Mother of Toddler Killed by Wild Dogs Is Cleared of Blame -- Duh!

Heartbreaking 86

wild african dogRemember that horrifying story about the toddler who fell into the wild dogs exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo and was mauled to death? We couldn't imagine how awful that was for the boy's mother, Elizabeth Derkosh. So I learned today that she will not be charged in the death of her son, and my first thought was -- that was a possibility?!? I mean, I know there are plenty of people out there eager to blame the poor woman. But did anyone seriously think that would be the most logical next step, charging her?

But there it is. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. called it a "tragic accident." I guess there was an investigation? And he explained how that little boy fell into the exhibit in the first place -- it's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Maddox Derkosh had vision problems and wore glasses, so Elizabeth just lifted him up to get a better view. And then he lunged suddenly, as toddlers do, and that's when the awful accident happened. They interviewed witnesses.

I'm sure it felt worse to know this investigation was going on, and that there were people who felt Elizabeth was responsible for her son's death. So hopefully it's some comfort to her to know at least the police aren't blaming her. I'm sure she's played that moment over and over in her head, wishing she'd never picked up Maddox to give him a better view. She must be torturing herself with the memory.

I think she's suffered enough! We know there are mothers who do deliberate harm to their children, but they are the rare exception. I think we need to show compassion for Elizabeth. This was a mistake any one of us could have made ourselves.

Have you ever put your child in what you later realized was a dangerous position?

 

Image via Luca Venturi Oslo/Flickr

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dirti... dirtiekittie

in the original story, it says they are still investigating the zoo to see if it was negligent and responsible in some way. that's utter BS. if it was a complete accident on this mother's part, i don't see how the zoo can be any more to blame. while i do feel for this woman, i do still blame her for putting her son in that position. as we've discussed on here several times now, she was warned by zoo staff multiple times not to put her son on the railings and she continued to do so. if they find the zoo liable for negligence in this case, then they should the mother too for not following the rules of the zoo. 


yes, it was a terrible accident and this woman will have to live with it for the rest of her life. but if she is not guilty of anything wrong here, i don't see how the zoo is either. 

nonmember avatar shelly

I"m sorry, in what way is she NOT responsible? Just because their aren't charges, does not negate her responsibility. Sure, I've done some silly things. Nothing as insane and negligent as holding my toddler over a pack of wild dogs. Nothing, that could have caused him a horrible death. I'm in no way saying I'm a perfect parent (Lord knows, I'm not!) There are mistakes, and there is causing a death. What she did wasn't just a little mistake. Her child got mauled to death by wild dogs. This should have never happened. She is till to blame. Nothing changes that.

cmjaz cmjaz

I find it baffeling that this author was surprised that charges against the mom could have even been considered. The law could punish her for negligent homicide or even negligence, but rightly (imo) did not. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't have been considered though.

MamaH... MamaHasWings

The justice system is totally flawed anyways so of course they did not find her responsible even though SHE is the one who put him on the railing and caused the death of her child.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I agree Dirtiekittie-my exact thoughts plus as you stated she was warned multiple times, she is to blame but I do feel bad for her, I wonder if she has a low IQ, since she was warned over and over....

SKDMo... SKDMom1020

I don't think anyone is saying she is blameless, it was her actions that led to her child's death.  But should she be criminally charged? My first thought is no, I don't think so, she will forever pay the price for her foolish actions, she has lost her child, forever.  She will live with that everyday.  But, if it's true that she was repeatedly warned by the zoo staff to keep him off the railings, than you could say this was more than a mistake, that she willingly did something to put her child in danger.  It's a sad case all the way around.

ghost... ghostbaby

She should have been charged. How many times was she told not to put her son up there and she did it anyway. Its totally her fault. What sense does it make to see if it was the faultnof the zoo, when people told her not to do that along with the signs posted that says not to do it? She caused her childs death, no one but her is responsible.

Michelle Tribble

Her negligence got him killed. I wish charges had been filed. So sad for that little boy.

nonmember avatar shan

Is it sad? Yes is it the mothers fault? Yes! If this mom had held her child over the edge of a tall bridge to better see boats 100 feet below and he fell, first of all there wouldn't have been "bridge employees" repeatedly reminding her not to do that. Second of all there would not be signs all over the bridge reminding people "don't set your child on the railings or dangle them over the side of the bridge". And third of all there would NOT be an investigation to

See if the city the bridge is in or the builders of the bridge we're somehow at fault. NO the mother would have been charged and noone woukd hesitate. So why is the zoo being investigated and the mother NOT charged? Because our wonderful justice system VERY rarely treats child abuse, murder, molestation or neglect- and YES this is most certainly negligence- with any kind of seriousness. Look online and for every case where it is treated serious there will be HUNDREDS of.cases where the parents or abusers get just a slap on the wrist or no charges at all. Didn't youall know? Children are disposable. You can always have mor

....... poor angel. Smdh.

nonmember avatar shan

Is it sad? Yes is it the mothers fault? Yes! If this mom had held her child over the edge of a tall bridge to better see boats 100 feet below and he fell, first of all there wouldn't have been "bridge employees" repeatedly reminding her not to do that. Second of all there would not be signs all over the bridge reminding people "don't set your child on the railings or dangle them over the side of the bridge". And third of all there would NOT be an investigation to

See if the city the bridge is in or the builders of the bridge we're somehow at fault. NO the mother would have been charged and noone woukd hesitate. So why is the zoo being investigated and the mother NOT charged? Because our wonderful justice system VERY rarely treats child abuse, murder, molestation or neglect- and YES this is most certainly negligence- with any kind of seriousness. Look online and for every case where it is treated serious there will be HUNDREDS of.cases where the parents or abusers get just a slap on the wrist or no charges at all. Didn't youall know? Children are disposable. You can always have mor

....... poor angel. Smdh.

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