Boy, 3, dies after falling into grease trap at N.Y. fast food restaurant

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC/CNN) - A New York mother is mourning the death of her 3-year-old son after the boy fell into a grease trap and suffocated at a Tim Hortons restaurant.

Mother Tenitia Cullum, who works at a Tim Hortons in Rochester, N.Y., says she took her 3-year-old son, Bryce Raynor, to work with her last Monday after babysitting arrangements fell through.

“This wasn’t the first time he has come with me to work, and it was fine the first time, so I brought him,” she said.

But just a few hours into the day, Cullum couldn’t find the 3-year-old and reported him missing.

“I turned back around to grab the other boxes, and when I turned back around, I didn’t see him,” the mother said.

Police responded around 11 a.m.

A witness discovered Bryce in the grease trap, located in an open area in the back of the restaurant, and attempted to give him CPR at the scene. The little boy was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say the lid to the grease trap’s tank was made of plastic and left unsecured over the 2 to 3-foot diameter of the trap. They believe Bryce stepped on the unsecured lid, causing it to open up and trap him below.

Cullum says she wants people to remember her son for his happiness.

“He knew what he wanted - very bubbly, very loving, very forgiving, very active. He was just a very bubbly spirit, a very loving spirit,” Cullum said.

Police announced last Tuesday that no charges would be filed against the mother in connection to the incident.

“She was working her shift and, like most parents at one time or another, including myself, apparently had no one to watch her child,” said Investigator Frank Camp with the Rochester Police Department. “This was a sad, terrible tragedy that happened in seconds.”

In the wake of Bryce’s death, two members of the New York State Assembly submitted new legislation regarding the safety of grease traps, including calls for stronger trap materials, a securing mechanism and annual inspections.

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