In April 2022, three children died at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. This raised many questions about what happened to them.
Initial Reports of the Camp Lejeune Deaths of Three Children
According to an NBC News report, the initial investigation revealed that three children died on the Marine base in two separate and unrelated incidents on the same day, April 16, 2022. NBC said the military had not yet disclosed what caused the deaths of the children, how old they were, or their genders. The base camp officials did say that guns were not involved in the events.
The military spokesperson assured the public that there was no threat to the community at that time. The investigation was under the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) control.
The Continuing Investigation
After six weeks of NCIS investigation, the military still hadn’t provided additional information to the public about the deaths of the three children on the military base. The Military Times reported that military officials still had not revealed the cause of death of the three children.
The NCIS spokesman would not respond to questions about whether the military suspected foul play but did state the investigation was ongoing. When asked if the military had filed charges, arrested anyone, or determined a cause of death, the spokesman said they had no updates they could provide because of the ongoing investigation.
A Marine base spokesman stated they could not even provide information on the children’s identity at that point in the process. The officials repeated their earlier statement that the incidents did not threaten the community and that neither incident involved a shooting.
Updates from Non-Military Sources
The Military Times referenced non-military sources to provide details on the families involved in the deaths. According to these sources, two of the children were from one family, and the third child was from a second family. The two children from the first family were sisters, four and six years old. The deaths of those girls occurred in the home of the first family.
The third child who died that same day was a four-month-old baby boy in another family. The baby boy from the second family died in his parents’ home. One parent from the first family was in the Second Marine Division, and a parent from the second family worked at the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
According to the Armed Forces Medical Examiners System officials who spoke to reporters, the only people who can receive a copy of an autopsy report are the next of kin to the deceased.
Weighted Blankets and Asphyxiation
Finally, in December 2022, federal officials revealed the four and six-year-old sisters died from asphyxiation after getting trapped in a weighted blanket. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission warned the public about the danger of using such blankets.
In an updated report, NBC News explained that, according to the retailer Target, “ young child can become entrapped by unzipping and entering the blanket, posing a risk of death by asphyxiation.” Target issued a recall for the blankets.
More than 200,000 of the 6-pound weighted blankets, made by the Pillowfort brand, were included in the Target recall. The Pillowfort company stated they quickly removed all their weighted blankets from their items for sale. The weighted blankets were only sold at Target. The retailer sold the blankets from December 2018 to September 2022. During that time, Target received four reports that children became entrapped in the weighted blankets.
The four reports include the deaths of the two sisters at Camp Lejeune. The December 2022 NBC News report does not contain any updates on the cause of death of the four-month-old baby boy who died at Camp Lejeune on the same day as the two sisters.
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How Product Liability Works
Companies can be held liable if they make defective or dangerous products that harm consumers when used correctly or for a foreseeable purpose. It is foreseeable the two young girls, ages four and six years, could unzip and enter a blanket. In this situation, the manufacturer could have strict liability to a person harmed by the dangerous product.
Strict liability means the plaintiff does not have to prove the defendant (the blanket manufacturer) did anything negligent. The plaintiff merely must prove the product was used as intended or as reasonably foreseen and that it caused harm to the person using it.
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Suppose you or a close relative suffered injuries or died because of a defective or dangerous product. In that case, you might be eligible to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the product. You can call The Fitch Law Firm LLC today for a free consultation about your potential case. Our team is prepared to fight for you.
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