CINCINNATI, Ohio — Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters is launching a comprehensive investigation to determine what exactly went wrong that led to the death of a 16-year-old Seven Hills student in the school parking lot Tuesday afternoon.
“The young man was trapped in the third row bench seat, and it is called positional asphyxiation,” Deters said. “We are actively trying to identify experts to assist in us in this investigation.”
Just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, 16-year-old Kyle Jacob Plush called 911 panicking. Over the course of a three-minute call in which he gasped, cried repeatedly for help and struggled to communicate with the operator, he relayed that he was trapped inside his car in the parking lot of Seven Hills School.
“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom I love her if I die,” he said.
The call ended; when officers checking out the scene attempted to call back, it went to voicemail.
A deputy sent to the scene soon after called in to report that he couldn’t find anyone trapped in a van. He questioned if the call had been a prank.
Plush was there. He called again.
“This is not a joke,” he said. “I am trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills. … Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”
At several points in the second three-minute call, during which the operator does not respond and loud banging or heavy breathing can be heard, he attempts to call on the Siri automated iPhone assistant without success.
Around 9 p.m., according to police, a family member discovered him dead inside the van – a death Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco would rule accidental “asphyxia caused by chest compression.”
Something – neither Sammarco nor Lt. Steve Saunders indicated what – had pressed so hard against Plush’s chest that he suffocated.
The information released by police Wednesday afternoon did not clarify the reason the first deputy to respond was not able to find Plush’s van or where Plush had been inside of it. Plush’s uncle, who declined to share his name or speak on camera, said Wednesday night the 911 system failed the “great kid” who had been his nephew.
Plush was a student at Seven Hills, spokeswoman Christine Hedges said Wednesday morning. The school has grief counselors on hand for any student who needs them.
City Councilwoman Amy Murray, whose child also attends Seven Hills, also promised a full investigation into the incident on Thursday on WLW. She called it a “sad, sad day.”