Toddler’s Parents Criticize Response; Boy died after getting tangled in net

MURPHY, Texas — The parents of a Murphy toddler who died after getting tangled in a backyard soccer net last year say police and fire officials should have moved faster to save his life.

In October 2007, Matthew Cantrell wandered outside and strangled himself in the net after his mother fell asleep. He died at a hospital days later.

In their first television interview since the 21-month-old died, his parents criticized 911 dispatchers for taking more than two minutes to transfer Ave Cantrell’s call to an emergency medical technician.

On a recording of the 911 call, Ms. Cantrell repeatedly asks the dispatcher for instructions on how to help her child but gets no response.

“I could do CPR or something,” she says. “Please tell me what I need to do.”

Murphy police defended their response and said dispatchers are not supposed to give medical advice.

Once police did arrive, Ms. Cantrell said they put her and her other son in a bedroom while Matthew lay on a couch not breathing.

“I should have kicked the police officer out of the way to see if he was doing CPR on him,” Ms. Cantrell said. “I figured they were doing something, but then we found out they didn’t do anything.”

Officer Kevin McGee left the boy there to meet the paramedics and initially blocked them from entering the home, which he said was a “crime scene,” according to documents obtained by WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

“I advised him we needed to assess the child,” a paramedic said in a written statement. “He responded, ‘He is gone.’ I told him the paramedics were the ones that would determine if he was alive.”

Fire officials also defended their handling of the case.

“If there was something done wrong,” Chief Mark Lee said, “we would deal with that.”

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