PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A heartbroken family wants answers after a 9-year-old boy was killed and his 13-year-old cousin was injured after a balcony gave way in Perth Amboy.
At around 5 p.m. Thursday, 9-year-old Dariel Sosa and his cousin, 13-year-old Jason Huerta were playing on the second floor balcony of a home on Brighton Street when the railing gave way.
The boys fell nearly 13 feet and neighbors ran to their aid, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
“When you see something like that it’s frustrating,” said neighbor Aristne Estevez. “Because you can’t do anything?” asked Doris. “Yeah,” said Estevez.
Family and neighbors told CBS2’s Meg Baker, the cousins were also best friends and were usually seen playing basketball out back. For some reason they were fooling around on the balcony, and the family’s whole world came crashing down.
“They were inseparable,” said family member Raquel Fernandez.
Huerta was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and is listed in stable condition.
Rademes Arroyo and his son Noah placed flowers at a memorial outside of Sosa’s home on Brighton Ave.
“Pay our respects. i know how it would feel. I have a baby,” he said.
The boy’s grandmother held a towel to her face to soak up the stream of tears. She said she was in the kitchen when they ran out without permission.
Fernandez came back from the hospital and said Jason did not suffer any internal injuries.
“He said they were just playing around and leaned against the fence and it broke,” she said.
At the scene, investigators examined the railing that toppled over and examined the balcony to collect evidence, trying to determine why this happened.
What they have determined is that it was an unfortunate accident and that adults were home at the time.
“It doesn’t appear that there was any neglect on the parents fault,” said Perth Amboy Police Chief Roman McKeon. “The parents are good parents. They didn’t do anything wrong.”
The family believes the tragedy could have been avoided with better upkeep from their landlord, Doris reported.
“He knew there were kids there and they were playing there all the time – he should have fixed that,” said Fernandez. “If he would have fixed that in time it probably would have never happened.”
Some neighbors say the landlord of the property has allowed buildings to fall into disrepair. The Middlesex County prosecutor is focusing their investigation on the structure and its maintenance.
Investigators have interviewed the owner of the building and Doris said she spoke to the director of code enforcement who is on site examining the structure. He said the department does not expect to issue any summonses.