PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Friends of Elizabeth Derkosh, the mother of the 2-year-old boy who died after falling into the African Painted Dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, say they want people to have more compassion regarding what happened at the zoo on Sunday.

Teri Kemp says she’s worked with Derkosh for the past six years, and found out Monday morning that it was Derkosh’s son, Maddox, who was the victim.

“She was due to come into work and she didn’t come in,” said Kemp. “It was a few minutes past and then they called us in the office and I could tell by our bosses’ faces that something extremely bad is going on.”

Kemp says Derkosh is a fantastic mother who lived for her son.

She says Maddox was the only child in the Derkosh home.

“Everything was about him,” Kemp said. “That was her life.”

She says she’s frustrated because people are judging a person they know nothing about.

“Understand that this could have happened to anybody,” Kemp added. “This is not negligence at all.”

In Whitehall on Monday where the Derkosh’s live, family said they didn’t want to say anything about the tragedy. But at the front door, a small toy truck sits next to two bouquets of flowers.

“She adored him,” Kemp said. “She just always talked about him, and we just all have kids. We all are in our 30’s at work, we all would relate to each other.”

Zoo Officials Offer New Details After Child’s Tragic Death (11/5/12)
Other Related Stories

Watch & Listen LIVE