Cops Never Got Out of Car to Look for Teen Who Died in Van

Internal report on Kyle Plush's death presented to city council
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2018 12:13 PM CDT
Teen Trapped in Van First Believed to Be an Old Woman
In this April 10 photo, a minivan is removed from the parking lot near the Seven Hills School campus in Cincinnati.   (Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP, File)

Kyle Plush managed to call 911 twice from the third-row seat of the van in which he had become trapped on April 10, using Siri to place two calls from the phone in his pocket. The 16-year-old suffocated in the parking lot of Cincinnati's Seven Hills School, and on Monday the City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee was presented with the findings of an investigation into the teen's death and discussed them publicly. Police Chief Eliot Isaac, his investigators, and technical staff were the ones sharing the findings, reports WLWT. The most looming question, per the Cincinnati Enquirer: "whether 911 operators and police officers responded appropriately to Kyle's two calls for help."

  • The report concluded 911 operations and police did act appropriately, but the report cites technical and personnel failings that produced the failed response. "We failed to get the outcome we wanted in this emergency response," said Mayor John Cranley.
  • The investigation found that the two officers who responded to the 911 calls erred in turning off their body cameras 3 minutes into their 14-minute search, reports Fox 19. Isaac said the officers drove through lots looking for Kyle over the course of those 14 minutes; that included the lot where he was trapped. They at no point exited their vehicle, a decision they said was made in order to cover the most ground and because the lots were crowded due to school just ending.

  • Council member Amy Murray said she didn't understand why the cops didn't enter the school to let the school know someone named Kyle was said to be trapped in a van. Members also questioned why every van wasn't specifically searched.
  • The report's conclusion: Officers Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile took "actions [that] were consistent with the actions that a reasonable officer would take" and "met department standards."
  • The Plush family were the only citizens permitted to speak at Monday's meeting, and Cranley characterized father Ron Plush's comments as "courageous" and "appropriate," per Fox 19; he was the one to find his son dead. Plush said the report didn't provide answers to all the family's questions. Among them: whether officers had exact GPS coordinates for the van. WCPO's Hillary Lake tweeted, "we have reported that they did because the GPS lat & long shows up on CAD."
  • The AP reports the investigation found the phone disconnected Kyle's first call, and that he could not have a back-and-forth conversation with the 911 dispatcher. In his first call, placed at 3:14pm, he said he was "going to die here" if help didn't come. The operator didn't hear that line; Fox News reports Kyle's words were "overriden" by 911's automatic greeting and therefore not transmitted to operators.

  • Kyle's aunt, Jodi Schwind, also spoke, taking issue with the fact that officers were initially told they were looking for an elderly female locked in car, per WOSU. This though Lake tweeted that the 911 operator got Kyle's voicemail greeting 3 minutes after his first 911 call was disconnected. The voicemail was not a generic one but said "Hi, this is Kyle." Schwind felt the name and knowledge the call came from near a school should have provided enough for officers to go on.
  • Kyle placed a second call at 3:35pm, and a different dispatcher answered it but was unable to hear him again express the seriousness of the situation and provide more detailed info, like details about the Honda Odyssey he was in. The report didn't establish why she didn't hear him, but said her headset might not have been working.
  • Council members put a May 29 meeting on the calendar for police to return with answers to questions raised Monday. Ron Plush is calling for an outside investigation.
(More Kyle Plush stories.)

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