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Hobart drownings investigation continues

Updated: July 27, 2014 8:24AM



HOBART — Police Chief Richard Zormier said he will likely reveal some details Thursday resulting from the police investigation into the drowning deaths of two Gary brothers in a Hobart pond two weeks ago.

But he said the investigation isn’t over yet.

“The investigation isn’t complete and the boys deserve a complete investigation,” Zormier said Wednesday.

He said he will give some details and will answer what he can. He said it’s too early to say if the department will seek any criminal charges against anyone.

Terrion Smith, 8, and Donel Smith, 9, drowned June 14 in a water-filled pit at 4060 Missouri St. in the west side neighborhood. The younger brother slipped into the water and Donel drowned while trying to save him, according to a family acquaintance.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said last week the police investigation should disclose whether anything was done illegally regarding the pit itself.

Randy Goldschmidt, a Hobart contractor who did excavation work at the site, last year applied for and received fill permits to improve two other lots on Missouri Street. But city officials said no permits were taken out for the lot where the pit was dug.

Officials have said Goldschmidt, who owns the property, had approached the city about possibly putting a fishing pond on the site, but decided not to pursue it. He never applied for a permit or to be on a plan commission agenda, as required for a fishing pond.

According to the city ordinance on excavating, it’s unlawful for anyone to excavate sand, black dirt, gravel or other materials on or from any city property without obtaining a permit.

The ordinance also states that the application shall be referred to the city’s engineer, who would make sure the excavation wouldn’t damage adjacent land, lower the value of surrounding property or impair the safety, health or general welfare of the public.

Funeral services for the boys will be 11 a.m. July 5 at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 2307 Rhode Island St., Gary.

A number of local law enforcement agencies will attend and serve as escorts in the funeral procession in support of the Smith family. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will speak during the funeral service, according to a release distributed by the funeral home.



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