Carson Crimeni’s sister Bella Griffiths wiped away tears after speaking at Carson’s celebration of life on Thursday. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

Year in Review: Carson Crimeni’s tragic death and community’s response most impactful story of 2019

The investigation into the teen’s death is expected to continue into 2020

The family of Carson Crimeni is waiting at the end of 2019 – waiting to hear if there are criminal charges laid in the young boy’s death, and waiting to find out what legacy he will have in Langley.

On Aug. 7, 14-year-old Carson Crimeni was found in severe medical distress near a park and sports fields adjacent to Walnut Grove Secondary and the Walnut Grove Recreation Centre.

Despite attempts by police, firefighters, and BC Ambulance paramedics to save him, he died later that night in hospital.

It is thought that a drug overdose killed Carson. Public outrage was sparked by the fact that videos posted online earlier that day.

The disturbing video clips show the teen barely able to stand or speak at the Walnut Grove skate park that evening.

Several of the videos show Carson consuming drugs, encouraged by others.

Vancouver criminal lawyer Kyla Lee told the Langley Advance Times in August that those encouraging Carson to consume the drugs could face charges.

“I see people who are exposing themselves to charges of criminal negligence causing death,” Lee said.

“He didn’t even know his own name,” Lee said. “It’s absolutely shocking.”

Although the Advance Times has not identified any of the people involved, the videos circulated widely, and some online messages made direct threats against the people thought to be behind the videos.

Fury at the older teens and demands for justice have been common on social media. An online petition calling for Justice for Carson Crimeni has more than 57,000 signatures.

The Langley RCMP is investigating, but no charges have been laid yet.

Police spoke to a large number of people, according to Carson’s grandfather, Darrel Crimeni. There were 140 interviews done by police, and up to 30 young people were thought to be at the skate park during the time the videos were made.

“Which was rather depressing,” Darrell noted.

Anger turned to public mourning in memorials to Carson, including a massive collection of flowers and stuffed animals laid out at the skate park after the teen’s death. Messages were written in chalk and spray painted on the park’s concrete paths and in the ramps.

At his funeral in late August, it was Carson’s sense of humour and infectious energy that was mentioned by almost every speaker.

“He wanted nothing more than to be a good friend to people, and to have that friendship returned,” said Carson’s dad, Aron Crimeni.

He loved hockey and video games, wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up, and cooked elaborate meals for his father and other family members.

Although Carson’s death was public, it’s uncertain how many people might be charged, or with what crimes.

Some more information about the case has been released as the year has moved on, including a report by the Independent Investigations Office, which looks into all deaths related to the RCMP in B.C.

The IIO report found that the first officers who attempted to find Carson at the skate park at 8:25 p.m. had not been negligent. They had spent about 20 minutes searching the area and speaking to people in search of the boy after a 9-1-1 call related to the earliest posted videos online.

Unfortunatley, the report noted, the first officers had no way of knowing their information was hours out of date, and that Carson had left the area of the skate park.

As the family waits for more official action, memorials continue.

One of Carson’s hockey jerseys is being mounted at the Walnut Grove Sportsplex by Langley Minor Hockey, said Darrell.

He’s also hoping that the skate park will be re-named after his grandson in the new year.

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Walnut Grove skate park became a temporary memorial to Carson Crimeni after the teen died. Now. a local dad would like to make that permanent by renaming having the park. (File)

Hundreds gathered for a vigil at the Walnut Grove Community Park on Aug. 4, 2019, for Carson Crimeni, 14, who died of an apparent overdose. (Shane McKichan/Special to Black Press Media)

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