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DA Decides Not To Charge Employees In Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Child Death

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - Almost five months after the tragic death of 6-year-old Wongel Estifanos at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, the Glenwood District Attorney says they would not be able to successfully prove charges against two employees who, according to the investigation, did not properly attach a seatbelt to the young girl.

Wongel Estifanos
(credit: Bemni Mekonnen)

9th District D. A. Jefferson Cheney wrote in a two page letter that he would be unable to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the employees in at the park committed crimes of criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter, which they believed were the most accurate description of a crime in terms of what took place.

(credit: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park)

The family of Estifanos, who fell from the park's Haunted Mine Drop ride last September, wrote the following in a statement:

Once again our daughter's life has been treated as cheap and meaningless. First by the amusement park and now by the DA.
We never wanted the people who killed our daughter to go to jail. But for the DA
to let them off with nothing says our daughter's life was worth nothing. Justice
should be equal. Our little girl should matter as much as a big corporation.
What a terrible message to send. That in Glenwood Springs someone can recklessly kill a child and not even get a ticket.
The DA tells us there wasn't even a drug test done of the operators after they killed our daughter. Why not?
The DA tells us he knows the killing of Wongel was a "gross deviation from the
standard of care", but that he can't prove which of the operators did it. That doesn't make sense to us.
We want the full truth. We want justice for our daughter. We want to protect
others. The criminal system failed our daughter. We will now go to civil court and
prove it on our own.

Wongel Estifanos
Wongel Estifanos (credit: Bemni Mekonnen)
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