Mom of boy who accidentally hung himself in store speaks out
INSIDE EDITION - The mother of a 4-year-old boy who accidentally strangled himself in a Minnesota thrift store said his death was just a bad accident.
Ryu Pena died on Saturday while out with his grandmother after his hooded sweatshirt got caught on a hook attached to the wall in the dressing room at Again Thrift & More in Mankato.
His mother, Denyce Gonzalez, said the her son crawled underneath a locked fitting room door and took a stool inside with him while his grandmother was trying on clothes in the next changing room.
"She calls out for my son so he responds to her. He’s in the next dressing room but she doesn’t know that," Gonzalez told InsideEdition.com. "She looks underneath the dressing room to see if she sees his feet but she doesn’t see his feet so she thinks he’s wandered off from her."
Gonzalez's mother went searching for Ryu for almost 20 minutes but could not find the boy. After checking for him outside the store, she returned inside and saw him being carried out of the fitting room.
"They tried CPR and resuscitating him. He was hanging for about 18 minutes. While she was looking for him is while he was in there," said Gonzalez.
Ryu was transferred to hospital and later died.
Police have called it an accident.
Gonzalez said she doesn't blame her mom for what happened.
"She’s always been careful and cautious with them so for this to happen is just unbelievable. It’s nobody’s fault. He was playing. He was being a kid," Gonzalez said.
The family started a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses. The fund had raised almost double what the family had been asking for to pay costs.
A mass will be held for Ryu on Thursday.
"He was a very charismatic little boy who won over everyone's hearts with his big smile and bright shiny eyes," she said.