Mom Will Not Be Charged in Zoo Mauling Case

2-year-old Maddox Derkosh of Whitehall was killed in early November.

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office will not pursue criminal charges against Elizabeth Derkosh, the mother of the late Maddox Derkosh, who was killed in a tragic mauling accident at the Pittsburgh Zoo in early November.

However, according to KDKA, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. is investigating a possible criminal negligence charge against the zoo.

Elizabeth and 2-year-old Maddox, both of Whitehall Borough's Highgrove Road, were visiting the zoo on Nov. 4 when Maddox fell from the top of a platform railing to the ground inside of the pit area of an African painted dogs exhibit, according to a statement from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

Pittsburgh police said that the child lost his balance after his mother lifted him in a standing position onto the 4-foot-high wooden railing that overlooks the enclosure. He was then mauled to death by the dogs.

KDKA reports that Zappala has specifically criticized zoo security, training and zoo officials' response to the accident.

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Alicia Sophia November 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I am outraged, clearly none of you have children. Why didn't she jump in there after Maddox? Why wasn't he on her hip to get a better view? Maddox would still be here if she hadn't of lifted him up on the railing
Ed M November 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I've got two kids, Alicia. And if I lost one of them in any fashion I would be devastated! You can pass all the blame you want but at the end of the day this is a tragic accident. The damage is done. Prayers for Maddox's family is what is needed, not condemnation.
mary jo otoole November 30, 2012 at 02:17 PM
OMG!!! I would hope not! Can't believe this poor family had to even think about that!!! God Bless all of them!!
Debbie L. December 02, 2012 at 04:50 AM
The family will never be at peace im sure, but it was an accident, which could have been avoided. i do feel for the Mom, but Mr Zappala, OMG, dont criticize our zoo, and the people who work there. They did no wrong, and our zoo has always been a safe place. Ive been taking my children and grandchildren there for years, ive never heard or seen anything like this. and ive never seen anyone lift there child to a railing, when that is forbidden. Prayers for the family, but prayers to zoo officials also.
alice December 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
It was a poor decision from the mother to lift her child up onto a 4 foot high railing - which I don't know why she would do that in the first place. On top of that, it is strictly forbidden. I am not blaming her, I don't know what was going through her mind, and I am sure she is tormented. I really do feel for her. But at the same time, the zoo had nothing to do with this. Criminal negligence? What were they supposed to do? They reacted as quickly as possible to a very dangerous situation. People forget those are wild animals. You can't just grab a gun and mow them down (also there was a child in there... firing into a group like that could've hurt the child) and you can't just snap your fingers and call them off. There are numerous safety precautions for a reason. If people can't use their heads when surrounded by fencing, railings, and warning signs - then what are we supposed to do? Encase everything in the world in glass? Live in bubbles? Again, I am really, really not blaming the mother. I am surprised at her behavior but I know she must be going through a lot right now. I do really stand by the zoo on this one. There's really nothing that could be done. It was a crowd of people and the accident happened within a split second. I'm sure if someone had seen the woman doing something that no one EVER would have dreamed a mother would do, security would have stopped her.


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