Ambulance called for boy before he died

By Lin Ferguson

St John Ambulance answered a 111 call to the home of a 9-year-old Raetihi boy just hours before he was found dead at 6am on December 7.

St John confirmed an ambulance attended the call to the Duncan St house at 10pm on December 6. They were there for about half an hour.

On Monday, police investigating the death of Antony Herewini-Christiansen said they were treating the death as suspicious after traces of a prescription medicine were found in his system.

Relatives of Antony say he complained of a stomach ache the night before he died.

St John Central Region regional operations manager Grant Pennycook said St John "can confirm that it received and attended to a 111 call at 20A Duncan St in Raetihi at 10pm on December 6."

However he could not give any other information including who made the 111 call or details of the callout.

"St John is unable to comment further ... as this incident is currently under investigation by the police."

A great uncle of Antony, Duncan Metekingi, who lives close by in Duncan St, told the Chronicle an ambulance crew visited the home because Antony had complained of a sore stomach.

"The ambulance was there at 10pm that night and after examining him the crew said Antony was fine and they left about 10.30pm," he said.

Mr Metekingi was not in the house when St John was there but had been given details by relatives.

A 15-year-old cousin of Antony, Taiko Cribb said he had gone over to see Antony that night.

"We were just watching TV. The ambulance people said he was okay. Antony just had a sore stomach ... I only stayed a bit longer then I went home," he said.

Mr Metekingi told the Chronicle it had been difficult in the days since Antony's sudden death. Mr Metekingi lives one house over from 20A at No16 Duncan St. He said the numbers got out of sync when they built the row of Housing Corporation houses. "That's where Antony lived with his mum, his little brother and two older sisters."

The small two bedroom house was closed up and blessed by a local kaumatua after Antony's mother Claudia Herewini was hospitalised after the funeral, he said.

The funeral was held at the Te Puke Marae on December 11.

"But we really need to know what actually happened. You know this waiting, waiting, waiting is no good for anyone. The whole whanau are just hanging around all day out in the street here waiting to hear something.

"The police have been around so many times and asked us questions, they were even back again this morning."

Antony's mother was expected to return home on Friday, Mr Metekingi said.

"She has been assessed and they say she can come back."

Claudia Herewini's brother Clayton Herewini said he found it "unreal" that his nephew had died.

"I keep thinking he's still here ... you know kids shouldn't die, it's not the way."

On Monday Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Borrell said test results on Antony "were only the initial findings." He said the police were not able to ascertain a cause of death until they had final test results.

Fourteen police staff are working on the investigation into the death.

Antony was a pupil of Raetihi Primary School.

Principal Kawana Wallace said yesterday the sooner the police investigation found the answer to the sudden death, "then the people of the Raetihi would be able to grieve properly".

He said the Ministry of Education had sent a crisis team "within hours" to talk to the children and staff after Antony's death.

"Even though children are very resilient this has been very hard for all of us. This is a small village and everyone is feeling it and talking about Antony and why he died. We all need to know what actually happened and the sooner the better. It's very, very sad."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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