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Young boy dies

Despite the efforts of a neighbor and others, a Hagerstown toddler died Wednesday morning.

cause is unknown

Despite the efforts of a neighbor and others, a Hagerstown toddler died Wednesday morning.

October 02, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

A neighbor said he and others tried unsuccessfully to help save a young boy's life at daybreak Wednesday, and police said their investigation into the child's death would continue today.

Christopher Hook, who lived with his parents at 438 N. Prospect St., was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital Wednesday morning, according to police and the boy's uncle.

Hook's uncle, Dan Hook, 31, of LaVale, Md., said the boy was 2 years old, but police information was unclear. According to different police sources, the boy was either 2 or 3.

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Hagerstown City Police said Wednesday the cause of the boy's death was not immediately apparent.

Dan Hook said the boy's parents were his brother, Chad Hook, and Nancy Hook.

The State Medical Examiner's Office was to conduct an autopsy on the boy's body today, said Lt. Rick Johnson, who is in charge of the Hagerstown Police Criminal Investigation Division.

Later Wednesday morning, the home at 438 N. Prospect St. was quiet and a lone police cruiser was parked in front of the house. A toy bulldozer sat on the sidewalk leading up to the duplex.

Neighbor Donte Holmes, 15, of 440 N. Prospect St., said he and others tried to help save the boy's life Wednesday morning amidst confusion.

Holmes said he awoke just before 7 a.m. when his younger brother began banging at the front door. When Holmes answered the door, standing next to his brother was his next-door neighbor, Chad Hook. Hook was holding his son Christopher, and screaming for someone to dial 911, Holmes said.

Holmes said he called for an ambulance, then ran next door to the Hook's home. Chad Hook had placed the boy on the ground, and Holmes' sister relayed instructions from the 911 dispatcher on how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

Holmes said after he thought he heard the boy try to take a breath, two other neighbors tried CPR as well until medics arrived.

Holmes said the boy's "face kept getting redder and redder."

An emergency dispatch operator said records indicated that a 911 call was received at 6:52 a.m. At 6:55 a.m., three Community Rescue Service vehicles were dispatched to the home, and the first vehicle arrived at 7:02 a.m., the records indicated.

A paramedic was en-route with the boy to Washington County Hospital at 7:07 a.m., and arrived at 7:11 a.m., the dispatcher said. Community Rescue Service records indicate the boy was in cardiac arrest, Community Rescue Service Lt. Jeremy Mackrell said.

Johnson said that when Hagerstown City Police Officer Barb Schroyer arrived at the home shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday, the paramedic already had left with the boy. When she arrived at the hospital a few minutes later, doctors had pronounced the child dead.

Johnson said both of the boy's parents were interviewed because they were inside the home before the boy's death.

Johnson would not discuss details of the investigation.

"I really can't talk about any other details ... I really don't want to make any comment until we get some preliminary results from the autopsy report from the State Medical Examiner's Office," Johnson said.

Chad and Nancy Hook could not be reached Wednesday, but Dan Hook said it was a trying day for his family.

"My brother's son just died," Hook said. "We're upset. My brother's devastated. His wife is devastated."

He said the police "are doing their job ... (but) they gotta understand a family has been devastated."

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