November 28, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a magistrate judge's ruling that the National Park Service purposely destroyed evidence in the wrongful death case of a 9-year-old boy who was crushed by a retaining wall in Northern California was based on findings that were "patently untrue."
The Redding Record Searchlight reports Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Earlene Gordon says in documents filed Wednesday that Judge Gregory Hollows' findings were based on speculation.
Gordon says officials at Lassen Volcanic National Park never destroyed documents related to the lawsuit or obstructed an investigation into Tommy Botell's death, and allowed parts of the rock wall to remain after the incident.
Hollows ruled last month that Park Service officials intentionally demolished the wall before investigators could examine it. He recommended that the judge overseeing the case formally find the agency negligent in the boy's death.
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