Ky. authorities investigate boy's elevator death

Kentucky officials were investigating what
happened to an 8-year-old boy who was found with his head pinned in
a church elevator as his family was cleaning up after his
grandmother's wedding reception.

The elevator was locked and placed out of service after a state
inspection, Kentucky State Police said. The church's pastor, the
Rev. Nate Harper, said he found the body of the boy, identified by
authorities as Zachary Waddell, on Saturday.

The Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction,
which oversees elevator inspections, has no documentation of an
elevator at the church, said Dick Brown, spokesman for the state
Public Protection Cabinet.

Union County Coroner Stephen Shouse said the boy died as a
result of compression asphyxia, meaning he couldn't breathe after
the elevator came down on him.

He was found with his head pinned between the walls of the
elevator and the shaft and his body was outside the elevator car,
Shouse said. He said the elevator was purchased in 1963 and is
similar to a freight elevator.

State police said Sunday no foul play was suspected.

State police spokesman Sgt. David Jude in Frankfort said Tuesday
that it was too soon to say whether any criminal charges are

"We're still trying to piece all of this together," Jude said.

Harper told the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press that the
discovery was the "worst thing" he's ever experienced.

"It was really hard for us, but more than anything else our
hearts go out to that family," he told the newspaper. He also said
he did not know a lot about the elevator, but that church officials
believe it was up to standards.

"There's a family that needs prayer," Harper told the AP
Monday. "They've suffered a great tragedy."

Zachary attended Sturgis Elementary School and enjoyed fishing,
hunting, football and riding horses and four-wheelers, according to
Whitsell Funeral Home in Sturgis, where his funeral is planned

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