Brian Flom is torn between grief and anger. His 12-year-old son, Cody, died on Friday night, after going on a hike in 110-degree weather. And the circumstances surrounding Cody's death leave Brian with lots of questions.
"I have real questions about what happened on the hill," said Flom. "Why? How could you leave him out there to cook?"
The only person who knows the answers is the new boyfriend of Flom's ex-wife. Police have not yet identified him, but according to Flom, the new boyfriend is the man who took Cody hiking in the sweltering heat. The boy was staying with his mother on the day of the hike and Flom says he would never have approved of a hike in Friday's heat.
"I believe this is a negligent homicide caused by incredibly poor judgment and that's the way it needs to be looked at," said Flom.
Phoenix police are investigating the death, as they do every unattended death or those that occur outside of medical care. But 3TV has learned that a detective from the violent crimes bureau is in charge of the case.
According to the few details police have released, Cody and his mother's boyfriend went hiking between 3 and 5 p.m. on Friday in a mountain preserve in north Phoenix. At some point in the afternoon, Cody became ill. The boyfriend told police he was unable to make a cell phone call for help, so he left Cody on the trail and went for help.
Firefighters arrived and Cody was airlifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where he died later that night.
"They were bringing in truckloads of ice to try and cool him down. His core temperature rose to 108 degrees," said Flom, who rushed to the hospital.
But Flom noticed that Cody's body was in bad shape. He says he saw bruises from the boy's neck down to his feet. And there was more.
"His left leg was fully lacerated. There were pieces of his skin missing. His hands, elbows, knees, just completely cut up," said Flom.
The state of Cody's body has caused Flom to wonder whether there is something else that happened on the trail.
"Something doesn't make sense. It will come out, I'm hoping," said Flom.
Among the questions Flom wants answered: Why didn't the boyfriend carry Cody down the trail? Why couldn't he use a cell phone to call 911? Cody had a functioning cell phone with him. Why was Cody's body in such bad shape? Where did the boyfriend go when he reached the trailhead?In the meantime, Flom is left with grief over the loss of his only son. A child he describes as funny, polite, a math whiz and a dedicated Boy Scout.
"I'm just going to miss my best friend. The world was a better place with him in it," said Flom.
Brian Flom has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for Cody's funeral expenses. You can find it here.
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