Mauling Death of Pittsburgh Toddler Settled By Parents

| by Paul Brown

Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh have settled their lawsuit against the Pittsburgh zoo following the 2012 mauling death of their 2-year-old son, Maddox. 

Maddox Derkosh was mauled to death after jumping from his mother’s arms, falling ten feet, bouncing off a net and tumbling into an exhibit of wild African dogs. The net was in place to catch falling trash and other small objects that could have contaminated the animals’ exhibit, and was therefore not sturdy enough to catch the falling toddler.

According to the Huffington Post, “the animals immediately attacked the boy, who bled to death from massive injuries.”

Maddox had poor vision and, as a result, had trouble seeing the wild African dogs in the exhibit below. The boy’s mother, Elizabeth, held her toddler son over the safety railing. This allowed him to see the dogs more clearly. When he leapt from her arms, there was no further safety measure in place to prevent him from falling into the deadly animals’ exhibit. 

The zoo’s attorney contended in the court filing that "the injuries and damages sustained by Maddox Derkosh, including Maddox Derkosh's death, were caused solely by the carelessness, negligence and/or recklessness of Elizabeth Derkosh.”

The results of the settlement remain confidential and the family wishes to be granted privacy on the matter.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the African dogs that mauled Maddox have been removed from the Pittsburgh zoo. Most of these dogs have been sent to live at other zoos around the country.  

2-year-old Maddox is the only visitor known to have died at the Pittsburgh zoo in the institution’s 116-year history.  

Sources: Huffington Post