Police: Monkey Joe’s Not to Blame for Toddler’s Death

Police say Erin Washington died of natural causes

MATTHEWS, NC — Police have confirmed the three-year-old who died after going into distress at a child’s play center died of natural causes.

Erin Washington died after visiting the popular Monkey Joe’s children spot in Matthews.

The three-year-old’s sudden death raised safety concerns for parents across the metro.

“It’s a gay ole time,” said one parent, Sharon Stallings. “You’re not expecting anything tragic to happen.”

The toddler’s family was not ready to talk on camera. They took her to Monkey Joe’s Saturday when police say she went into distress and died at the hospital.

Monday, The Department of Labor says it inspected play equipment for issues.

Monkey Joe’s gave surveillance footage to police.

Investigators closed the case hours later, saying the toddler died of natural causes.

“Its just shocking actually that something like that can happen,” said Stallings.

Medic is not releasing the 911 call out of respect for the family.

The Deputy Director says the caller followed direction, but that’s not always the case.

“People have a hard time when they call us,” said Deputy Director Jeff Keith. “They can be hysterical.”

He warns people to know what to expect when calling 911 because those can be life saving seconds.

“Once we have your accurate address and phone number confirmed, that information is being shared with a dispatcher who is immediately looking at the resources and allocating those resources,” said Deputy Chief Keith. “They’re going to continue to ask you questions, though. So, please, know help is already on the way, and we want to find out what we can do to help you help that person.”

An autopsy could say what medical condition killed Erin.

The community donated nearly $8,000 dollars in one day for her funeral.

Monkey Joe’s did close down the business on Sunday after the death out of respect for the family. They were back open Monday.

The company wrote a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of a young child in our facility yesterday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with this child’s family and friends during this difficult time.”