Avoidable deaths

Here's an update on the tragic deaths of the three small boys who died of asphyxiation after being trapped in a car trunk in Camden, New Jersey.

It turns out they were alive for quite some time, while police searched everywhere except the car in the yard where they'd last been seen playing.

The Camden police search for three boys who died in a car trunk last month came under renewed scrutiny yesterday after a disclosure by the county Prosecutor's Office that the children lived for an estimated 13 - and possibly even 33 - hours after they disappeared.

More than 150 law enforcement officers scoured Camden's Cramer Hill neighborhood by land, water and air, but overlooked the trunk of a broken-down car in the backyard where the boys had been playing.

As I pointed out in previous posts, 150 police officers conducted a huge search for those kids.

Worse, the police not only told the families that the car had been searched, but forbid them to go near it!

Villari said that police had methodically searched the Cruz house, and after each area they would say "clear."

"They said: 'Car clear.' The mother remembers that word as if it's burned into her memory," Villari said.

He said Elba Cruz had no idea that the trunk could be entered from the backseat. The trunk was locked, with its keys kept inside her house, Villari said.

"She also remembers being told: 'Do not go near the car, stay out of the yard. It's a potential crime scene.' At that point, the whole neighborhood focused their attention on spreading the [search] grid away from the house."

As I remarked cynically to a friend, if I decided to opt for a life of crime, Camden would be the place.

Pitiful. It's worse than I previously thought, and I'm sorry for the families.

posted by Eric on 07.20.05 at 08:51 PM

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