Claremont Chief: Police investigating 'incident' that left boy with rope burns on neck
Written by Laura Montenegro on .
CLAREMONT — An 8-year-old Claremont boy had to be flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center after an older teenage boy allegedly hung him from a tree by a rope placed around his neck, according to a Facebook post by the boy’s mother.
Cassandra Merlin posted a photo of her son’s injuries with the caption, “So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14 year old kid decided to hang him from a tree. I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little sh** teenage kids.” (sic)
Merlin’s brother and the boy’s uncle also posted to Facebook with a photo of the boy’s injuries.
Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase would not comment on the specifics of the case, only that they were still investigating an incident that happened last Monday.
Chase said the fact that the people involved are juveniles prohibits him from confirming any facts or talking specifically about the incident.
He continued by saying when adults are accused of a crime and are convicted in the court system, the next steps typically involve some sort of punishment. This is not the case in the juvenile justice system, which is focused more on rehabilitation and correcting behavior.
“These people need to be protected,” Chase said.
According to New Hampshire state law, “All case records, as defined in RSA 170-G:8-a, relative to delinquency, shall be confidential.”
Chase did confirm the youngest person involved was 8-years-old and the oldest were teenagers but beyond that would not give more specific details about ages or identities.
The way the public receives their information has dramatically changed since the invention of social media.
Chase said in a juvenile investigation 15 years ago, he would simply respond, “no comment” and that would be the end of it. Unfortunately now with social media, the public is looking to blast someone, often without knowing the details of the case, or basing their conclusion on misinformation.
When asked if this means that no other information will be released about this investigation, Chase said “that would be accurate.”
As for the rumors the incident was racially motivated, again Chase couldn't comment on this specific case but said, as with any report of a bias-motivated crime, the Claremont Police Department will investigate.
Many on social media were quick to call the incident a hate crime, but even the boy's uncle wrote in a post that they aren't sure.
Chase said if the investigation did not involve juveniles, he would be more open to speak about the case.
“We don’t want things to follow kids throughout their life,” he said.