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Police identify boy who died in snow pile

Police identify boy who died in snow pile

Second boy survived more than three hours buried in snow
Police identify boy who died in snow pile
The snow pile where two boys were buried in Greenwich Tuesday, seen Dec. 14, 2016.
Photographer: Cady Kuzmich

GREENWICH — Police have identified the boy who died Tuesday night after being buried in a snowbank in a lot off Rock Street.

Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said Wednesday, during a press conference, that Joshua J. Demarest, 13, and a seventh-grade student at Greenwich Central School, was pronounced dead at around 10 p.m. Tuesday, after he and a friend were dug out of the snow pile.

josh 2016 smaller (2).jpg

Bell said police began searching for the two boys after an older sister of one of the boys reported that they had not returned before dark, as was typical, and she was concerned.

Police found footprints leading to the lot, which is used by the village to dump snow after storm cleanups. The village does not own the lot, Bell said. Police dogs were brought to the lot and one of them alerted rescuers to the snow pile, Bell said.

That's when rescuers began digging.

"I bet they moved seven ton of snow, easily, out of that pile by hand, shovel, snow rakes -- I can't even tell you what they used ... to recover those two boys," he said.

Demarest was recovered from the pile at around 7:15 p.m., and rescuers began CPR. He was taken to Saratoga Hospital.

The second boy, Tyler J. Day, 12, and also a seventh-grader at Greenwich Central, was found a few minutes later, Bell said. He started yelling and talking to his rescuers as they freed him from the pile, and he was also taken to Saratoga Hospital, Bell said.

Demarest's mother was in New Jersey at the time of the accident to deal with funeral arrangements for Josh Demarest's grandmother, who died at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Bell said.

"Our hearts go out to that family ... it's just a tragic day all around," he said.

Day was treated for hypothermia and was home and resting Wednesday morning.

"In talking with Tyler last night in the emergency room ... it's a true tragedy, it's an accident ... and exactly what happened, I don't think we'll ever know, but Tyler states that him and his friend went into this area, they dug holes into the snowbanks and ... made what they call forts in there," Bell said.

The boys heard trucks coming, and Tyler said he heard beeping sounds before everything went black, Bell said.

Authorities believe the last truck to dump snow in the lot was there at around 3:30 p.m. That would mean the boys were stuck in the snow pile for more than three hours, Bell said.

The Greenwich Board of Education posted a statement addressing the school community on the district's website Wednesday.

"As parents and educators, we so often say: 'Go outside. Be kids. Play and explore. Do something... anything. Please,'" the statement reads. "We never expect it to end tragically under a pile of snow or beneath the weight of a rock on a hiking trail, but twice in the last nine months this is what our school and community (the 7th grade class in particular) has had to endure."

In March, Connor McLaughlin, 12, of Greenwich, was struck and killed by a falling boulder while hiking with his uncle at Roaring Brook Falls in the Adirondacks.

"The coming days and weeks will undoubtedly be difficult," the statement continues. "Students will need shoulders to cry on, and so will you. Please know you have our full support in whatever you need."

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