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Death of teen killed in minibike crash ruled accident by coroner’s office

The Clark County coroner’s office ruled that the death of a teenager killed in a minibike crash in a Las Vegas Wash trail last summer was the result of an accident, although a police investigation was ongoing.

The family of 16-year-old Angel Naranjo had alleged foul play and disputed an initial Metropolitan Police Department assessment that described the boy’s July 30 death as an accident, even as homicide detectives were probing its suspicious nature.

On Thursday, a police spokesperson said the case remained open, but added that: “At this time, there is no evidence that indicates the death was the result of a homicide,” he wrote in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Angel’s father, Rudolfo Naranjo, and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Police said in August that Angel was riding a minibike when he struck a cable attached to a fence pole and stretched across the paved trail near East Lake Mead Boulevard and Pecos Road.

Angel’s adult brother was riding his own minibike right behind the victim when the crash happened, police said.

Angel rode over the cable, which appeared to have kicked up and hit him in the neck, said police, adding that “the cable was slack and resting on the ground. It was not strung taut across the pathway.”

Angel’s family had maintained that the cable had been placed there intentionally, and took issue with statements from police that said his death appeared to be an accident.

“The cable was strung all the way across,” Rudolfo Naranjo told the Review-Journal on Aug. 7. “I arrived before the cops did. The kids had already taken it down so nobody else would hit it. I’m saying it was no accident.”

The boy died from blunt force injuries to his head and neck, according to the coroner’s office, which ruled the death an accident on Feb. 9.

Clark County had not released a copy of the boy’s autopsy as of Friday.

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill told the Review-Journal in September that the DNA of two profiles had been pulled from the cable, but that they needed to eliminate one of them to put it in a system that evaluates the specimens.

McMahill said his department could’ve done a better job communicating their initial findings, and acknowledged that the cable should not have been placed across the pavement.

“I think we just didn’t do a great job of explaining it because it had to be explained to me, quite frankly, several times after we explained it,” McMahill said. “It’s not a normal type situation that you see out there.”

The sheriff said in September that the coroner’s office findings would be instructive to the police investigation.

“I think we’ll get to a conclusion here,” McMahill said. “Will anybody be happy? I don’t think so, because when you lose a child, nobody’s happy about it.”

Review-Journal reporter David Wilson contributed to this report.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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