Toy construction trucks are pouring into the funeral home handling arrangements for a 2-year-old boy who was fatally mauled when he fell into a wild dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh zoo.
The parents of Maddox Derkosh requested the toys instead of flowers because their son liked to play with trucks and share them with friends. More than 3,000 have been donated, and the William Slater II funeral home said it would continue accepting the trucks even after the boy’s funeral Friday morning.
The family intends to donate the trucks to a charity that will distribute them to needy children on Christmas.
“We will never forget this as long as we live,” funeral director William Slater said Thursday as he stood among dozens of toy trucks in a viewing room.
Investigations continue into the boy’s death, which happened after he fell from a wooden railing overlooking the exhibit Sunday at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.
The boy’s mother placed him on the rail, and he somehow slipped away, bounced off a small net and fell about 10 feet more into the enclosed exhibit.
The county medical examiner determined the boy survived the fall but bled to death from the attack, which zoo officials said staff members couldn’t stop because it happened so quickly.
In addition to an internal zoo review, the death is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an accrediting organization. Neither is expected to announce findings soon.
It appears to be an accident that won’t result in criminal charges, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office, which is waiting for other information before closing the case. The district attorney also expects the observation platform above the exhibit to be improved, Manko said.
Toy truck donations can be sent to William Slater II Funeral Home, 1650 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.