The child fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, killing Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla. Three-year-old Isiah Gregg was seen for the first time as a normal three-year-old: holding a toy truck and wearing an orange Nintendo Super Mario T-shirt that read “I Make Awesome Happen.” The scratches on his forehead and elbow are clearly visible, scarred by his experiences. Isiah’s mother, Michelle Gregg, 32, and father, Deonne Dickerson, 36, have been living with friends after being embroiled in controversy following Saturday’s accident.
Earlier this week, police announced they would be investigating Ms Gregg to determine whether parental negligence was involved in Isiah’s 15ft fall into a ditch at the Harambe fence.
The 450-pound gorilla dragged the child across the water before standing beside him as horrified zoo-goers looked on. Police visited Greg yesterday at the Cincinnati townhouse where she, Dixon and their four children live.
Officers questioned her for 90 minutes to learn how Isiah escaped her and broke through the three-foot-high metal and barbed wire fence of the fence and the four-foot-high bushes behind it. Police did not recommend criminal charges in the case, a decision made after interviews. The zoo has announced plans to increase fence height by half a foot.
Isaiah’s parents have not spoken publicly about the ordeal, and their only means of communication was a statement Greg posted on Facebook the day after the accident, and a public relations statement the family kept shortly thereafter. They received death threats from all over the world for shooting the gorilla.
But this week, Isiah’s grandmother, Valerie Dickerson, 55, spoke to Daily Mail Online. Speaking outside her Cleveland home, Dixon offers her first real glimpse at the family at the center of a story that is almost equally critical and supportive of her. According to Dickerson, who is in daily contact with her son Deonne and his family, she doesn’t think the zoo should have shot Harambe.
Describing her “sadness” over the creature’s death, she said, “For me, I still think they could have gone a different way even though they said they couldn’t.
“But most of all, I thank God that my grandson is okay.” She said everyone was “fine” but admitted finding video of the incident was “shocking”.
“It’s devastating to watch.” She went on to reveal that her grandson will be receiving counseling to help him cope with his public ordeal. She said: “We’ll move on. He gets advice and life goes on. You just have to have positive thoughts.
Although she thought the zoo’s decision to shoot Harambe was too aggressive, Ms Dixon said she didn’t blame her for the incident. She said: “I’ve never been to the zoo so I don’t really want to blame it. It was just a freak accident and thankfully it ended well.