No charges in death of toddler who fell into restaurant grease trap, police say

Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 16:25:25-04

No charges will be filed in the death of a 3-year-old boy who apparently fell into a restaurant grease trap in Rochester, New York, police said Tuesday.

The boy fell in the grease trap Monday at a Tim Hortons restaurant. The child’s mother was an employee at the restaurant and had brought her son to work because she could not find child care that day, Rochester Police Department Investigator Francis Camp told CNN.

Camp said investigators think the boy fell through a plastic lid that gave way and into the grease trap embedded in the ground outside the restaurant.

The grease trap was about 2-and-a-half feet in diameter and covered with a green plastic lid — much like a manhole cover — that helped it blend into the surrounding grass, he said.

“The lid was on there, it looks like the child ran across it and it popped open and he fell into the trap,” he said.

Camp said a witness found the child in the grease trap minutes after he was reported missing. The witness saw the boy and pulled him from the trap and started administering CPR, Camp said. The boy’s name has not been released.

Attempts were made to revive the boy but they were unsuccessful, according to Camp.

“We have a horrifying episode here that happened today,” he said. “We’re asked all the time, ‘What’s the worst thing you encounter as a police officer?’ and this is number one.”

The medical examiner’s office told CNN the cause of death will be released in coming days.

Tim Hortons provided CNN with the following statement:

“What occurred today was a tragedy and on behalf of the Tim Hortons family, we offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young boy who passed away. Tim Hortons is fully cooperating with authorities. As there is an ongoing police investigation, we have no further comment at this time.”

The city is currently pouring concrete around the opening in the ground where the grease trap was located and putting a metal lid on it, according to Camp.

CNN reached out to the NY Buildings Administrative Enforcement Unit to ask if this location’s grease interceptor was up to code.

Camp said police will be following up with the DA’s office, OSHA and the medical examiner’s office.

A 3-year-old child died in Auburn, Alabama, after falling into a grease pit in October 2017 while on a family outing at an ice cream shop.