LOCKHART,Texas (KXAN) — Four months after Elijah Hernandez died while wrestling a friend, his family says they’re not getting adequate answers on his death.
The 17-year-old’s mother, Kamecca Bolton, said she is frustrated that she doesn’t know exactly how her son died.
“He was wresting with a friend and something happened at the point where his body went limp, we don’t know if he was paralyzed, if his neck got broke, we have no answers at this point,” explained Bolton. “We don’t know anything as to why my son is not here.”
Hernandez and five other classmates from Hays High School were at a friends house on Oct. 4 around 1:27 a.m. Sunday. That’s when Hernandez, who also went by “Eli,” and another 17-year-old were wrestling and at one point Hernandez was put in a choke hold and flipped over.
Hernandez, a high school senior, stopped breathing.
“The one thing we know is he was fine having pizza and watching TV and being with his friends and then the next thing form our understanding he was wrestling with his friend and I have a dead child, that’s pretty much the extent,” said Bolton.
An autopsy report rules his death as undetermined and a toxicology report came back clean showing only traces of caffeine in Hernadez’s system.
“We have a healthy autopsy, we have a healthy toxicology, no drugs, no alcohol nothing but caffeine,” said Bolton. “I’m very discouraged that with an inconclusive autopsy that’s supposed to be the end of it for us, I’m not comfortable with that, I’m not going to settle for that.”
Bolton and her daughter, Taylor Beach, accuse the San Marcos Police Department of dropping the ball in Hernandez’s death investigation. They claim detectives didn’t collect enough evidence the night of her son’s death and were quick to rule it an accident.
“The young people were not questioned immediately that night,” said Bolton. “As far as getting testimony of what happened and witnesses that night that were there, that was not performed doesn’t seem like there was a huge search.”
Bolton and her daughter, Taylor Beach, believe one of the students recorded the moments during and after the chock hold on a cell phone, and posted it to SnapChat before later deleting it.
“Multiple children saw it and they haven’t been interviewed as to what they saw,” said Bolton in regards to what she’s heard.
But, there’s no proof the video ever existed. The family also questions why other teens who were at the house that were not drug tested.
“It was supposed to be a crime scene because someone died on site, if it’s a crime scene you do questioning , look for evidence. pick up phones,” said Bolton. “You have five other people there that are still living, take up the phones.”
KXAN News reached out to the San Marcos Police Department, which said the details of the investigation are now in the hands of the Hays County Criminal District Attorney.
“I know if this was my son, I would probably feel exactly the same way they do and I would want to turn over every stone to figure out what happened and understand why this occurred but as a district attorney I’m unfortunately not able to give them those answers,” said Wes Mau Criminal District Attorney.
Mau said from the evidence detectives collected, it doesn’t appear the other teen had a motive or intent to kill Hernandez.
“There’s no evidence here that what the other teen did caused Elijah’s death in anyway other than a tragic accident,” said Mau.
Investigators believe Hernandez may have had an underlying medical issue, but Bolton said she has her son’s records and dispels any medical issues. Her family has paid for genetic testing, which would determine if there was a medical problem.
“If I want to know what killed my son, I have to do the leg work because we’re not getting any answers from our local law enforcement, from the corners office, from our DA these are people we look to for help and with such a tragic situation and the severe and extreme loss that we’re experiencing, we’re having to do all the work ourselves and it’s sad that is really sad,” said Bolton.
She also questions why an X-Ray was not taken of her son’s neck during the autopsy. KXAN asked the medical examiner about their policies and procedures during an exam, but the office declined to comment. Mau said typically in a situation like this, an X-ray is not needed because bones are actually removed and examined.
“The medical examiner’s report was unable to determine any injury that would have accounted for Elijah’s death,” explained Mau. “In the absence of two things ,one the mechanism of injury that we could attribute to somebody and two, no criminal intent there’s really not much we can do in terms of criminal prosecution.”
“My thing is, if I have to miss him for the rest of my life I want to know why,” said Beach in regards to her brother.
The family said it’s looking into filing a civil suit against the teen who put Hernandez in a choke hold.
“Accidental or not, somebody still died in your arms,” said Beach.