ODESSA - A day of paying respects to lost loved ones turned into a tragedy for one family on Friday afternoon. It happened just before 1 p.m. at the Ector County Cemetery. "One of the family members, a four-year-old male, was playing around with one of the other headstones in the surrounding area," Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department said.
Somehow, the 5-foot-tall tombstone fell on top of the boy. He was taken to the Odessa Regional Medical Center where he died from his head injuries. Odessa Police are calling this an awful tragedy.
"No foul play is suspected and this is a tragic accident," LeSueur said.
This particular area of the Ector County Cemetery is the oldest part. According to Ector County officials, many factors are being considered in what might have caused the headstone to topple over.
"A lot of these tombstones date back to the 1800's, and I believe this one is 1919," Sam Brijalba, the Safety and Risk Management Coordinator for Ector County, said.
But it's not just wear and tear that is being considered. The uneven ground from recent weather might have also played a role.
"That might be a factor as far as the moisture because we've had some recent rains but I can't say that with any certainty that that was a contributing factor," Brijalba said.
Brijalba also released a statement saying, "This is the most unfortunate and tragic accident. I have very limited information at this time. We are in the preliminary stages of gathering information as to how and why this happened. We would like to express our heartfelt and sincerest condolences to all family members. This is all I have at this time."