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No Charges Against Family In Gorilla Incident At Cincinnati Zoo

The mother of a 3-year-old boy was not negligent when he fell into part of the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit, officials say. Here, a boy touches a bronze statue at the zoo that became something of a memorial in the days after the gorilla was shot and killed to protect the boy who fell into its enclosure.
The mother of a 3-year-old boy was not negligent when he fell into part of the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit, officials say. Here, a boy touches a bronze statue at the zoo that became something of a memorial in the days after the gorilla was shot and killed to protect the boy who fell into its enclosure.

The mother of a young boy who fell into a gorilla's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo will not face any charges, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said at a news conference Monday.

Discussing the May 28 incident, Deters said the boy's mother "did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back."

At that point, the boy scampered off, he said. And to anyone who believes a 3-year-old can't get far in a short amount of time, he said, "They can and they do."

Witnesses said that it all unfolded in a matter of seconds, Deters said, relaying what was told to investigators in a case that has attracted wide attention.

Deters also added that he was glad the zoo had altered the border around the gorilla feature. And he said he had been "taken aback" by the messages he has seen that seem to equate a human life with an animal's.

"The zoo lost a beautiful animal, and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time," Deters said. "But it's still an animal."

He added that the boy was not hurt in the incident, adding later that social workers had been "very impressed" with the conditions inside the family's home.

"Quite frankly, I do not know how he wasn't hurt," Deters said of the boy, who fell into the gorilla's habitat at the zoo.

Noting that officials at the zoo are "heartsick" over the incident, Deters added toward the end of the news conference, "On so many levels, this is a tragedy."

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