As It Happens

Grandfather of teen who died of overdose in B.C. still looking for answers

Darrel Crimeni is still looking for answers about what happened the night his 14-year-old grandson Carson died after a suspected overdose in Langley, B.C., last summer.

Watchdog finds no police wrongdoing in report released Monday

A picture of Carson Crimeni at his grandfather's home in Langley, British Columbia. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
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Darrel Crimeni is still looking for answers about what happened the night his 14-year-old grandson Carson died.

Crimeni says Carson was at a Langley, B.C. park on the evening of Aug. 7 with older teens he called his friends. He says they fed him drugs, and videotaped his distress.

Police went to the park, but didn't find anyone, after a woman called 911 to say her daughter saw a Snapchat photograph of a young man at a skate park who looked "out of it," surrounded by a group of people.

Later that night, dispatchers received another call. Officers then found Carson in a nearby baseball diamond. He was rushed to hospital, but did not survive.

A report released Monday by the province's police watchdog concluded the two RCMP officers who responded to that call were not negligent in their search and that the delay did not play a role in Carson's death.

Darrel Cremini arrived on the scene shortly after paramedics found Carson. He spoke to As It Happens Carol Off about that night.

Here is part of their conversation.

How are you and your family holding up right now?

Well, you know, it's still day to day even though it has been four months. I have good days. We have bad days. His father is struggling quite a bit.

We have ... this report of the investigation as to how police responded the night that your grandson died. What do you make of that report?

It's what I expected.  

I think they put in as much effort as they saw that night. Apparently they did look for 20 minutes. 

When the police got there, everybody had left that scene.

It has been rumoured that when they saw the police coming, they dragged Carson ... behind the community centre, and behind the high school. It would have been hard to find him.

And it seems they knew enough to move him away from police arriving, so it would appear that they knew that they were doing something wrong. Is that your impression?

Oh absolutely. They knew they were doing something wrong. They killed him for entertainment, in my mind.

They purposely gave him huge amounts of drugs just to watch him, film him, and mock him and laugh at him.

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

Is it reasonable to say the police after 20 minutes couldn't find him, or do you think that they could have?

I don't think they would have found him. When I got to him … he was in a pitch black sports field. It's huge — like four baseball diamonds, two soccer fields. It's a big, big sports park.

And he was lying up against the screen fence and the drain ditch. You couldn't see him. You literally had to be 10 feet from him to see him.

At what point did you get to Carson that night?

I got Carson at about 10 p.m. I got a call from his father saying that he's late, asking if he was at my house. I said no. I phoned him. I texted him. His father phoned him 11 times. So I thought, I'll go look for him.

There is an area of that park that has covered picnic tables, where sometimes kids would sit after school. So that's where I headed.

He was in the middle of the park. When I got around past the picnic tables, I saw red flashing lights come into the park, so I headed towards the red flashing lights.

Aaron Crimeni, father of Carson Crimeni, visits the memorial for his son at the Walnut Grove skate park in Langley, British Columbia on Aug. 22, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

I got there within seconds after the police were there. The police were the first ones in. There were three skateboarders that saw Carson and phoned 911.

Carson was basically unresponsive. Having trouble breathing. Lying on his back. They tried to fit him with an oxygen bottle, but shortly after that, the ambulance did arrive to take him away.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital, but basically died at the sports park.

Darrel, I'm so sorry.

It's been hard. 

Who were the young people who did this? Do you have any idea?

Well, Carson called them his friends, but you know, he just wanted to fit in with them. Who are they? I don't know. I've never met them obviously.

Had he ever been bullied before?

Not that I know of, but I've heard since that he was bullied in the last couple weeks at school.

Aaron Crimeni, father of Carson Crimeni, visits the spot where Carson was found in Langley, British Columbia on Aug. 22, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Can you tell us a bit about Carson? What was he like?

Oh, Carson was a joker. He just wanted to make friends.

He really liked to play video games. He was a good cook. He enjoyed cooking. He was very, very outgoing. Very energetic.

He did have ADHD; he had to work harder than most of the other kids to accomplish the same things. But he was a beautiful boy.

What about arrests? What about anyone being held accountable or responsible for this? Is that going to happen?

We don't know. My son Aron, Carson's father, did a couple of interviews yesterday where he said he was expecting charges. But expecting is probably the wrong word; maybe anticipating, hoping for.

If any charges come, it will still be at least three or four months away. We don't know what charges they might be, or who might be charged.

The people who did this to Carson know who they are. What would you say to them if you could speak to them?

What were you thinking really? How could you do this?

I don't know how they could do it. I think there's evil in the world. I wish I had all the answers. I don't know that we ever will, but we're hoping that it goes to trial.


Written by Jonathan Ore. Produced by Katie Geleff. Q&A edited for length and clarity.

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