The mother of the little boy who climbed into a gorilla pen at the Cincinnati Zoo, eventually prompting zoo officials to shoot and kill the 400-pound animal, will not face any charges, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters announced Monday.
“By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm,” Deters said in a press conference, noting that he has received hundreds of emails about the incident.
Deter explained that the woman had her three other young children with her at the time and briefly turned her back on the three-year-old boy.
“This was a tragic accident and a terrible loss for the zoo of their beloved gorilla. However, the zoo did the right thing when they took immediate action to save the life of a young child. A gorilla is a wild animal and, by definition, dangerous and unpredictable,” he said, echoing sentiments of animal experts who were asked to discuss the incident.
“Many people on social media have condemned the mother for not watching her child carefully enough at the zoo. None of the witnesses interviewed described the mother as anything but attentive to her children. Our information is that the mother turned away for a few seconds to attend to another one of her young children and that is when the three-year-old was able to climb into the gorilla enclosure. Any parent who is honest with himself or herself would have to understand how this could happen to even the most attentive parent,” he continued.
“I am very sorry about the loss of this gorilla but nothing about this situation rises to the level of a criminal charge,” he said.
Deter also noted that anyone who believed a three-year-old could not “scamper off very quickly” has never had kids.