A 3-year-old died last week at a Tim Hortons in Rochester, New York, after falling into the restaurant’s grease trap.
Tenitia Cullum, victim Bryce Raynor’s mother, was an employee at the business and had brought her son to work Monday for lack of a babysitter, according to WROC-TV.
“She was working her shift, and like most parents at one time or another, including myself, apparently had no one to watch her child,” Rochester Police Department Investigator Frank Camp wrote in a press release.
“This was a sad, terrible tragedy that happened in seconds,” he added.
RPD had been called to the scene early Monday morning when Cullum reported her son missing.
She told authorities and reporters that her son had followed her outside of the restaurant to help dispose of trash when he moved out of Cullum’s line of sight.
“I turned back around to grab the other boxes, and when I turned back around, I didn’t see him,” she said.
It was not until authorities arrived at 11 a.m. that it was determined Raynor had stepped on the “unsecured” lid covering the restaurant’s grease trap.
Trapped below, the boy suffocated.
According to Cullum, she had expected nothing but a “normal day.” She had brought her son to work on other occasions, and he had never gotten himself into any trouble while there.
“It was a normal day,” Cullum told WROC, “Babysitting arrangements got tangled up at the last minute, so I just took him with me.”
“This wasn’t the first time that he’s went with me to work,” she said.
Cullum also told WROC that she hopes all who mourn the tragic death will keep Bryce’s “happiness” always in mind.
“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.
According to Spectrum News, New York General Assembly members Harry Bronson and Jamie Romeo have introduced a public health amendment to require that grease traps be made of strong materials and that they be secured with warning signs and locking mechanisms.
The bill, being referred to as the “Sadie Grace Andrews Act” after another 3-year-old who died similarly in 2017, would also require an annual compliance inspection.
No charges were being filed against Cullum in regard to her son’s death.
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