Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Another Coat Hook Death

In 2010, I wrote of the mysterious series of deaths of young children, all killed in similar ways via hangings from hooks. The deaths often occurred due to coat hooks, sometimes in closets, sometimes in bathrooms. That essay appeared on January 24, 2010, under "The Peter Pan/Hook Deaths." I followed this on February 27, 2014, with "New Hook Death." Below are some other writings on the overlap with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

Now there's been a new, as CNN called it, "unspeakable tragedy that happened in the most mundane of places -- a thrift store dressing room."

On Saturday the 18th of March, after St. Patrick's Day, 2017, Ryu Pena, 4, was found hanged to death in a dressing room of the Again Thrift and More store in Mankato, Minnesota. 

Ryu had been with his grandmother, who was shopping in the store. She lost track of him. He was literally a "lost boy."

Police and parents told the media that they think Ryu "went into an empty changing room....apparently closed the door, climbed on a bench and got the hoodie he was wearing caught on a coat hook."

It is the same scenario we have heard before.

The meaning of the name Ryu is Dragon. The origin of the name Ryu is Japanese.

Peña or de la Peña is a Spanish habitation surname. The origin of the surname can be traced directly to the Middle Ages. The earliest public record of the surname dates to the 13th century in the Valley de Mena (Burgos) in the Kingdom of Castile. It is a topographic name for someone who lived near a crag or cliff.

"We believe that he got himself caught up on a coat hook within that dressing room area and couldn't free himself from it," Commander Jeremy Clifton with Mankato Public Safety told CNN affiliate WCCO.
Ryu's mom, Denise Gonzalez, said her son lost his life simply playing.
"That's the only way I can describe it. He was playing because he's very curious, adventurous, and it all just happened so quickly," she told WCCO.
"He was such a daredevil."
On December 26, 1862, the largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, 38 Native Americans died. It was more specifically, a mass execution of 38 Dakota at the end of the 1862 Dakota War. Let me say that again. A mass hanging.

While it may or may not be true that the city was intended to be called Mahkato, the Dakota called the river Makato Osa Watapa (meaning "the river where blue earth is gathered"). The Anglo settlers adapted that as the Blue Earth River. Source.

The list of "hook deaths" grows longer, as shown here, chronologically, which I first began gathering in 2010. There probably are many more. Of the known named children, the some of the first names are relatively unusual - e.g. Ryu, Montana, Aquan, Imhotep. Yes, Imhotep.

1. Ethan Rider, 11 or 12. A sixth grader from St. Jean Vianney Catholic School in East Baton Rouge Parish. The student, Ethan Rider, was found unconscious in a bathroom at the school on Thursday [Feb 20, 2014] and taken to a local hospital, and died early Saturday [Feb 22, 2014] morning.
2. Montana Lance, 9 - Stewart's Creek Elementary School, The Colony, Texas; January 21, 2010; allegedly hanged himself in bathroom; deceased.
3. Unnamed youth ~ Kanpur (old English Cawnpore), India; February 20, 2009; hanged from the hook of the toilet in a train; deceased.
4. Unnamed girl ~ South Side Chicago, Illinois; February 20, 2009; hanged on a clothes hook in home closet; deceased.
5. Unnamed boy ~ Chatham, Illinois; February 4, 2009; hanged by hook; deceased.
6. Aquan Lewis ~ Evanston, Illinois; February 3, 2009; hanged on a school bathroom hook; deceased.
7. Tevin Park-Flowers (a twin) ~ Austin, Texas; January 30, 2008; hanged by a hook in a gymnasium bathroom; pants were down at his ankles; deceased.
8. Unnamed boy ~ New Bedford, Massachusetts; January 30, 2008; found alive, hanging on a hook in a children's room of the New Bedford Public Library; man arrested, charged with child molestation and rape.
9. Unnamed child ~ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; April 27, 2005; near death, found hanging on a hook in a school coatroom closet.
10. Imhotep Lubin ~ Brooklyn, New York; 2004; found alive hanging by his belt from a hook in a school closet; teacher arrested.
11. Unnamed child ~ Chatham, Ontario; 1998; hanged from a hook in school bathroom; deceased.

12. Morgane, 3 ~ Brussels, Belgium; June 1994; hanged from a coat hook in a school restroom.

h/t Robert Schneck

13. Jesus Martinez, 9 ~ Chicago, Illinois; November 13, 1967; hanged from a coat hook in a school coatroom.

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