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911 dispatcher put on administrative leave after teen in Ohio dies in back of minivan after calling for help

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Elizabeth Elizalde
New York Daily News

A 911 dispatcher was put on administrative leave after an Ohio teen was mysteriously found dead in his van after calling the cops twice pleading for help, authorities said Thursday.

A terrified 16-year-old Kyle Plush called 911 at about 3:14 p.m., saying he was stuck in his van that was parked in the Seven Hills School parking lot, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said at a press conference.

“Help, help, help,” the desperate teen told the first 911 operator, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m in desperate need of help!”

The operator couldn’t understand the teen who said he was at “Seven Hills.”

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” Kyle pleaded in a second 911 call, adding that he was in a Honda Odyssey in his school’s parking lot.

Cincinnati police officers arrived at the scene after the calls were made but couldn’t find the van.

“On that second 911 call something has gone terribly wrong” Isaac said. “This young man was crying out for help. We weren’t able to get that information to the officers on the scene. We need to find out why.”

The second dispatcher, who the chief identified as Amber Smith, was put on administrative leave amid the department’s investigation. Isaac indicated it could’ve been an equipment issue or human error.

“This was a horrific tragedy,” Isaac said. We share in the heartbreak around this.”

A classmate contacted Kyle’s family at about 8 p.m. saying he saw Kyle heading to the van in the school’s parking lot and that he failed to show up to a scheduled tennis match.

A family member found the teen dead in the car, which was unlocked, an hour later, police said.

Kyle’s autopsy report says he died from asphyxia due to chest compression.

No foul play was suspected in his death, according to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office. It wasn’t clear what caused the teen’s death.

A law enforcement source told the Cincinnati Enquirer Kyle died while trying to get his tennis equipment from the back of the van and was pinned under the back seat.

“This matter is very disturbing,” City Manager Harry Black, who runs the 911 call center, told the newspaper. “If there are deficiencies on the part of the 911 center operations, my mandate is to fix whatever needs to be fixed.”

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