Mayor says cops, dispatchers were 'wrong' in death case of boy trapped in minivan
Klye Plush

By Sarah Hager, Jennifer Baker, and Stefano DiPietrantonio, WXIX

CINCINNATI -- (WXIX) -- "It's wrong; call, dispatchers and officers all wrong. Let's not sugarcoat this," that scathing remark came from Mayor John Cranley during Tuesday's Law and Public Safety Committee meeting.

The meeting was held two weeks after the initial release of the results in the Kyle Plush death investigation during a meeting May 14 that left the Plush family and council members with more questions than answers.

"It doesn't mean people got up that day meaning to do something wrong. We have to create a culture of continuous improvement." Cranley said.

Two 911 dispatchers had the approximate longitude and latitude coordinates within 5 to 10 feet of the van Kyle Plush was trapped in, yet that information was not given to the police officers who were trying to find him, Cincinnati's acting city manager revealed Tuesday.

Officers were given the approximate mapping location through an address, but the parking lot at Seven Hills School in Madisonville was crowded at dismissal time and did not indicate an emergency situation, Patrick Duhaney said.

The city is now upgrading the mapping system in police cars to help officers get a more accurate location of callers.

The Law and Public Safety Committee met Tuesday to hear from the acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney and police officials.

This latest meeting comes two weeks after the release of the investigation results, which left the Plush family and council members with more questions than answers.

The 16-year-old died after being trapped in his minivan in the school parking lot on April 10 despite calling 911 twice for help.

"We owe it to the general public and to the Plush family to get this right," Duhaney said in opening remarks.

Kyle's mother, Jill Plush, attended Tuesday's Law and Public Safety meeting with her husband, Ron, for the first time.

In a visibly emotional statement, Ron Plush told the committee that he listened to his son's calls to 911 for the first time Tuesday morning before the meeting.

"My intent was not to listen to Kyle's two 911 calls," he said, "as we went through this process, I realized I could not move forward without listening."

Tuesday's meeting provided answers to the questions submitted by the Plush family May 14, but it also raised more questions that city officials could not yet provide answers for.

One of those questions stemmed from what the call taker Stephanie Magee could hear. Plush said that Magee asked call takers Dooley and Harris to listen to an immediate, recorded playback of Kyle Plush's initial call. Plush asked city and police officials if the recorded call that Dooley and Harris heard were the same calls that he listened to as well.

You can listen to audio of the 911 calls here.

The family's request for more information forced police and city officials to return with more details about the events that led up to Kyle's death.

Among other revelations Duhaney made Tuesday:

  • Video doesn't show anyone entering the parking lot where Kyle's body was eventually found inside the van about five hours later, when his father went to the school lot and discovered his son
  • There is no standard protocol for police to get out of the car when searching for someone stuck in a vehicle. The expectation is they will leave the car and look
  • The 911 system had "connectivity" issues on April 10. If those hadn't occurred, the second 911 dispatcher would have known all the information the first dispatcher heard. But dispatcher Amber Smith's computer assisted dispatch system, or CAD) "froze"
  • She submitted a ticket documenting tech trouble within 15 minutes of receiving the call
  • All 911 tech equipment is undergoing checks to make sure it works
  • IT staff is there to help when system fails via regular business hours during the week and on call after hours and weekends
  • Dispatchers will now be required to re-listen to calls from the same number and check the volume on their system
  • The second 911 caller used a system called TTY when she thought the caller (Kyle) was hearing impaired
  • If the first 911 caller had turned up her volume she might have heard Kyle's screams for help and pounding and conveyed that to the police officers on scene

Kyle's father addressed Council once Duhaney finished, saying the answers to his questions have raised even more.

What happened to his son, he said, cannot happen to another family.

FULL STORY: Mayor says cops, dispatchers were 'wrong' in Kyle Plush death case - WXIX