British Columbia

Family doesn't blame police for death of Langley teen near skatepark

Relatives of a teenage boy who died near a skatepark in Langley, B.C., say they don’t blame police for not finding him until hours after the first 911 call, but wish more had been done.

RCMP officers who failed to find teen after the first 911 call are under investigation

Aron Crimeni, father of Carson Crimeni, visits the memorial for his son at the Walnut Grove skate park in Langley, B.C., Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Relatives of a teenage boy who died near a skatepark in Langley, B.C., say they don't blame police for not finding him until hours after the first 911 call but wish they'd done more. 

Carson Crimeni, 14, died of an apparent drug overdose on Aug. 7. He was still breathing when his grandfather found him at about 9:30 p.m. PT that night, lying slumped against a fence in the dark at Walnut Grove Community Park. 

"He was struggling for air," said Darrel Crimeni, who had been searching the area when his grandson failed to return home that evening. 

"The police were trying to save his life as much as possible when I got here." 

Carson's family say they believe someone gave him drugs and that witnesses stood by, laughing, and took videos of the boy overdosing and later posted them to social media. 

Darrel Crimeni talks about his grandson Carson at his home in Langley. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

IIO investigating officers

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), the province's police watchdog, is examining why officers didn't find the boy earlier. 

Two officers had been called to the scene earlier that night after a 911 call at about 8 p.m. said a video showing the boy in distress at the skatepark was circulating on a social media app called SnapChat. 

Police did not find Carson until a later 911 call came in. He was about half a kilometre away from where police were originally called in the park complex.    

"What we're looking at is whether the actions, or perhaps more importantly any inactions of the police, may have led to the death of this young male," said Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO. 

Carson Crimeni was found at the athletic park about 500 metres away from the skate park. His grandfather lived nearby. (CBC)

The IIO is considering the distance between where the officers initially looked and the location where Carson was later found, the lines of sight, and whether the police made reasonable efforts to find the boy given the information they had at the time. 

No specific allegations of wrongdoing by the police have been made, he added. 

A picture at his grandfathers home of Carson Crimeni in Langley. His family says the teen played hockey and loved video games. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

'Maybe they could have saved him'

Crimeni returns to where he found his grandson every night to lay down flowers.

"I wish they had found him at 8 o'clock [after the first 911 call], I really do. Maybe they could have saved him," he said.  

"Maybe they could have looked harder but it's not for me to say. I know it wasn't them who killed him."

For Carson's father, Aron Crimeni, it's difficult to return to the park where a memorial site has grown. 

A memorial has been set up with flowers and candles in memory of the teen. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He said he's still processing news of the IIO investigation and the possibility that more could have been done for his son. 

"I don't know what to feel about it. Anger, sadness, it's hard," he said. 

"There are so many things, it seems, that could have changed the outcome and it's just sad that of all those chances, nothing came and nothing saved him." 

Aron Crimeni questions why more witnesses and people who saw the video on social media didn't also call police earlier. 

"If you see someone who needs help, help them," he urged. 

With files from Tanya Fletcher and Georgie Smyth

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