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Family raises questions about Brooklyn boy, 14, who 'snapped his neck' and died in park

Ivan Cruz
Ivan Cruz family
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-27 17:15:21-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — The grandmother and sister of a Brooklyn boy who died in a Williamsburg park Wednesday want to know the truth about the minutes leading up to his death.

They told PIX11 News that a Good Samaritan found Ivan Cruz, 14, unresponsive and surrounded by a group of boys in P.S. 16 Park on Wednesday, shortly after 6:30 p.m.

A call had gone out to 911.

“The caller said he was standing on monkey bars and he jumped or fell,” Alizabeth Cruz, 19, said about the first call made to ask for an ambulance.

But the family said a couple of adult witnesses saw the teen followed by a group of boys from the Bedford Avenue bus stop into the park.

“The lady saw one of the boys pushing him and then when he tried to hold the pole... they said he hit his head.”

But the medical examiner told the family Friday Ivan Cruz didn’t have any head injuries.

“His neck was broken,” Alizabeth Cruz told PIX11 News. “We don’t really know what happened.”

The teen’s grandmother, Luisa Rivera, started sobbing and quoted what the medical examiner said next.

“She said, ‘Go back to the police. Go back to the police.’”

Luisa Rivera, who was raising her grandson, is also a foster mother to other children; they all just went through a difficult quarantine in their Williamsburg apartment.

Cruz’s sister said her younger brother had been getting harassed the last two years at Middle School 126.

“We’d been getting calls from teachers saying he was getting bullied,” Alizabeth Cruz said.

The grandmother said at one point, her grandson got suspended for trying to defend himself.

“I just want to clarify what happened,” the sobbing grandmother said Friday night from her apartment. “I’m not interested in money.”

The family said a detective from the 90th Precinct was assigned to look at the case, but there have been no arrests.

When PIX11 News contacted the NYPD Friday night, a department spokesman said “the medical examiner will contact us. We have no determination from the ME’s office at this time.”