Kyle Plush case: Cincinnati police never left their car while searching for teen trapped in minivan
Cincinnati police officers reportedly did not step out of their patrol car while searching for a teenage boy trapped under the backseat of a van, who had made frantic calls to 911 saying he was going to die if he did not get help, reports state.
Cincinnati police Chief Eliot K Isaac on Monday said that the officers drove around for 14 minutes in the parking lot where the car was parked, explaining that the officers thought that they would cover more ground by remaining inside the vehicle and looking out both sides.
The 16-year-old boy, Kyle Plush, was found dead — trapped by a folding seat in his minivan — by his father in April. The teenager was located after more than six hours after he made two 911 calls for help from his school's parking lot, according to reports.
An investigation into the incident was launched by the Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joseph Deters, to determine why the emergency dispatch system could not reach Kyle despite the phone calls.
Kyle became trapped in the minivan when he was leaning towards the back of the 2002 Honda Odyssey. He was reportedly trying to retrieve his tennis equipment when the third-row seat of the vehicle collapsed on top of him.
Reports state that Kyle was flipped into the floor of the cargo area and was pinned upside down with the seat lodged on top of him, compressing his chest, making it difficult for him to breathe.
Kyle, a student of the Seven Hills School, called 911 around 3 pm. He told the emergency operator that he was trapped inside his gold Honda Odyssey and also gave the precise location of where the car was parked.
The teenager reportedly cried for help and struggled to convey his exact state and position because he could not hear the emergency operator.
Reports state that the phone seemed to be far away from Kyle's body and he apparently made use of the Siri function to call 911. Since the phone was far away from him, the operator had a hard time understanding what the boy was saying.
"I probably don't have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die," Kyle told the emergency operator during the phone call.
The dispatcher reportedly sent a police officer to the scene. However, the officer could not find anyone stuck in a van despite searching the parking lot. The officer also tried to call the boy but it went to voicemail. He reportedly told the officer that the phone call could have been a prank call.
After a while, the boy tried calling 911 again and appeared to be out of breath. Sounds of loud banging and heavy breathing could be heard. "This is not a joke. I am trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills.... Send officers immediately. I'm almost dead," the boy told the emergency operator.
The officers searched the school parking lot again, however, they could not find anyone trapped in a van. It was later revealed that he was trapped in the school's overflow parking lot, which was across the street from the main parking lot. The officers did not search that particular section, according to reports.
The latest revelation was part of an internal investigation report released on Monday in association with Kyle's death.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley on Monday said: "At a big picture level, it's important to say that I think we failed. We failed to get the outcome we wanted in this emergency response."
While Kyle's father, Ron Plush, who found his son's body on the night of the incident, said: "One thing I've heard over the past month is what happened to Kyle was the perfect storm. So was this the perfect storm or a series of multiple failures?"
"I was expecting that by hearing the police report today, many of my questions would be answered," he said. "This is not the case."