Coroner: San Ramon Valley H.S. student death was accidental, not suicide

- The Contra Costa County Coroner has concluded that the drowning death of 15-year-old freshman Benjamin Curry in the San Ramon Valley High School swimming pool last month was an accident during swim class.

The coroner also concluded there was no evidence the death was a suicide, as some students had speculated at the time.

That speculation of suicide appeared in some news accounts including on KTVU.

That has Curry's parents upset, says their attorney.

"It just makes it doubly worse. They've been in pain over the death of their son. And there's this pain over the narrative that he killed himself," says attorney Andy Schwartz.

The attorney says the family blames the school district for not correcting the mistaken reports of suicide.

"They let it sit out on the public for everyone to believe that this poor young man committed suicide. And when certain facts contradicted that narrative they never changed it," said Schwartz.

The coroner's report also says Danville police reviewed surveillance video of the pool. It shows Curry submerged as the rest of the class leaves the pool. 

But the report continues "based on camera angles, it was unclear if [Curry] left the pool with the other students or if he remained in the pool...under the surface of the water, or if he surfaced in another area of the pool." 

Curry was discovered an hour later by the next class.

"There was a lack of supervision in the swim class. That allowed their son to pass. That shouldn't have happened," said Schwartz.

The coroner did find therapeutic traces of anti-depressant medication in Curry's system.

"Although [Curry] suffered from depression, there is no indication he Intended to harm himself."

The report does not say what caused the drowning.    

"We are going to do our own investigation. That's for sure," said Schwartz.

The district says it won't comment on the criticism while the Danville Police Department is still investigating.

That investigation is expected to wrap up perhaps by the end of this week.
    

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