Dad Sues in Case of Teen Whose Body Went Undiscovered for Four Days After Crash

The father of a 17-year-old boy whose body was found four days after a car crash wants $10 million from the city of Phoenix.

Edward Montoya Sr. argues in his claim that authorities "might have prevented" his son's death, if only they had searched the crash area better and found the boy. 

The big question for us in this case remains unanswered in the Arizona Republic's article today:

When did David Montoya die? Was it minutes or hours after his car overturned in some bushes? Or was it days after?

When we last wrote about this unusual case, a doc with the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office told us he had no comment on the timing of Montoya's death. An autopsy report offers no opinion on the issue.

Jim Fickling, Montoya Sr.'s attorney, declined to take our call today. We read too much into the medical examiner's office's non-response, so we'll do the same to Fickling's: We think Fickling would have returned our call if he knew the kid had survived for hours or days after the wreck. That kind of scandal would make a high-profile news story that might pressure the city to settle high rather than low, in our humble, non-lawyerly opinion.

Whether or not Montoya was alive in the hours after his accident, it's obvious he should have been found sooner than he was.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.