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DA: Pittsburgh Zoo removing deck where boy fell



PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala toured the exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo Thursday where a toddler was fatally mauled last month.

As a result of Zappala's investigation, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is removing an observation deck from which the 2-year-old boy fell before he was fatally mauled by wild African dogs in an exhibit below.

Zappala’s office issued the following statement regarding its investigation, "In an effort to facilitate the ongoing review of the circumstances surrounding the death of Maddox Derkosh at the Pittsburgh Zoo, District Attorney Zappala met this morning with Dr. Barbara Baker and the City of Pittsburgh Police Officers who responded to the scene. 

“The meeting, which lasted approximately two hours, included a walk-through of the exhibit and was a productive step towards ensuring that this tragedy will not reoccur in the future.

“To that end, Dr. Baker advised the District Attorney that out of respect for the community and for the Derkosh family, the observation platform of the exhibit at issue would be removed."

Zappala announced last week that 34-year-old Elizabeth Derkosh won't be prosecuted in the Nov. 4 death of her son, Maddox, which Zappala called a "tragic accident."

The boy, who had vision issues, leaned forward and fell into the exhibit after his mother lifted him onto a wooden rail overlooking the dogs' enclosure.

Zappala has said his investigation continues to review whether anyone at the zoo contributed to the boy's death, and how to prevent future accidents.

There is no set timeline for when the platform will be taken down.

The zoo released a short statement Thursday that said their thoughts and prayers are with the Derkosh family.