BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Police say the young teen who died while while participating in an historical re-enactment at Old Fort Niagara this past weekend had been served alcohol on the night of the incident.
New York State Parks Police say 14-year-old Alexander Montgomery was last seen alive around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning when he left his bed in the North Redoubt inside Old Fort Niagara..
The teen was taking part in a War of 1812 re-enactment at Old Fort Niagara, and was staying on the Fort grounds during the encampment.
Police are not speculating how Montgomery wound up in the water, however an autopsy report confirms that the boy drown.
"I believe this was accidental. I believe the young man fell, probably struck his head and then went in the water where he subsequently drowned," said Lt. Moriarty of the NY State Parks Police.
Montgomery was reported missing Sunday morning around 8:00 a.m., and shortly after 9:00 a.m., members of the U.S. Coast Guard had located and retrieved his body, which was found just feet from the Old Fort's northern break-wall.
State Parks Police say that according to witness reports, the 14-year-old had consumed alcohol the night before he died, which was knowingly served to him by his mother and guardian. Officials are awaiting the results of a toxicology report for more details.
"This is a tragedy. A 14-year-old lost his life. There were people at that location that were responsible for his safety, and if they had adhered to common sense and the law, this probably wouldn't have happened," added Lt. Moriarty.
As a result, State Parks Police have charged the Teena's mother, 48-year-old Paula Montgomery, along with 50-year-old Peter Cooper, both of Oralia, Ontario with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class A misdemeanor, along with State Park alcoholic beverage violations.
Robert Emerson, Executive Director for the Old Fort Niagara Association says that they have staff on-hand for these events and they prohibit underage drinking. According to Emerson, on the night in question, there was one staff member on hand.
In the wake of the tragedy, Fort officials say they will examine their procedures.
"I don't foresee curtailing re-enactments but we do have to have discussions about our path forward," Emerson said.
Montgomery and Cooper at due in Town of Porter court on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.