A grief-stricken mother in Minneapolis is looking for answers after her teen son mysteriously died on board a Delta Air Lines flight just days before Christmas. Gladys Makori‘s 18-year-old son, Griffin Gutwa never made it home alive on December 22 to his family, who has yet to find out everything that happened to the young man.
“There’s a lot of questions I don’t know,” a heartbroken Makori, 49, told ABC News about her son who fell asleep and never woke up on Delta flight 1687 from San Diego to Minneapolis-St. Paul. “It’s shocking [the airline] have not called yet to give us any information. I want the Delta people to call me. They haven’t called as a sign of courtesy to say, ‘Sorry for your loss.'”
Gutwa was described as a “fit and healthy” freshman at the University of San Diego, where he was studying to become a neurosurgeon. The young man, who came to the U.S. by way of Mombasa, Kenya, was also a devout deacon at his Minneapolis church. “He has never tasted alcohol,” Makori said. “Never smoked, nothing. He was a good Christian boy.”
Makori endured a parents’ worst nightmare when she went to pick up her son from the airport. She was hurried away and told without explanation to return to the airport two hours later after her son’s flight arrived. When she came back with her husband, Gideon Gutwa and their other children, police delivered the devastating news. “I asked, ‘What happened? What happened?’ and they said, ‘Griffin died on board,’” Makori said through tears.
Gutwa began having trouble breathing and a fellow passenger called for help about an hour and a half into the flight, police said to Makori. A psychiatrist and two nurses worked on the young man and performed CPR before the plane made an emergency landing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Lifesaving” measures were taken by paramedics on the ground before the teen was pronounced dead, Sioux Falls police spokesman Officer Sam Clemens confirmed to ABC.
The cause of death for the young man, who suffered from an enlarged heart, is still pending, authorities said.
Makori wants to understand how her son had an enlarged heart as well as more about the exact sequence of events that took place midair from a Delta representative. An airline spokesperson has reached out to to the Gutwa family, with plans to continue to contact them, Delta said to ABC.