed. Also the zoo has added an extra barrier, since the occurrence. An extra barrier that was NOT needed? Is that what you think! I suggest that 2 critical but unmentioned questions are very simply these: why, should these animals have been hungry if properly fed by the zoo? and why, if they were NOT hungry, did they attack the boy! Commenters here, thinking their pet dogs make them zoologists, conceive of unfamiliar animals as automatically attacking any other animal near them, all the time just because that is how they are. NONSENSE! That is solely human behavior. It would seem these animals were hungry and that would make it seem they were not being properly fed. Lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs, bears, do not hunt and kill when they are not hungry. They rest, play, sleep, groom and conserve their energy. These comments are the only mindless, feeding frenzy mob that has anything to do with this case. OK, resume spewing.
blairtime
Sep 12, 2013 10:01 PM CDT
This is a sad ,sad story.My heart goes out to the mother, but if this story is true she has no case
noonespecial
Nov 30, 2012 11:34 PM CST
whos watching all of your children while you argue over who was not watching theirs? that's all....