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

(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.

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.
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)
A woman collects toy trucks at the funeral of 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh at Saint Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, Pa., on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.
A woman collects toy trucks at the funeral of 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh at Saint Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, Pa., on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Justin Merriman)
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