Kyle Plush, 16, was found dead Tuesday evening in a van parked in the lot at a private school in Madisonville, Ohio
Distressing 911 calls show how a 16-year-old pleaded with a 911 dispatcher to send help after he became trapped under the third row bench seat of his van.
Kyle Plush was found dead Tuesday evening, more than six hours after he first called police for help, saying he was stuck in his van and close to death.
The Seven Hills School student first called 911 at 3:14pm, saying he was trapped in his van in the school parking lot and to send help immediately.
Plush became stuck underneath the third row bench seat of his van when the seat collapsed as he was leaning back to get tennis gear from the back of the vehicle.
‘Help, help, help. I’m stuck in my van outside the Seven Hills parking lot. Help. I need help,’ Plush says.
Plush used the Siri function on his phone to call 911, since he wasn’t near his phone.
It also meant that he couldn’t hear the dispatcher when she tried to get a more detailed description of his location, and in turn, the 911 operator struggled to hear Plush because he was so far away from his phone.
The above graphic shows how Plush became trapped under the third row bench seat when he leaned back to grab tennis gear from the rear of the vehicle
‘Where are you?’ the dispatcher asks.
‘I can’t hear you, I’m in desperate need of help,’ Plush responds.
‘What is the address?’ the dispatcher asks.
‘Help, help help. I can’t hear you,’ Plush says.
‘Where are you? the dispatcher asks again
‘If you don’t send help I’m gonna die soon,’ Plush says.
That call abruptly cuts off after about three minutes.
At 3:26pm, a deputy arrived at the scene and searched at least two of the parking lots around the school, but doesn’t find anything.
‘I looked in a van and I didn’t see anybody in it,’ the deputy told dispatchers.
‘It was really hard to hear,’ the operator told the deputy. ‘It was really a strange call.’
Audio has since been released of Plush’s two desperate calls to 911 – in which he pleads with dispatchers to send help
A makeshift memorial was set up in the Seven Hills school parking lot after Plush’s death
The deputy tried calling Plush back but the call went to voicemail after a few rings.
Plush made his second and final call at 3:35pm, this time growing more desperate and his speech more labored.
‘This is not a joke. This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van,’ he says.
‘I probably don’t have much time left. Tell me mom I love her if I die,’ he adds.
This call last two and a half minutes before ending, and the operator is not heard speaking on the recording.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said something went ‘terribly wrong’ in the police response to Plush’s two calls
A deputy who was sent to the scene to look for Plush said he didn’t see anyone in distress. But he only search two of the several parking lots around the school
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters has pledged to investigate what went wrong in Plush’s death, and the 911 response
Later that night, Plush’s mom Jill called 911 herself, to report him missing – saying he had not returned home after a tennis match.
Police said a friend called the boy’s parents that evening saying he hadn’t shown up as planned for a tennis match. His mother used an app to locate his phone at Seven Hills. They called the county dispatch center, and police said the father, Ron, then arrived at the unlocked vehicle and found the unresponsive teen inside. Police and fire responders getting there just before 9pm were unable to revive him.
On Thursday, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said something went ‘terribly wrong’ in the police response to Plush’s 911 calls. The operator who answered Plush’s second call, identified as Amber Smith, has since been placed on administrative leave, but not relaying the make and model of color of Plush’s minivan to officers.
Smith has twice taken to Facebook to complain about working overtime – doing so most recently on Friday.
She first vented about the situation in May 2017, writing: ‘I’m always at work and working overtime… all it does (is) make us hate our job and hate the people that are off for months.’
It’s not clear if she was working overtime when Plush called in from the back of his car, slowly being crushed to death.
Isaac called the boy’s death ‘a horrific tragedy.’
‘We share in their heartbreak,’ he said.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said his office is trying to identify experts to help its own probe with the coroner’s office. The coroner ruled the teenager died of asphyxia, from his chest being compressed.
The Seven Hills School , a private academy in Cincinnati for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, sent out a message saying Plush had been a student there since sixth grade.
In the second call to 911, Plush told the operator ‘tell my mom that I love her if I die’
Above: A view inside a 2002 Honda Odyssesy, showing the third bench row. This is not the car that which Plush died
‘He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply,’ the school said.
Classmate Preston Luniewski told WLWT-TV that Plush ‘was truly a spectacular person.’
‘He just lit up the classroom,’ Luniewski said.
Patty Normille, the principal of Mercy Montessori School, which Plush attended up to sixth grade, told WCPO he suffered from spinal development problems and other medical issues that impeded his physical mobility.
Authorities indicated Plush was in the rear of the minivan when he became trapped by a seat.
A Honda spokesman identified the vehicle as a 2004 Honda Odyssey and said there had been no seat-related recalls for that model.
‘Our hearts go out to the victim’s family during this difficult time,’ spokesman Chris Martin said. ‘Honda does not have any specific information from which to definitively determine what occurred in this incident.’
Isaac said police will study possible police equipment malfunctions.
Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, urged prayers for the Plush family, saying, ‘our hearts are heavy.’
Above, the Plush family’s home in Cincinnati. The teens’ family located him after using an app to pinpoint the location of his cellphone